According to a report from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Twins are receiving “as much interest in Kyle Gibson as in any of their players.” The Twins have waved the white flag on the 2018 season this week, shipping out both infielder Eduardo Escobar to the Diamondbacks and right-handed reliever Ryan Pressly to the Astros.
Of course, it should be noted right of the bat that Rosenthal’s source believes the Twins would need to be “blown away” to trade the right-hander. After a mostly mediocre career, the former number 22 overall pick is finally showing the brilliance Minnesota had always hoped they’d see. After back-to-back 5.07 ERA seasons, Gibson sports a 3.42 mark across 129 innings so far in 2018. He’s also struck out nearly a batter per inning and sports a healthy 46.2% ground ball rate, making him a fairly safe bet to continue his solid production moving forward.
It’s odd that the Twins don’t seem motivated to move Gibson, considering he’s only controllable through the 2019 season; Pressly was set to become a free agent at the same and he was dealt only yesterday. Of course, it’s certainly possible that the club was “blown away” by the return they got for Pressly, as Houston’s 10th- and 15th-best prospects came back to Minnesota in that deal. Gibson’s playing on a $4.2MM salary this season, meaning he will still remain quite affordable even after an arbitration bump in the coming winter.
Then again, the Twins might consider Gibson to be a valuable element of their hopes to jump back into contention in 2019. After all, Escobar was only controllable through the end of the year, so while we’re likely to see Brian Dozier moved in the coming days, it’s possible Minnesota might rely on bounceback seasons from Ervin Santana, Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano along with some minor-league reinforcements in order to field a competitive team next year. After all, they’re in a division that looks to be very weak for years, outside of the AL Central-leading Indians.
There are certainly teams that might be willing to overwhelm Minnesota in order to land a quality starter. The Brewers appear poised to make an aggressive run at a postseason berth, and their rotation looks unsightly at the moment due in part to injuries. Also in the NL Central, the pitching-needy Cardinals don’t appear willing to punt the 2018 season and are certainly hoping to make a push in 2019. Gibson would also prove an upgrade over some of the Diamondbacks’ in-house options, and the same could be said of the Nationals, to whom he could also serve as insurance in case Stephen Strasburg is unable to return to health and form. This is all purely speculative, but regardless, if Gibson’s not dealt, it will be due to lack of an aggressive offer, not lack of suitors.