The Twins and Dodgers made a trade to significantly help the starting rotation, but it came at a steep price. I’ll tell you why the trade isn’t as bad as you think it may be.
Twins Receive: RHP Kenta Maeda, C Jair Camargo, $10 million,
Dodgers Receive: RHP Brusdar Graterol, OF Luke Raley, 67th overall pick in the 2020 draft
Obviously losing Graterol sucks. He’s a very promising pitching prospect and is on the track to becoming an elite reliever if he stays a reliever. If he stays a reliever, like it seemed the Twins wanted, his value isn’t as much as if he were a starter. Losing Raley and the 67th pick isn’t ideal, but it’s not going to affect much. Raley has no room to play in the Twins outfield with Kepler, Buxton, Rosario, and probably Cave. It also doesn’t help Raley by the Twins having really good prospects coming up like Kirilloff, Larnach, and Rooker being almost ready.
Maeda is entering his age-32 season and has been a good starter his whole career. He has 4 years left on his 8 year/$25M deal he signed when he came to the MLB from Japan. He earns $3M each year with a $150K bonus for making the Opening Day roster. He earns $1M each for 15 and 20 starts, $1.5M each for 25, 30, and 32 starts, $250K for every 10 innings pitches between 90 and 190 innings pitched, and $750K for 200 innings pitched.
Maeda had a decent 2019 season. He posted a 4.04 ERA, 3.95 FIP, 4.04 xFIP, 4.06 SIERA, 1.07 WHIP, 9.90 K/9, 2.99 BB/9, 1.29 HR/9, 3.31 K/BB, .200 BAA, 169 strikeouts, 51 walks, and a 2.5 fWAR in 153.2 innings pitched (26 starts, 11 relief appearances). Maeda throws 5 pitches and how much of the time he threw each in 2019: Four-Seam Fastball (33.7%), Slider (31.5%), Changeup (23.7%), Curveball (7.4%), and a Sinker (3.7%). Maeda is very similar to Twins All-Star pitcher Jake Odorizzi, which is a great thing. Here’s how Maeda did in 2019, courtesy of Baseball Savant:
The Twins also received catching prospect Jair Camargo in the deal. The 20-year old Colombian has been assigned to the Cedar Rapids Kernels, the Single-A affiliate of the Twins. Camargo spent all of his 2019 season with the Great Lakes Loons, the Single-A affiliate of the Dodgers. He slashed .236/.301/.342 (.643 OPS), with 4 home runs, 18 doubles, and 41 RBI. He also produced a .302 wOBA, 88 wRC+, 6.6% BB%, and a 28.8% K% in 316 plate appearances (79 games). Defensively, he made 10 errors and allowed 12 passed balls. He also had a decent 34% CS%.
Overall, I think this was a great trade for the Twins. They had to give up a very promising reliever, a pick in the 2020 Competitive Balance Round B, and a decent outfield prospect, but the return was great. They got a good starting pitcher and addressed a huge need at that position. Camargo could certainly be an interesting prospect to keep an eye on for the future too. $10 million is also great to help with Maeda’s contract. Sad to see Graterol go, but the future in Minnesota has never been brighter. The Twins will be looking to bring home their third World Series championship since moving to Minnesota in 1961, and their first championship since 1991.