La Velle E. Neal III: Jose Berrios, the Twins’ best trade chip, should stay in Minnesota | Sports
In about three weeks, the Twins will face the trade deadline with some of their roster possibly swirling in trade rumors.
They will have five players – Nelson Cruz, Michael Pineda, Andrelton Simmons, JA Happ and Hansel Robles – in free agency this offseason. If they don’t believe they’ll bring one of them back next season, now is the time for the Twins to get what they can for them.
These gentlemen, however, are pale in comparison to the most valuable trading chip the Twins have to play before the deadline: right-hander Jose Berrios.
The teams have sniffed at Berrios in recent weeks and are expected to continue doing so until the deadline. The Twins, as it should be, are in listen mode. But now is a good time to manage expectations about what to expect from the twins as the deadline approaches:
– Don’t expect a clearance sale.
– Don’t expect them to get a lot for any of the players heading into free agency.
– And: Don’t expect them to trade Berrios.
A little context is needed here. The Twins have approached Berrios several times over the past few seasons over a long-term deal. This is completely understandable from the club’s point of view for several reasons:
Berrios is good. The right-hander is 7-3 with a 3.36 ERA this season. He was part of two All-Star teams. He is 55-41 in his career. In his 2012 draft class, he is fourth in wins and third in career WAR among pitchers.
Berrios is sustainable. He is on track to make 30 starts for the third time in his career. It could have been four without the 2020 Pandemic Games.
Berrios is not controversial. The most noise Berrios makes on the pitch is when he yells at himself for not making a pitch. The most noise he makes off the pitch is when he posts videos of his off-season training on social media.
Berrios is all they have. From a development point of view, that is. He’s the best starter they’ve developed since Matt Garza. Jhoan Duran, Jordan Balazovic and Josh Winder are well regarded, but not ready to replace Berrios if he leaves. Berrios is part of the solution for the future.
There is a problem with keeping it. Berrios, who will be a free agent after the 2022 season, has not accepted any of their offers. It appears he wants a five-year deal between $ 100 million and $ 125 million to stay in the Twin Cities.
Under normal circumstances, that would be enough for a team to wish Berrios the best of luck in their future endeavors and accept the best possible business offer. While Berrios is good, he’s not an ace who can record big innings and handle big field loads. He is 17th in heats pitched this season. The last time the Twins offered a free agent north of $ 100 million was Zack Wheeler, who signed with Philadelphia and currently leads baseball in pitched innings.
The Twins, however, believe they can compete in 2022. Their pitching decisions haven’t worked this season, and their core of Jorge Polanco, Max Kepler and Miguel Sano don’t tear him to the plate while Byron Buxton and Mitch Garver must stay on the field. And don’t even suggest trading Buxton, whose value as a swap chip or expansion candidate is impossible to determine due to his injuries.
But they have a better chance of winning with Berrios next season than without him. Unless they’re overwhelmed by a multiplayer offering, they’re not afraid to head into 2022 with Berrios on his year-of-walk list.
So you might see the Twins making a few moves before the deadline. It’s a front office that doesn’t like to sit on a trade deadline.
This month, they will declare their intentions for 2022. If they think they can compete next summer and decide to keep Berrios, then they will have to make better choices this offseason than a year ago to find out who is joining him in. the rotation. Maybe they should find a way to clone it first.
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