Don't Be Surprised if Derek Holland is A Minnesota Twin By Season's End

By Brian Wille
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Twins have spent the off-season retooling their farm system and pitching staff.  Acquisitions such as Vance Worley, Trevor May and Alex Meyer have given the Twins a renewed sense of optimism for the future, even if 2013 doesn’t look very bright as we sit here today. As the Twins head into the 2013 season, I believe the time might be right for the team to continue their trading ways and make one last big splash.

Two Twins’ players—Justin Morneau and Josh Willingham—are known to be on the radar as prime trading prospects for the team heading into 2013. One—if not both—are believed to be gone by the trading deadline and many teams are paying close attention to how the Twins fair this year in the standings. One team that was rumored to have interest in Willingham and/or Morneau this off-season was the Texas Rangers who are annual contenders for a World Series title and are looking to win now. What the Rangers have is a lot of very talented young prospects, but the fact is, the Twins do not have the type of fire power to acquire any of those talented young prospects without severely sacrificing the future of their franchise.

In addition, the Rangers also have a talented young left-handed pitcher by the name of Derek Holland, who was rumored to be on the trading block this summer. I believe Holland would be a great addition for the Twins and the price to acquire him is right in the Twins’ spending range.

Holland signed an extension with the Rangers last off-season that will pay him $28 million over five years with options for 2017 and 2018. Holland is a young talented pitcher—something the Twins desire—who has a career 39-29 record with a 4.71 ERA in four years at the Major League level. The Rangers have had a tumultuous off-season thus far with the loss of Josh Hamilton and the linkage to PED’s with Nelson Cruz. Because of these issues, the Rangers have been rumored to be in the market for a power-hitting corner outfielder and possible a first basemen; luckily for the Twins, they have both.

If the Twins were to approach the Rangers with a trade offer that centered around Willingham and/or Morneau along with Brian Duensing, the Rangers may be interested. Holland is one of the most likely pitchers to be traded from the Rangers staff if they decide to acquire some bats in exchange for pitching. This trade would give the Twins a promising young arm, while opening up playing time for Oswaldo Arcia in the outfield and Chris Parmelee at first. If the Twins were in need of another outfielder, they could ask the Rangers about Julio Borbon or Craig Gentry as an additional player in the deal.

I believe that Holland would be better than any player the Twins could acquire in a trade deadline deal during the season, but it will come at a cost of one of the Twins’ best hitters in their lineup. Holland is also under contract for the next few years, so the Twins would be getting a pitcher they could control until they become contenders again, however, the commitment to rebuilding needs to be made and I believe this deal would help address a long-term need for the organization.

Money wise, including both Willingham and Morneau would not make sense. I would imagine it would be either one player or the other, however if the Rangers are high on Holland’s value, the Twins may need to part with both—or another talented player—in order to complete the deal.

While a deal like this may seem unlikely, it is an option for the Twins to consider when finding possible suitors for Willingham or Morneau. The deal may not occur during spring training, but if the Rangers get off to a slow start, experience injuries or find out Cruz will be disciplined for any PED use, then the likelihood of a deal with the Twins would exponentially increase. For now, the Twins must play the wait and see game to get the best deal for all parties included. Keep an eye towards Texas this summer and don’t be surprised if rumors are rekindled if one of the above mentioned scenarios begins to play out. One thing is for certain: this blogger’s fingers are definitely crossed.

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