For Twins, the path is clear: They’re trade-deadline buyers

Published 8:17 am Friday, July 12, 2019

By Betsy Helfand

Pioneer Press

For every major league team there comes a point every July —or earlier for those on the extreme ends of the spectrum —when it’s time to commit to buying or selling at the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

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For teams that sit a game or two out of a wild card spot, the decision gets increasingly difficult. It’s easier for teams like the 2019 Twins, who return from the all-star break Friday on pace to win 102 games and with a 5 1/2 -game lead over Cleveland in the American League Central.

Though that lead has been trimmed by nearly half in the past four weeks, the Twins have a 96.3 percent chance to make the playoffs, per FanGraphs, and an 87.1 percent chance to win the division.

“I think we deserve where we’re at. We’ve worked so hard. We’ve got a really good group and we play so well,” all-star pitcher Jose Berrios said. “The position we are in right now, we’ve earned it because of the way we’ve played out there. The only thing I want is to stay healthy and try to do the same thing in the second half.”

And so after a strong half in which they outperformed most, if not all, expectations, the Twins have some clarity regarding the trade deadline: Yes, they’re buying, and pitching is on the shopping list —bullpen reinforcements especially.

“I think there’s still areas that we could potentially improve our club, but we’re going to wait and see where that takes us,” chief baseball officer Derek Falvey said.

For now, the Twins enter the “second half” of the season well-rested after dealing with a slew of injuries in June and the first part of July. This week’s all-star break came at a good time for the team, which put eight players on the injured list after June 18, including regulars Jake Odorizzi, Byron Buxton, Marwin Gonzalez, Ehire Adrianza, Eddie Rosario and C.J. Cron.

Though the Twins didn’t continue the torrid pace they had been on at the beginning of the year —at times possessing the best record in the majors —they still managed to post a 15-12 June record. They have spent the season staving off losing streaks, surviving the first half as the only team in Major League Baseball that hasn’t lost three straight games this season.

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