The Minnesota Twins have had a disappointing 2021 season thus far, sitting at 19-29 with almost two months in the books.
Surprisingly, the Twins rank eighth in the Majors with a .741 team OPS, but the team’s decent offense has been offset by their awful pitching staff.
Minnesota’s 4.54 team ERA ranks 22nd in baseball.
It’s not all bad for the rebuilding club, however, as this roster is loaded with candidates for deadline trades.
If all goes well, the Twins should be able to replenish their farm system, which ranks 12th in all of baseball according to MLB.com.
The 2021 trade deadline is July 31.
These two deals in particular could benefit the Twins moving forward.
2. A Hansel Robles/Michael Pineda Package
It shouldn’t be hard to find a suitor for one or both of these players.
There are several teams looking to add starting pitching and/or relief help.
Pineda was just activated from the IL after being sidelined with a thigh injury.
— Minnesota Twins (@Twins) May 26, 2021
Over seven starts this season, he has a 2.79 ERA and 1.01 WHIP.
If Pineda can sustain this sort of success, he could be a major factor on a contending team, and the return for the Twins would be solid.
Robles, on the other hand, has completed a full 180 from his 2020 season.
Last year, Robles had a 10.26 ERA over 18 appearances with the Los Angeles Angels.
The Twins decided to give him a shot, and it’s going to pay off at this year’s deadline when Minnesota reaps the benefits of his trade return.
Over 21 appearances this year, the righty has a 3.05 ERA, 3.65 FIP, and 1.07 WHIP.
Command is the only real concern, as Robles has walked 13 batters in 20.2 innings.
It’s shaping up to be one of the better seasons of Robles’ career, and as a reward, he will probably find himself playing for a contending team down the stretch.
1. Nelson Cruz
Nelson Cruz never seems to stop producing.
Age is just a number for the lifelong slugger, who is currently batting .290 with an OPS of .870 in his age-40 season.
Are we sure Nelson Cruz isn't lying about his age? Maybe he's like 33 or something.
— Foolish Baseball (@FoolishBB) August 29, 2020
In every year since 2013, Cruz has finished in the top-15 of the MVP race or been named an All-Star (or both).
This year, he has 10 home runs in 42 games, and could provide some pop for a team that lacks a big bat.
Cruz has had four career seasons with 40 home runs or more, including one as recently as 2019.
His contract expires after the season and there is no reason to believe that he wants to return to Minnesota (if he even returns to baseball at all next year), so a trade seems like a matter of when and not if.
Cruz will likely be one of the most desired hitters at this year’s deadline, so it’s not unrealistic to think that the return on the trade could be attractive.
This is the 17th year of Cruz’s career, and he’s still searching for his first World Series title.