Twins Trade More Likely Next Week
Enjoy a Tuesday Minnesota Twins notes column.
Twins president Dave St. Peter told Sports Headliners his club is focused on acquiring starting and relief pitching, “people that can help us down the stretch (of the schedule).” The MLB trading deadline is July 31 and there hasn’t been much activity by any of the teams yet, but St. Peter isn’t surprised.
“When you look at the past trade deadlines, 80 to 90 percent of the trades are made within the last three days before the deadline,” St. Peter said. “So I expect it will pick up…maybe some during the coming week, but for sure the following week going into July 31.”
Twins executives Derek Falvey and Thad Levine lead the franchise search to improve the pitching staff via trades with other clubs. Their rapport with other baseball decision makers is something St. Peter values.
“To me the ability to pull off trades is sometimes rooted in the relationships between the general managers and heads of baseball operations, and I am optimistic that we’ll do everything possible to improve our team,” St. Peter said.
The Twins have about a dozen pro scouts looking at other big league players. St. Peter said that number hasn’t changed over the years but what is different now from years ago is a lot of evaluation is done in Minneapolis with analytics and discussions. Falvey, the chief baseball officer, and Levine, the general manager, have demonstrated their player acquisition skills since being hired by the Twins in October of 2016.
A number of players acquired during the Falvey-Levine era are leaders on a Twins team that has been in first place in the AL Central Division for over 100 days. Although the club’s lead over second place Cleveland is only 3 games, St. Peter predicts his team will finish “at the top of the American League Central.”
Last night the Twins defeated the Yankees 8-6 in the opening game of a three-game series at Target Field. Minnesota came up with a first inning triple play, the first ever for the Twins at Target Field, and the club hit five home runs, including two by catcher Mitch Garver.
Dating back to 1999, the Twins have yet to sweep a series against the Yankees. The legendary franchise is 21-9 against Minnesota including winning two of three games earlier this season. The Yankees lead the AL East with one of the best records in baseball at 64-35.
But former MLB shortstop Roy Smalley, who works for Fox Sports North as a Twins analyst, doesn’t think the Twins are intimidated by past results against New York. “I think that’s overrated, that mystique stuff,” he told Sports Headliners. “The Yankees have been a really good team for a long time.”
Certainly this series, though, is another opportunity for the 61-38 Twins to measure themselves against one of baseball’s best. “I regard it as a litmus test against any of the good teams,” St. Peter said. “When we play Cleveland that’s a litmus test. The Yankees are obviously one of the better teams in baseball so we’ll be tested for sure, but we think we can match-up with them and play competitive baseball. Hopefully we can come out and find a way to win the series.”
St. Peter isn’t expecting any of the Twins-Yankees games to be sellouts but attendance will be over 30,000 each of the three nights. Announced attendance last evening was 34,627.
At the end of last week the Twins ranked No. 6 among the 15 American League teams in home attendance with an average of 26,308 fans per game at Target Field.
A week from tonight the Twins start a three-game series against the Marlins in Miami where home attendance is pathetic. The Marlins were averaging 9,809 per game at the end of last week.
Twins legend Tony Oliva, who turned 81 last Saturday, is a regular at a Bloomington fitness club.
Among the items being sold in the Twins Majestic Clubhouse Store at Target Field are authentic jerseys of various players priced at $300.
Dick Bremer, who started working Twins TV games in 1983, is doing a book with local author Jim Bruton that will come out next March.
Baseball returns to the Olympics in 2020 but don’t expect to see Twins like Jake Odorizzi pitching for the United States or Max Kepler in the outfield for Germany. MLB players are not allowed to participate but minor leaguers will be able to compete in the Olympics.