The Twins are open to trading their pending free agents, MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi reports, as the team begins to look ahead to the 2019 season. Minnesota’s loss to the Brewers today drops them to 35-48 on the season, 11.5 games out of first place in the AL Central and 18 games out of a wild card slot. One NL executive believes the Twins would be willing to hold trade talks for just about every player on the roster, not just the free agents, though Morosi doubts the team’s younger players under long term control would be seriously discussed.
Looking only at the players signed through 2018, the list includes Brian Dozier, Eduardo Escobar, Lance Lynn, Zach Duke, and Joe Mauer, plus Fernando Rodney, Logan Morrison, and Ervin Santana could also be free agents depending on club options. There are several big names in that group, though only a few (Escobar, Duke, Rodney) are playing well enough to be considered prime trade chips. Dozier’s disappointing year, in particular, has both hurt the Twins’ hopes of contending and drastically lowered his value at the deadline. It isn’t known if Mauer would be willing to waive his no-trade clause to go elsewhere, as Mauer’s agent declined to provide any details about how the longtime face of the franchise would respond if a trade offer materialized.
Here’s the latest from around both the AL and NL Central divisions….
- A recent report from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal (subscription required) stated that the Brewers had been working Travis Shaw out at second base, which created speculation about Milwaukee potentially targeting third basemen at the deadline. Brewers GM David Stearns, however, said in an e-mail to MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy that Shaw’s pregame alignment is fairly routine procedure. “We have guys taking ground balls all over the field during early work and BP….Travis plays on that side of the bag a fair amount in our shift alignments so it makes sense for him to take ground balls over there. Adding to positional versatility is always helpful,” Stearns wrote. For his part, Shaw said that the team asked him both recently and earlier in the season “if I would be open to playing second if that situation presents itself,” and he said he’d be willing to do so. Shaw has never played second base during his eight-year professional career, so it would be a bold move if Milwaukee actually shifted him to the keystone midway through the season to accommodate a new acquisition at third base.
- Pirates director of sports medicine Todd Tomcyzk updated some of the team’s injury situations in a chat with reporters (including The Athletic’s Rob Biertempfel and MLB.com’s Adam Berry) today. Francisco Cervelli could begin a rehab assignment this weekend, as the catcher has resumed full baseball activities after being cleared of concussion symptoms. Cervelli has been on the disabled list since June 22.
- The outlook is more ominous for right-hander Chad Kuhl, who was diagnosed with a strained right forearm after undergoing an MRI. “Doctors have recommended a conservative treatment at this time,” Tomcyzk said, so Kuhl won’t be facing a surgical procedure in the near future. Kuhl has a 4.37 ERA, 7.9 K/9 and 2.21 K/BB rate over 313 career innings and 61 starts for the Pirates.
- Since the White Sox heavily bolstered their prospect ranks in the Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, and Adam Eaton trades, the team now faces the potentially lengthy and sometimes-frustrating wait to see this young talent develop at the Major League level. The Sox haven’t shown much this season, and as executive VP Ken Williams tells Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times, “We’re probably ahead of where we have a right to believe we’re supposed to be, but we’re right where we want to be, but not quite where we need to be yet.” Both Williams and Carlos Rodon stressed the importance of the young team learning how to win and not getting used to losing, though obviously the organization is in for more growing pains during the rebuild process.