As the MLB trade deadline approaches, the San Francisco Giants and Minnesota Twins look up well as potential trade partners.
The San Francisco Giants are 53-51 on the season, which puts them 2.5 games back in the NL wild-card standings and has them poised to be active in some capacity at the MLB trade deadline.
On paper, the Minnesota Twins would seem to line up as the ideal trade partners.
The Twins are currently 63-40 and clinging to a two-game lead in the AL Central standings. They have one of the best lineups in baseball and have already hit an MLB-leading 201 home runs this year.
However, if they are going to make a run in the postseason, they will need to upgrade their bullpen. The relief corps currently ranks 14th in the majors with a 4.41 ERA, and with trade deadline less than a week away, expect the Twins to dig into their deep farm system to make a deal or two to fortify their bullpen.
Back to the Giants, a big reason why they’ve had success this season is a bullpen that ranks third in the majors with a 3.76 ERA. On Friday night, the Giants relief contingent tossed five scoreless innings in a 2-1 extra-inning win over the San Diego Padres.
With some impressive depth at the Triple-A level, including lefties Sam Selman and Fernando Abad, it’s still not out of the question to think the Giants could look to flip one of their late-inning relievers at the deadline for prospects.
The Twins have the prospects to get a deal done and the Giants have the quality arms they covet.
If the two teams do discuss a possible trade, one player the Giants should be targeting in any deal is outfielder Trevor Larnach. The 2018 first-round pick checks in at No. 97 on MLB.com’s top 100 prospect list, and he is currently the No. 5 prospect in the Twins system.
According to MLB.com’s Jon Morosi, he could be a hot commodity on the trade market:
The 22-year-old has split the season between High-A and Double-A, hitting .312/.378/.453 with 35 extra-base hits in 93 games.
The Twins would no doubt be looking to land closer Will Smith in any package that includes Larnach, which would then allow them to deploy fellow southpaw Taylor Rogers in other high-leverage situations.
Would the Twins be willing to unload Larnach for two months of Smith?
It’s tough to say, but with a loaded young outfield of Max Kepler, Eddie Rosario and Byron Buxton, it’s not out of the question. All three of those players are under the age of 27 and none of them will hit the open market until after the 2022 season. Outside of those three, the Twins also have prospect Alex Kirilloff waiting in the wings. He currently ranks as the No. 16 prospect in baseball and the No. 2 prospect in the Minnesota system.
As such, there seems to be no clear path to playing time for Larnach, barring an unforeseen grade. With a desperate need for bullpen help, the chance to acquire someone like Smith could be enough for them to move a redundant, high-ceiling piece.
Losing Smith would hurt for the Giants, but they could slide Sam Dyson, Tony Watson or Reyes Moronta into the closer’s role for the remainder of the season, or even go with a closer-by-committee and play the matchups and hot hand.
Adding a player like Larnach to an already improving farm system would only help the Giants long-term outlook. He would join Joey Bart and Heliot Ramos as top prospects on track to join the MLB ranks by 2021.
In order for the San Francisco Giants to consider breaking up their current bullpen, they will need to be presented with an offer they can’t refuse. A chance to land Minnesota Twins prospect Trevor Larnach just might be that offer.