When the MLB trade deadline passed at 4 p.m. ET, it initially looked like the San Francisco Giants had retained all of their significant pieces. Then late news broke of a Sam Dyson trade.
There was always a good chance that the San Francisco Giants were going to use the MLB trade deadline to deal from an area of strength, flipping multiple bullpen arms in an effort to improve in other areas.
While they managed to hold onto All-Star closer Will Smith, setup man Sam Dyson ended up traded to the Minnesota Twins.
It was the only major move of the day for the Twins who clearly had holes in both their starting rotation and bullpen. With the Cleveland Indians gaining ground in the AL Central, they needed to make a move.
While the Twins didn’t end up adding either of the Giants big-ticket items as many had speculated, they did land a reliever who will help for the stretch run, the playoffs, and next season.
The Giants originally acquired Dyson after he was designated for assignment by the Texas Rangers in exchange for minor leaguer Hunter Cole. Dyson emerged as a dominant reliever in Texas during the 2015 season and served as the team’s closer in 2016, before falling apart in 2017.
Taking on the reclamation project paid dividends for the Giants multiple times over. Last season, Dyson posted a 2.69 ERA in 70.1 innings. This season, he was even better, putting up a career-best 6.71 strikeout to walk rate while holding opponents to a 2.47 ERA.
He is under team control through arbitration for one more season, which gave the Giants some degree of leverage at the trade deadline. However, it seems clear from the deals that have surfaced that the top of the trade market for relievers never developed.
With that said, the Giants still managed to turn Dyson into three prospects at the MLB trade deadline:
Davis is the only player close to the major leagues. He’s a 25-year-old corner outfielder who has always shown potential plus power, but his hit tool has long been a question. This season, he’s hit 25 home runs in 424 plate appearances between Double-A and Triple-A, but he also has 110 strikeouts. He walks at a solid clip, and over his minor league career, he holds a solid .270/.344/.468 line.
The Giants have a number of outfield options in the upper levels of the minors and on the MLB roster, but Davis is now one of the few right-handed hitters in the group. This season, he has shown reverse platoon splits, but for his career, Davis has hit southpaws better. That could make him a future platoon option with someone like Alex Dickerson.
It’s worth noting that none of Baseball America, MLB.com, or FanGraphs Prospects ranked Davis among Minnesota’s top prospects.
Berroa and Teng are both raw prospects who are years from producing at the highest level. Most players like them don’t ever reach much prospect acclaim, but they shouldn’t be discounted. Gregory Santos was considered just a little piece when the Giants acquired him in the Eduardo Nunez deal and now he’s one of the organization’s 10 best prospects.
Berroa and Teng both ranked toward the back of the Twins top 30 list, according to FanGraphs, although both were unranked on most other sites.
Berroa is a 5’11” righty that has a potential plus fastball, average slider, and above-average changeup. Command is still a work in progress for the 19-year old, but there are some intriguing pieces to work with.
Teng received a $500,000 signing bonus out of Taiwan in 2017. At just 20 years old, Teng is having an impressive year at Single-A. In nine appearances (eight starts), he has thrown 50.2 innings, struck out 49, walked 14, and held opponents to an impressive 1.60 ERA.
He’s got a big 6’4”, 260-pound frame, but that doesn’t result in premium velocity. He has rough arm action and works from a lower arm angle that limits his fastball to the low-nineties. If he can develop his curveball, his above-average changeup and good control give him a chance to be a back-of-the-rotation starter.
All three prospects have cases to rank towards the end of the Giants’ top 30 prospects. Davis misses the cut. The Giants have already added two prospects that immediately rank inside the top 30 in their two other trades on the day. Teng and Berroa now round out the list, slotting behind Camilo Doval at No. 29 and No. 30, respectively.
San Francisco Giants: C
Minnesota Twins: A
Before you go ripping the trade, remember that a C is a solid grade for an MLB trade deadline deal. It’s not exciting by any means, but it gets the job done.
Frankly, my expectations for the top of the reliever market simply never came to fruition. It seemed like teams didn’t get much more for top-end relievers like Dyson or Shane Greene than they did for solid middle relievers like Mark Melancon and Sergio Romo.
That probably explains why Will Smith is still in San Francisco.
Meanwhile, the Twins acquired a legitimate high-leverage reliever without giving up a single consensus top 30 prospect. That’s an A-grade deadline deal.
The Giants still acquired three players with intriguing skill sets that their player development teams will get to work with. However, there’s a lot of boom-or-bust potential in the package. Really, it’s the inverse of today’s first Giants trade with the Brewers for high-floor infielder Mauricio Dubon.
On a busy MLB trade deadline day, the Giants were aggressive both as buyers and sellers, and moving Sam Dyson to the Twins for three prospects was their biggest seller move.