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The Minnesota Twins may be the most disappointing team in baseball right now, and these five players are in line to find themselves on the trade block soon.
Coming off back-to-back AL Central titles, and with plenty of questions elsewhere in the division, it felt certain the Minnesota Twins would at least be a playoff team in 2021. A 5-2 start put them on a good track, but Saturday’s win over the Oakland A’s was just their eighth in their last 30 games.
Injuries have been a factor, including early MVP candidate Byron Buxton out for awhile again. But bad offense has been combined with bad pitching (and occasional mismanagement of the pitching staff by manager Rocco Baldelli) to put the Twins below the lowly Detroit Tigers based on win percentage going into Sunday.
As laid out nicely by Mike Axisa over at CBS Sports, the next few weeks will dictate the Twins’ path as the July 30 trade deadline gets closer. A 13-game stretch from May 24-June 5 against the Baltimore Orioles and Kansas City Royals is the prime opportunity to push all the way back into the playoff race, if they can get there with any reasonable hope left.
Some might say the Twins should be looking to foster a turnaround as a trade buyer. They would cite the 2019 Washington Nationals, who were reeling in late-May before making a run all the way to a World Series win. But the Nationals are the exception, not the rule.
So as the Twins surely become a seller over the next several weeks, these five players could be on the move.
5 players the Minnesota Twins should look to trade
5. SP Kenta Maeda
Maeda was a revelation for the Twins in 2020, as he posted a 2.70 ERA and a 0.75 WHIP on his way to finishing runner-up for the AL Cy Young Award. He has been a little better lately, entering his next scheduled start Sunday against Oakland as of this writing, but a 5.08 ERA so far this season is more than a correction from a career season.
The Twins took over Maeda’s ridiculously team-friendly contract when they acquired him from the Dodgers. He is making just $3 million in base salary through 2023, so a contending team would bring on roughly two-and-a-half seasons of control over a solid mid-rotation starter at a bargain basement rate.
Trading Maeta would not be an easy move for the Twins. But as a season with high hopes fades into oblivion, nothing is off the table.