Second place is not a bad place to be when July starts, as the season is at its midpoint. Now that there are two Wild Card clubs to qualify for the postseason, you’d think that no team in that position would want to ditch some of the players who helped them reach second place.
Well this year there is at least one second-place team that needs to wave the white flag, even though the schedule calls for early July. Because they are eleven games behind first place Cleveland, the Twins have no chance of winning the AL Central.
Upbeat fans at Target Field might rebut the above statement, recalling that just last year the Twins finished second behind the Indians and still made the playoffs as a Wild Card team. The difference, of course, is that Minnesota was playing .500 ball last July, a pace that was enough to qualify for the second Wild Card.
The 2018 Twins, on the other hand, are currently ten games under .500 and possess the 10th worst record in the league. Three of the four teams that have played worse than Minnesota are in the same division, which is the only reason the Twins are in second place.
Given the poor record and the huge gap between them and the Indians, the Twins need to make a trade that will benefit them going forward. His best trade card would be veteran starter Lance Lynn, who is signed only this season.
His departure would not hurt Minnesota, as All Star ace Ervin Santana is expected to return from the disabled list this month. His presence will more than make up for the loss of Lynn, who is being watched by several contenders.
One of those potential business partners, and the most practical, is the closest geographically to Minnesota. In fact, the two teams share a broadcast network, the Fox Sports North cable station.
Milwaukee is currently atop the National League Central, but the defending champion Chicago Cubs are just a game away. To avoid a breakdown like last year, the Brewers may be looking for a veteran starter like Lance Lynn, especially since Brent Suter had to be pulled from his last start due to injury.
Lynn could bring in a Top Twenty prospect, perhaps even number seven Lucas Erceg. Drafted into the second round in 2016, Erceg is a promising third baseman who is expected to hit the big leagues next year.
People in Minnesota might wonder why the Twins would go after third base, considering the most feared slugger on their list was an All-Star at that position last year. The answer, of course, is that Miguel Sano has no future in the hot corner, even if he surpasses his current offensive struggles while playing Single A Fort Myers.
It will most likely take over early in 2019, leaving the hot corner as a question mark. Certainly, utility infielder Eduardo Escobar has nobly replaced Sano’s absence this year, but the Twins need a long-term fix for that position.
Milwaukee is well placed at third with Travis Shaw, a left-handed hitter with a lot of power to solidify half the batting order. Even if the Brewers refuse to trade Erceg, they have a couple of promising receivers and pitchers among their top two dozen prospects. The Twins could certainly use a young catcher or a young arm that is close to the majors.