Minnesota Twins Trade Rumors: Latest Updates, News and Reaction

Rick Weiner@RickWeinerNYFeatured ColumnistJuly 1, 2014

Minnesota Twins Trade Rumors: Latest Updates, News and Reaction

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    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    While things haven't exactly gone as anyone associated with the Minnesota Twins would have liked in 2014, things aren't all doom and gloom.

    The club has a farm system full of impressive young talent, including the currently injured Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano, and some young players on the major league roster—second baseman Brian Dozier, starting pitchers Kyle Gibson and Phil Hughes and catcher Josmil Pinto—that look like long-term building blocks.

    Along with one of the best bullpens in baseball, the once-proud franchise may not be as far away from returning to the land of contenders as some believe.

    Not expected to be buyers at the deadline, Minnesota has a handful of veteran pieces that could be attractive to contending clubs, though how much of a return it'll be able to extract remains to be seen.

    Keep it here for the most up-to-the-minute rumblings about the Twins, along with analysis and everything else that comes with it. While the post date will always show as July 1, simply click to the next slide to see the latest from the rumor mill as Minnesota tries to add additional pieces for the future.

Done Deals

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    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    July 24: Traded 1B/DH Kendrys Morales to Seattle for RHP Stephen Pryor (Analysis)

    July 31: Traded OF Sam Fuld to Oakland for LHP Tommy Milone (Analysis)

    July 31: Signed C Kurt Suzuki to an extension

July 31: Twins Sign C Kurt Suzuki to Extension

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    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Update: Thursday, July 31 at 4:10 p.m. ET

    The trade deadline passed, and Kurt Suzuki is still in Minnesota. In fact, it looks like he will be there for more than just this season. Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported that the Twins signed Suzuki to an extension on Thursday.

    --End of Update--

    Update: Thursday, July 31 at 12:17 p.m. ET

    The two sides are still said to be "very far apart," per ESPN's Jerry Crasnick.

    --End of Update--

    Update: Thursday, July 31 at 12:03 p.m. ET

    The Twins are talking with Suzuki's representatives about an extension, tweets Rosenthal, who says there's a "reasonable chance" a deal gets done. If not, we could see Minnesota look to flip him before the 4 p.m. ET deadline.

    Baltimore has been linked to him previously and is still on the hunt for catching help.

    --End of Update--

    Update: Tuesday, July 29 at 3:25 p.m. ET

    One of the few contenders that was known to be looking for an upgrade behind the plate, Baltimore, is no longer in pursuit of Suzuki, tweets Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal.

    With Baltimore out of the picture and St. Louis solving their catching issues earlier by signing A.J. Pierzynski, the market to move the All-Star backstop is quickly disappearing.

    Whether that increases the chances that Suzuki signs a long-term extension with the Twins, however, remains unknown.

    --End of Update--

    Tuesday, July 22 at 9:51 a.m. ET

    Faced with a double-digit deficit in the AL Central and needing to jump over eight teams to clinch a wild-card berth, the Twins are facing facts: They have to sell at the deadline.

    "We're in a tough spot right now and we've been in a tough spot for four years," Ryan told MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger. "So you have to listen. And that's what we do."

    Josh Willingham has already seen his name come up on the rumor mill, and it stands to reason that Kurt Suzuki will join him there given the news that talks on an extension for the All-Star catcher didn't go well, per Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press:

    According to two people with direct knowledge, the Twins and Dan Lozano, Suzuki's agent, had exploratory talks about extending the catcher's expiring contract. Establishing fair contract parameters, however, appears to be a challenge as the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaches.

    Armed with a combined on-base/slugging percentage of .753 -- 62 points higher than his career rate -- Suzuki must weigh the security of putting down roots in the Twin Cities after being traded in August the past two seasons. If Suzuki can maintain his offensive resurgence for another couple of months, he could cash in this winter on his second pass through the free-agent market.

    It wouldn't be surprising to see Kevin Correia and Kendrys Morales begin to be actively shopped as well.

July 31: Acquired LHP Tommy Milone from Oakland

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Age: 27

    2014 Stats: 16 GS (10 QS), 6-3, 3.55 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 2.4 BB/9, 5.7 K/9

    Contract Status: First-year arbitration eligible (2015), under team control through 2018

    Minnesota was the benefactor of Oakland's stockpiling of front-line pitching and was able to swing a deal for a talented southpaw, Tommy Milone.

    The 27-year-old has gone 31-22 with a 3.84 ERA and 1.26 WHIP over parts of three seasons in an A's uniform and immediately upgrades a Twins rotation that needed a boost, both in the short-term and long-term.

    He's not a power pitcher, with a fastball that sits in the mid-80s, relying instead on command and movement of his five-pitch arsenal to keep batters off-balance.

    Milone isn't going to become the ace of Minnesota's rotation, but he's an excellent addition as a solid, mid-rotation arm that will give the Twins innings and keep them in games. That Terry Ryan was able to flip a waiver claim (Sam Fuld) into a long-term piece of the rotation is impressive on many levels.

    While Milone is heading to Triple-A initially, 1500 ESPN's Darren Wolfson says not to read into that—Milone pitched two days ago and he will join the Twins rotation sooner, rather than later.

Josh Willingham on the Move?

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    Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

    Update: Wednesday, July 30 at 12:00 p.m. 

    ESPN's Jerry Crasnick has been told by an executive from a competing team that the Twins "really want to move Willingham before Thursday's deadline, but I don't think they're getting any bites."

    Willingham has done little to entice contenders to take a chance on him, hitting only .179 with a .633 OPS and 26 strikeouts in 21 July games.

    --End of Update--

    Thursday, July 15 at 11:21 p.m. ET

    While the Twins have yet to officially hang a "For Sale" sign outside Target Field, teams have already begun calling GM Terry Ryan about some of his veteran pieces, with Seattle expressing interest in veteran outfielder Josh Willingham, according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman.

    In the final year of his contract, the 35-year-old Willingham has battled injury and inconsistency this season, hitting only .212 with eight home runs and 25 RBI in 49 games, though his .772 OPS is far from awful.

    It's unlikely that the Twins would be able to command a hefty return for Willingham, but getting even a low-level prospect is better than letting him walk away at the end of the season for nothing.

July 24: Acquired RHP Stephen Pryor from Seattle

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    Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

    Age: 25

    Throws: R

    2014 Stats (Double-A/Triple-A): 28 G, 2-2, 5.71 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 5.5 BB/9, 7.8 K/9

    Contract Status: Under team control through 2018

    A hard-throwing reliever that has dealt with injuries in the past, Stephen Pryor's numbers on the season aren't necessarily indicative of his overall profile as a player.

    Working his way back into shape after undergoing surgery to reconstruct his latissimus dorsi muscle, a very rare procedure, as noted by 1500 ESPN's Darren Wolfson, Pryor owns a career 2.81 ERA and 1.31 WHIP over 32 innings in the big leagues.

    Ranked by Baseball America as Seattle's 11th-best prospect at the end of the 2012 season, Pryor's fastball has touched triple digits in the past and averaged out at nearly 96 mph over his brief major league career.

Minnesota's Veterans Expected to Be Shopped

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    Ann Heisenfelt/Associated Press

    Barring a major change of momentum or a complete collapse by Detroit and Kansas City, Minnesota has begun telling other teams that veteran starter Kevin Correia and outfielder Josh Willingham will be made available in the coming weeks, according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman.

    Correia, 33, hasn't been quite as bad as his 4.95 ERA would indicate (4.11 FIP, 4.66 xFIP), but he's allowing nearly 11 hits per nine innings of work and isn't a strikeout artist, which minimizes his value.

    As Heyman notes, Willingham is the far more valuable trade chip for GM Terry Ryan to play:

    While he tends to be streaky, he has been pretty productive, even playing home games in Oakland and Minnesota, two pitchers parks, as he's averaged 23 home runs over the last eight seasons. The right-handed power hitter might look especially good in a trade market lacking in many top offensive names, though he's hitting just .228 with seven home runs and 23 RBI this year.

    With both veterans sitting with expiring contracts after the season, neither one is likely to bring back a substantial package of talent, though it's fair to assume that the Twins will be looking for young, controllable pitching.