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Trade Deadline Review: Starting Pitching Prospects

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Thinking back on the trade in the context of the market, I do think the new CBA played a part in depressing this year's trade market. An additional wild card team should have led to more buyers. I am not so certain it did.

At the time Liriano as traded, I was interested to see what kinds of deals were made for starting pitchers on deadline day. After the Liriano deal, two starting pitchers were traded. That surprised me. I expected more. It leads me to wonder how many teams were so interested in starting pitching that they were willing to part with top prospects. Pitchers more valuable than Liriano were left on the table.

I look at the two deals an I wonder if Liriano could have been substituted in either.

Paul Maholm deal- Liriano has better stuff, but I don't think his stuff is enough. Maholm has been consistently solid over his last 50 starts. He is not a rental and has a reasonable option for 2013. Had the Twins waited, I don't think the Braves would have given the Twins the same package they sent the Cubs.

Dempster deal- A rental like Liriano, but performing much better. Given the choice, I think Texas would have more confidence in Dempster. They really didn't give up much. A B- infield prospect and a C pitching prospect. Hendricks looks a lot like a typical back of the rotation Twin pitcher with control. He is 8 months younger than Hernandez. He is also right handed and in A-Ball. He didn't enter the season in the Ranger top 30 but is likely there now.

It does not appear that better deals were available had the Twins waited.

Another aspect I wanted to look at is what would it take to get a Zack Wheeler type prospect at the trade deadline. I am not sure any Wheeler's were traded this year. The best of the pitching prospects also come with some concerns.

Jacob Turner - Entered the season an A- prospect but his arm troubles and K rate are concerns. It took Anibal Sanchez to get him. The Twins don't have anyone like Sanchez to trade so this was not a possibility.

Nate Eovaldi - Not Zack Wheeler but a B pitching prospect. It took Hanley Ramirez.

John Hellweg and Ariel Pena - These are the pitchers in the Zach Grienke deal. B-/C+ prospects. Hellweg has the arm but lacks in performance. Born in 1988, he is old for a top prospect just hitting AA.

Arodys Vizcaíno - Great prospect and huge injury concerns. Second arm injury leads him to Tommy John surgery. I would love for the Twins to have had the opportunity to roll the dice with him. However, I don't think Liriano has near the value of Maholm when you look at performance and next year's contract situation. Maybe a deal of Span and Liriano could brought Arodys Vizcaíno, but that is a lot to give up for such an injury risk. It is very likely that he will return as a reliever.

Kyle Hendricks - Wrote about him above. A command and control pitcher from Dartmouth. It took Dempster to get him.

J.C. Sulbaran - Noteworthy because this is the guy the Reds were willing to deal. Low 90s fastball curve and changeup. He is in AA this year and continues to struggle with control. Strikeout numbers look good. His upside made him an interesting prospect entering the season (BBA #12 Reds, Sickels C+). If Sulbaran was the key offering from the Reds in a Span deal, would you have traded Span.

We do know that these starting pitchers were available since they were ultimately moved.

Which pitcher could the Twins have acquired?

I think they could have acquired Sulbaran in a deal for Span. They would have received other pieces but I think this is the best starting prospect the Reds were willing to part with.

How about Vizcaino? Is Liriano close enough to Maholm that they could see Liriano meeting their needs? Certainly not alone. Would a package of Span and Liriano been enough? Maybe. But that's a lot to give up for an injured Vizcaino with concerns about whether he will hold up as a starter.

Starting pitching prospects have always carried the most value. In the context of the new CBA, acquiring them at the trade deadline has become more difficult. The Twins best hope is to find and develop a few more Diamonds among the C prospects available. No easy task.
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  1. birdwatcher's Avatar
    Looks like the most reasonable quick fix is a #2-3 type FA signing, clearly "overpaying" in the process.
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