6 starting pitchers the Twins could target before the trade deadline

Nathan Eovaldi might be the perfect pitcher to give the Twins a better chance in the AL playoffs.
Jul 7, 2024; Arlington, Texas, USA;  Texas Rangers pitcher Nathan Eovaldi (17) starts his wide up in the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Globe Life Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 7, 2024; Arlington, Texas, USA; Texas Rangers pitcher Nathan Eovaldi (17) starts his wide up in the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Globe Life Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports / Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
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The MLB trade deadline is July 30, and the Minnesota Twins, who are an American League-best 45-26 since April 22, will be a team to monitor for pitching. That's not inside information as much as it is logic because the Twins' offense is rolling while the pitching has left something to be desired.

On one hand, the Twins could view the return of Royce Lewis and Brock Stewart from the injured list as key additions for the stretch run in August and September.

Stewart was lights-out as a right-handed flamethrower in the bullpen before he went on the injured list earlier this season. He started a rehab assignment at Triple-A St. Paul this week and the expectation is that he'll join the Twins after next week's All-Star break, if not sooner.

The Twins have a strong bullpen highlighted by Stewart, Griffin Jax, Jorge Alcala, Caleb Thielbar and Jhoan Duran, but adding talent for the stretch run and postseason is always a good idea.

Lewis, one of the game's best hitters when healthy, is recovering from a strained groin. When he returns, the Twins could boast an infield of Lewis at third, Carlos Correa at shortstop, Brooks Lee at second base, Jose Miranda at first base and Ryan Jeffers at catcher. With Byron Buxton, Willi Castro, Max Kepler, Matt Wallner and Manuel Margot occupying the outfield, the Twins don't need to add anything to a lineup that has scored the most runs in baseball since April 22.

That leads to the situation with starting pitchers. Joe Ryan and Simeon Woods Richardson have been Minnesota's most reliable starters, while Pablo Lopez and Bailey Ober have been up and down. Chris Paddack just returned from an IL stint, but he hasn't been good enough to trust in a playoff game.

The Twins could hope for more consistency from Lopez –– like his 23 strikeouts and one run allowed in consecutive starts against the A's and Mariners in late June –– but putting all of their eggs in his basket could be risky. Adding a reliable starter could be just what the Twins need. So who's available?

According to reports, the Blue Jays, Nationals, Rays and Rangers are possible sellers.

Toronto has impending free-agent lefty Yusei Kikuchi, the Nationals have impending free-agent lefty Patrick Corbin and the Rangers have righty Nathan Eovaldi, who has a $22 million option but could opt for free agency after the season. The Rays have right-hander Zach Eflin, who owns the lowest walk rate in the majors at 0.8 per nine innings and is signed for $18 million next season.

Ken Rosenthal mentioned the Tigers could trade right-hander Jack Flaherty and that they would be looking for something in return that is at least equal to a first-round compensation pick that they could receive if they hold onto him and he leaves as a free agent.

Would the Tigers entertain a trade to a division foe? The same question goes for the White Sox, who could be dealing left-handed All-Star Garrett Crochet, whose 12.5 strikeouts per nine innings leads the majors. Crochet is only making $800,000 this season and is under team control for two more seasons, so the asking price is going to be very high.

Player

ERA

WHIP

K/9

Innings

Yusei Kikuchi

4.00

1.273

9.9

101.1

Patrick Corbin

5.49

1.530

6.1

100.0

Nathan Eovaldi

3.10

1.034

8.8

87.0

Zach Eflin

4.19

1.148

7.0

92.1

Jack Flaherty

3.24

1.000

11.6

89.0

Garrett Crochet

3.08

0.968

12.5

105.1

Eovaldi, an All-Star in 2021 and 2023, may make the most sense from a cost/benefit perspective. The Twins are loaded with talented prospects and they have the ammo to get a deal done. It might be a rental and the Twins might not be able to re-sign the 34-year-old, but for a team that has the talent to make a deep playoff run, adding someone of Eovaldi's caliber and postseason experience would be an incredible boost.

Crochet, Flaherty and Kikuchi arguably rank 2-3-4, followed by Eflin and Corbin.

Minnesota has six players in Baseball America's latest top-100 prospects. They're probably not going to be interested in trading elite prospects like Walker Jenkins and Emmanuel Rodriguez, but would they consider offering a package featuring Luke Keaschall, Zebby Matthews, David Festa or Gabriel Gonzalez? What about offering Wallner or Eddy Julien?

The Twins have a stockpile of talent to offer in trades, it's just a matter of whether the team will pull the trigger on a deal to give the 2024 Twins a better shot to win the World Series title.


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Joe Nelson

JOE NELSON