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  • Twins Trade Deadline Breakdown: The Nolasco Trade

    The Minnesota Twins front office likely watched with interest yesterday as one of the bigger chips on the trade market was moved. The Marlins traded starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco to the Dodgers for three third-tier prospects and $200 grand in international signing money, and the Dodgers agreed to pay the $5+ million remaining on Nolasco's contract this year. Nolaso was perceived as one of the better pitchers on the trade market. The deal's details suggest some truths about the trade market this year:

    There Are A Lot Of Teams Looking For Pitching, And It Doesn't Need To Be High-End Pitching
    This is the second starting pitcher we're seen traded this week and neither of them is Matt Garza, the premier name. Often, teams will wait to trade a player like Nolasco until the bigger name has been traded, since then the remaining teams come looking for the next best pitcher. Instead, the Dodgers looked at Garza's asking price and got aggressive at the next level of pitching, just like the Orioles did earlier this week.

    That probably bodes well for a trade involving Kevin Correia, though there are still plenty of other pitchers between him and the top of the list, pitchers like Cliff Lee, Bud Norris, Yovanni Gallardo and maybe Kyle Lohse.

    Teams Want To Keep Their Prospects
    A fair number of GMs are coming out and saying publicly they will not trade away their blue chip prospects. Yesterday we talked about how the Orioles walked away from a deal for Garza for the 50th and 100th best prospects, neither of which would be considered blue chip. Today, that lesson is reinforced when you look at what the Dodgers gave up for the 2nd best option on the market.

    You will not find any of the three arms the Marlins received on a Top 100 list. In fact, you won't find them on the Marlins Top 10 prospect list. Or their Top 20. This past off-season all three would have been ranked by Baseball America between 21 and 25 for the Marlins system. Two of them have already been converted to relievers, so that's likely their ceiling. Teams are clinging, with a death-like grip, to their best prospects.

    International Signing Money Is A Thing
    We're seeing the inclusion of international signing money in a bunch of trades this month. Considering the Twins had the fourth most of any team going into this season, they might have some extra leverage. However, it isn't clear the Twins have much they can trade away.

    According to Jeremy Nygaard, The Twins had about $2M left over after their first few big signings. Then they wrapped up Ruar Verkerk from the Netherlands, which definitely cut into that, but we don't yet know how much. Also, they're rumored to be chasing a Taiwanese pitcher, Jen-Ho Tseng, along with some other teams. He ranks 29th overall, according to MLB.com. That will cost some money.

    There are other top international prospects that are still unsigned, so these additional dollars that teams are trading for might be the difference in getting some of these kids signed. It adds a new dimension to the trade market this year, and one could see the Twins trading away extra dollars, or trading for extra dollars if they can't pry away prospects. Then they could use that money to sign some high-end, albeit 16-year-old high-end, talent.

    It might also mean that teams are interested in making trades for those dollars now, since a lot of the highly ranked kids will be signed by late July, and teams won’t need the extra dollars. It may be driving the earlier trades we’re seeing this year.

    Real Money Is A Thing, Too
    The $5.5 million that Nolasco was owed for this year definitely decreased the prospect haul for the Marlins. That's good news for a team trying to trade Kevin Correia, who is relatively cheap. It's not very good news for a team interested in trading Justin Morneau, who has even more than that left on his deal this year. For instance, the Rockies were interested in Nolasco, but were never going to be in a position to pay that much this year.

    (Incidentally, Todd Helton is their regular first baseman. Yes, the same Todd Helton that was around when you were young. His OPS is 695.)

    As far as I know, the Twins have never done a trade where they pick up part of the contract of the player they traded away, but if ever there was a season to do so, this is it. We know they didn't spend all of their offseason money when Joe Saunders walked away from an open offer. The amount they can spend on the amateur draft and international draft is capped. And Morneau's salary is already included in this year's budget number anyway. Their budget doesn’t need that $5M.

    If swallowing the rest of that salary allows them to upgrade the prospects they get in a trade, they should be considering it. There are very few avenues for spending leftover money this year to upgrade the future. This is one of the few remaining.
    This article was originally published in blog: Twins Trade Deadline Breakdown: The Nolasco Trade started by John Bonnes
    Comments 11 Comments
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      While I sort of like Ricky Nolasco, acquiring him is by no means a good investment. His career 4.44ERA has been justified the past three years and I don't know if that's even acceptable for a #5 starter. His K/9 is falling and he's becoming more hittable as he ages. I really don't know if he is capable of performing like he is this season in the long run. Good for Miami on trading him at peak value.
    1. Brandon's Avatar
      Brandon -
      If the Twins can collect better prospects then they should absolutely throw in money. Also TR is one of the few GM's smart enough to pick up on the idea of getting an A ball player with a higher ceiling when going after prospects. The problem is the Twins don't have much to trade with Willingham out. I doubt they trade Morneau but I could be wrong and Corriea would be a good sell high candidate. Burton is another option but I doubt they trade him either. I don't really see anything else to trade.
    1. Kwak's Avatar
      Kwak -
      If all Corriera can fetch is "third tier prospect(s)", then why trade at all? Omit the obvious salary dump to increase annual profit. The Twins don't have a 2014 rotation and will have to enter the FA market this offseason. While I earnestly hope they do sign a top 60 pitcher, they would likely have to add a second pitcher just to get to five for the rotation. Trading Correira means signing another pitcher--better to keep him. Besides they could trade him next year anyway.
    1. Monkeypaws's Avatar
      Monkeypaws -
      Quote Originally Posted by Kwak View Post
      If all Corriera can fetch is "third tier prospect(s)", then why trade at all? Omit the obvious salary dump to increase annual profit. The Twins don't have a 2014 rotation and will have to enter the FA market this offseason. While I earnestly hope they do sign a top 60 pitcher, they would likely have to add a second pitcher just to get to five for the rotation. Trading Correira means signing another pitcher--better to keep him. Besides they could trade him next year anyway.
      I agree completely.
    1. jorgenswest's Avatar
      jorgenswest -
      If they can find a Correia type any winter, why not pick up a prospect and give the starts to Albers, Worley or Hendriks. Maybe one of those guys turns it around given the opportunity. How much will it cost in wins this year? 2?
    1. Oxtung's Avatar
      Oxtung -
      What is the point of holding on to Correia? Is his talent so large that he is not replaceable? The Twins signed two pitchers this winter and can do so again next off season. Meanwhile you can get a prospect or three back. Maybe those prospects won't be superstars but even fourth OF's and AAAA pitchers have value. It's also entirely possible that the "third tier" prospect improves and becomes an every day player or rotation capable pitcher. Prospects are not commodities with preordained futures.
    1. chopper0080's Avatar
      chopper0080 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Monkeypaws View Post
      I agree completely.
      I agree as well. Correia is a proven #4 pitcher which we are lacking and for 4mil, is pretty cheap. Keep him which allows you to really evaluate Diamond and Deduno for 2014. Right now I see our 2014 pitching as Gibson, Correia, Deduno, ???, and ???. Because of that, I think Correia is more valuable to the Twins than what the market seems to be offering.
    1. markos's Avatar
      markos -
      Quote Originally Posted by Oxtung View Post
      What is the point of holding on to Correia? Is his talent so large that he is not replaceable? The Twins signed two pitchers this winter and can do so again next off season. Meanwhile you can get a prospect or three back. Maybe those prospects won't be superstars but even fourth OF's and AAAA pitchers have value. It's also entirely possible that the "third tier" prospect improves and becomes an every day player or rotation capable pitcher. Prospects are not commodities with preordained futures.
      I agree. There is going to be 20-30 free agent pitchers available during the offseason as good or better than Correia. He should be easily replaced.
    1. Oxtung's Avatar
      Oxtung -
      Quote Originally Posted by chopper0080 View Post
      I agree as well. Correia is a proven #4 pitcher which we are lacking and for 4mil, is pretty cheap. Keep him which allows you to really evaluate Diamond and Deduno for 2014. Right now I see our 2014 pitching as Gibson, Correia, Deduno, ???, and ???. Because of that, I think Correia is more valuable to the Twins than what the market seems to be offering.
      Correia had an unbelievable first 5 starts to his season. In his last 12 starts however he is sporting an ERA of 5.22. Opponents are hitting .318/.356/.541/.897 off him. He has a WHIP of 1.536. Frankly, unless he puts up another 3 decent starts I think he is probably unmovable. Look at it this way. Hitters he faces turn into Evan Longoria.
    1. jimbo92107's Avatar
      jimbo92107 -
      Correia's main value is his ability to save the bullpen a couple innings. Might not seem like much, but over the course of a season, it's significant.
    1. Oxtung's Avatar
      Oxtung -
      Quote Originally Posted by jimbo92107 View Post
      Correia's main value is his ability to save the bullpen a couple innings. Might not seem like much, but over the course of a season, it's significant.
      So do you believe that Correia has some unique talent that allows him to go deeper into ballgames than the FA's on the market this upcoming off season? Or are you suggesting the Twins should be making decisions about the future based on how it will affect the bullpen this year? Or have I missed your point?
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