Second place is not a bad spot to be in when July starts, for the season is just at its halfway point. Now that there are two Wild Card clubs to qualify for the post season, you would think that no team in that position would want to unload some of the players who helped them reach second place.
Well, this year there is at least one second place team which needs to wave the white flag, in spite of the fact that the calendar reads early July. Because they trail first place Cleveland by eleven games, the Twins have no chance of winning the American League Central division.
Optimistic fans at Target Field might refute the previous statement, recalling that just last year the Twins finished second to the Indians yet 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, in the other hand, are currently ten games under .500 and own the tenth worst record in the league. Three of the four teams that have played worse than Minnesota happen to be 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 in the future. Their best trade chip would be veteran starter Lance Lynn, who is signed for just this season.
His departure would not hurt Minnesota, since All Star ace Ervin Santana is expected to return from the disabled list this month. His presence will more than compensate for the loss of Lynn, who is being eyed by several contenders.
One of those potential trade partners, and the most practical, is the closest geographically to Minnesota, ln fact, the two teams actually share a broadcast network, cable station Fox Sports North.
Milwaukee is currently on top of the National League Central, but the defending champion Chicago Cubs are just a game back. 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 removed from his last start because of an injury.
Lynn could bring in exchange a Top Twenty prospect, perhaps even number seven Lucas Erceg. Drafted in the second round back in 2016, Erceg is a promising third baseman who is estimated to reach the Big Leagues as early as next year.
Folks in Minnesota might wonder why the Twins would go after a third baseman, considering the most feared slugger on their roster was an All-Star at that position last year. The answer of course is that Miguel Sano has no future at the hot corner, even if he overcomes his current offensive struggles while playing at Single A Fort Myers.
He will most likely take over at first in 2019, leaving the hot corner a question mark. Certainly utility infielder Eduardo Escobar has filled in nobly in Sano’s absence this year, but the Twins need a long term solution for that position.
Milwaukee is well set at third with Travis Shaw, a left handed hitter with plenty of power to solidify the middle of the batting order. Even if the Brewers refuse to deal Erceg, they have a couple of catchers and promising hurlers among their top two dozen prospects. The Twins could certainly use a young catcher or a young arm who is close to the Big Leagues.