“Virtually every contender” has reached out to the Twins to inquire about the availability of reliever Ryan Pressly, reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter). The strong levels of interest have compelled the Twins to “at least listen” to offers on Pressly, who is controlled through the 2019 season.
Pressly, 29, is in the midst of his best season in the Majors to date. The former Rule 5 pick (out of the Red Sox organization in 2012) has seen his velocity trend upward in recent years, and he’s averaging 95.8 mph on his heater with a ridiculous 13.0 K/9 mark against 3.6 BB/9 through 47 2/3 innings this season. His 18 percent swinging-strike rate ranks fifth among qualified relievers. Pressly also has an above-average 47.9 percent ground-ball rate, and though his 3.40 ERA is plenty solid, fielding-independent metrics are even more bullish; FIP pegs Pressly at 2.95, while xFIP has him at 2.86 and his SIERA sits at 2.72.
Rosenthal notes that Pressly has the second-highest spin rate in the Majors — a nod to Pressly’s curveball, which does indeed check in second behind only Garrett Richards in terms of its spin, per Statcast (min. 100 curves thrown). It’s also worth noting that Pressly’s four-seamer has the seventh-highest spin rate, and his slider ranks 16th in that regard (again, min. 100 of each pitch type thrown).
Pressly is earning just $1.6MM in 2018 and would be controlled for one more season via the arbitration process. As Jake Kaplan of The Athletic points out (also on Twitter), Pressly fits the Astros’ preferred template of a high-spin four-seamer and curveball, though surely that skill set holds a fairly broad level of appeal throughout the Majors.
Robust as the interest in Pressly may be, it’s not yet clear whether the Twins have any intent to move pieces that are controlled beyond the 2018 season. The American League Central is still generally looks weak, and while the current season hasn’t played out as Minnesota had hoped, the team has a number of quality young pieces locked up into 2019 and beyond. The New York Post’s Joel Sherman recently reported with regard to Kyle Gibson, who is also controlled through ’19, that the Twins have “fielded inquiries” but are more open to moving impending free agents.
At present, the Twins are seven games back in the American League Central, though they’ve won four in a row. Their final four games before Tuesday’s deadline come against some of the best competition in the AL, with three games remaining in their current series in Boston plus a Monday tilt against the division-leading Indians. If Minnesota can pull within another game or two before Tuesday afternoon, perhaps it’ll hang onto most of its trade assets, though the team could choose to operate in a variety of ways. GM Thad Levine told 1500 ESPN’s Darren Wolfson earlier this month that his team could also look to add some pieces that are controlled into 2019 as a means of doing some offseason shopping in advance.