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Twins trade rumors: How does 1st place change their approach?

The Twins are 30-19, but how should they move forward?

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The Twins have a lot of things going right. Their new manager Paul Molitor has the team 30-19 (3rd best in MLB), and Torii Hunter is having a great swan song. The question that remains is, what should the team do going forward? Should they hope that the pieces they've assembled hold together, or go out an acquire a big name player to help make the final push?

What do the Twins really need?

Overall, neither the hitting nor the pitching has been that great, but the team is winning. The team has a wRC+ of 94 (24th in baseball), a wOBA of .305 (18th) and an offensive fWAR of 3.4 (also 24th). The pitching has been similarly poor, as the Twins have the AL's worst SIERA, and fifth worst FIP.

They could use upgrades in many different areas, but seem unlikely to be major players for the A-List options. While Cole Hamels and Johnny Cueto are the top names in the pitching market, the Twins are more suited for a Mike Leake or Scott Kazmir; pitchers that could be acquired without having to part with top prospects.


Offensively, Ben Zobrist may be a name that the Twins kick the tires on, but with the Cubs already showing interest, may not be able to compete for him. The Brewers, Phillies, and Rockies may start selling soon, and could fit well with the Twins.

Prospect help is on the way

Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton are the names to focus on for the Twins' future. Sano's schedule was delayed significantly when he had to undergo Tommy John surgery to repair a torn UCL, and missed the entire 2014 season.

Before that happened, however, Sano was extremely confident, saying that he could hit anywhere from 45-55 home runs. It's unclear when he might see major league action, but in 2015 at AA, Sano is hitting .247/.346/.488 with a wOBA of .378 and a wRC+ of 133. He isn't hitting HR's as frequently as he did in 2013, but isn't far off the mark.

While Buxton isn't as powerful, there may be even higher hopes for the outfielder than for Sano. According to Fangraphs, his Future Value is 70, and is fueling those hopes and dreams of Twins fans everywhere. After a slow start, Buxton has a slash line of .262/.327/.503, with a wOBA of .373 and a wRC+ of 130.

He's likely due for a promotion soon, albeit to AAA and not the big league club. Buxton has the potential to be a superstar for the Twins for years to come, and they won't rush him.

The verdict: Incremental help best option

Because the Twins are unlikely to part with either Sano or Buxton (and rightfully so), they'll have to settle for slight upgrades rather than drastic change. Hamels and Cueto are extreme long-shots, but the Twins should still be in the middle of trade talks for Mike Leake, Scott Kazmir, and possibly others 2nd-tier, low-prospect-cost options.

The Twins have the fourth best farm system in baseball, and even without Sano and Buxton they should be able to pull something off without crippling their future.