What a perfect Twins trade deadline looks like

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The Minnesota Twins are a deceptively talented team. While they’re not anybody’s first thought as a contender this year, the Twins have a realistic path to the postseason. A strong second half push could lead to Minnesota’s fifth playoff appearance in eight years. And adding at the MLB trade deadline gives the team a legit shot at contending.

With a record of 51-39 the Twins are six games behind the Cleveland Guardians in the AL Central. It’s not an insurmountable lead. And if the season ended abruptly, Minnesota would have one of the American League’s Wild Card spots locked up.

For the doubters out there, the Twins have a nearly 86 percent chance of making the playoffs this year, with a 52.9 percent chance to clinch a Wild Card berth and a 32.8 percent chance of winning the division, via FanGraphs. Minnesota gets an 84.5 percent chance of making the postseason and even a 6.8 percent chance of winning the World Series from Baseball Reference. That’s the seventh most likely outcome according to the site, just behind the New York Yankees.

So, they’re saying there’s a chance. Actually, there are pretty good odds that the Twins will be playing meaningful games this fall. The question is, what does Minnesota need to add at the deadline to make a push into the postseason?

The Twins have a ton of infield talent, led by shortstop Carlos Correa. The 29-year-old was just named to his third All-Star game and is having a terrific season for Minnesota. Correa has 16 doubles and 11 home runs to go along with 48 runs scored and 45 RBI in 71 games. He’s batting over .300 with an OPS of .883 and an OPS+ of 148. So far in 2024, Correa has put up 3.1 WAR.

And to complement the veteran shortstop, the Twins are stocked with promising young talent at the corners. Jose Miranda in particular is having a standout season.

The 26-year-old infielder has been excellent for the Twins in 2024. Miranda is slashing .331/.373/.533 with a .906 OPS and a stellar OPS+ of 153. In 73 games he’s produced 20 doubles and nine home runs with 43 RBI. He’s accumulated 2.5 WAR so far this season, dwarfing his 0.6 WAR from 2022 and 2023 combined. And he’s been on a heater at the plate recently. Over his last five games Miranda is 13 for 16 with four doubles, a homer, seven runs scored and 6 RBI. That hot streak included an insane 12 consecutive hits.

During this stretch, Miranda has played first, third and started as the Twins’ designated hitter. The team’s preferred starter at third base, Royce Lewis, hit the injured list with a groin injury in early July. The former first overall selection from the 2017 draft has looked very good when healthy. However, this is the 25-year-old’s second trip to the injured list this season and he’s already missed more than two months of play.

Twins need to buy at the deadline to become legit contenders

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In Lewis’ stead the Twins called up their eighth overall pick from the 2022 draft, Brooks Lee, to field the hot corner’s vacancy. And since arriving in the majors, Lee has raked. In five games since his call up, he’s gone 9-for-19 with a double, a home run, three runs scored and six RBI. Lee has posted an OPS+ of 225, albeit in a small sample size. During that time, he’s appeared primarily at third base but has also played shortstop and worked as the Twins’ designated hitter.

Minnesota brought signed veteran first baseman Carlos Santana in the offseason to a one-year deal for $5.25 million and the 38-year-old is actually second on the team with 12 home runs. That’s nothing to write home about, but it’s fairly good production for the price.

Still, the Twins could certainly use a power bat in their lineup. They haven’t gotten great production from the corner outfield spots or from the designated hitter. While the infield is pretty stacked, Minnesota would benefit from a versatile hitter who could play first and DH for the team while driving in runs or an outfielder who could increase that group’s production.

Tampa Bay Rays’ left fielder Randy Arozarena is a possible trade deadline asset. The 29-year-old is making $8.1 million this year, which would be in line with the cost-conscious Twins. He’s also under club control until 2027, which might help Minnesota pull the trigger and give up some prospects to land him. Arozarena started slow but has begun to warm up of late.

The New York Mets’ Pete Alonso fits the first base/DH role the Twins would benefit by upgrading. The slugger hit 46 home runs for the Mets last season and is up to 18 in 88 games so far this year. However, he’s making $20.5 million in 2024 and becomes a free agent after this season, making him an expensive second-half rental, which the Twins tend to avoid.

The Arizona Diamondbacks’ Christian Walker also fits the bill as a first base/DH power bat. The 33-year-old Gold Glove winner has 22 home runs and 64 RBI in 90 games this season. Like Alonso, Walker would be a second-half rental. However, he’d be a bit more palatable at $10.9 million this season.

Of course, it’s unknown if the Diamondbacks will move Walker at the deadline as the team is still in the National League Wild Card race. And furthermore, it’s uncertain that the Twins would be willing to invest money and prospects for a couple months of Walker. Nonetheless, he is exactly the type of bat that could transform this offense.

The Washington Nationals’ Jesse Winker wouldn’t receive as much fanfare but he could be available come July 30 and would be more inline with what the front office might be willing to pay for a second-half only player. Winker, 30, is making $2 million this season and hits free agency in 2025.

Minnesota could also really use an extra starter. The Twins’ pitching hasn’t been terrible this season as the group is top 10 in WAR. But for a serious postseason run it will likely be necessary to add an arm to the rotation.

However, the same issues exist for top pitching talent as elite hitting talent. Available players are either going to be on expiring deals, making them expensive second-half rentals like the Detroit Tigers’ Jack Flaherty. Or they’re going to require a large group of prospects to land, like the Chicago White Sox’s Garrett Crochet, who’s only 25-years-old, is making just $800K this year and doesn’t hit free agency until 2027. It’s difficult to see the Twins shelling out big money for a rental but it’s also hard to believe they’ll get into a bidding war for Crochet with other MLB teams.

Last season, Minnesota decided not to make any moves at the trade deadline and the team made it all the way to the ALDS. It’s certainly possible that the Twins goes a similar route this year, hoping that injured players make successful returns and the talent in place is enough to carry the team.

Management in Minnesota may not want to pay the bill but the Twins have a good chance of making the postseason this year. Once again the organization is faced with question of what to do at the deadline. The Twins as currently constructed will more than likely fall short of a championship. Adding a starter to the rotation and a power bat would go a long way to making them legitimate contenders.