MLB: Five Minnesota Twins Players That Are Most Likely to be Traded

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MLB: Five Minnesota Twins Who Could Be Traded

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Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off back-to-back seasons with 90 or more losses, outside expectations for the Minnesota Twins were surely low coming into the season. But they have a .500 record (18-18) after Tuesday night’s loss to the Chicago White Sox, and it’s worth wondering if they can stay relevant in what looks likely to be a tightly-packed American League Central division.

With what looks to be a solid pipeline of young talent coming through the minor league system, Twins’ general manager Terry Ryan may look to unload some veterans as July’s trade deadline approaches. Lingering around their current winning percentage will likely not be enough to be a playoff contender as the summer wears on, so some tough decisions could be coming for Ryan and the rest of the front office.

The only truly untradeable player on Minnesota’s roster is catcher Joe Mauer, due to the size of his contract ($23 million per season through 2018) and the fact he has a no-trade clause. To say nothing of the public relations hit that would come if the St. Paul, Minnesota native was dealt.

The Twins do have some veterans that could help other teams, so Ryan’s phone is sure to ring a lot as late July gets closer and teams become trade deadline buyers in order to bolster a possible run to the postseason. Time will tell if Minnesota is a true “seller” by that point.

Assuming the Twins don’t stay relatively close to the top of their division and become a legit playoff contender over the next two months, here are the five players I think are most likely to be traded soon.

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5. C/DH Ryan Doumit

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Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

After a solid first season with Minnesota in 2012 when he set career-highs in home runs (18) and RBI (75), Doumit has gotten off to a slow start this season (.215, three home runs and 16 RBI). But he has shown signs of a turnaround in May, hitting all three of his home runs and driving in 10 runs. Any team looking to add a switch-hitter off the bench may have interest in adding Doumit, but the potential return in a trade may not be great for the Twins and he is the only catcher on the roster besides Mauer right now.

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4. IF Jamey Carroll

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Carroll played 138 games for the Twins last season, but he has settled back into a utility role this season, playing 15 games with 47 total plate appearances to this point. The 39-year old should continue to have a minimal role as long as Minnesota’s younger infielders (Trevor Plouffe, Brian Dozier, Pedro Florimon, Eduardo Escobar) remain healthy, though his value as a veteran mentor to those players should not be understated. In any case, Carroll’s ability to play second base, third base and shortstop enhances his value to teams that could be looking to add infield depth.

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3. 3B Trevor Plouffe

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Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Plouffe has not had a great season to this point, hitting just .241 with four home runs and 15 RBI over 132 plate appearances. His defensive performance is at best inconsistent, and one of the Twins’ top prospects (Miguel Sano) is a third baseman and should be ready for the big leagues within a year or two. There is not a ready-made replacement for Plouffe on Minnesota’s current roster, but his relative youth (27 in June) and power potential (24 home runs in 2012) may make him the player that has the most appeal to other teams.

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2. LF Josh Willingham

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Willingham has struggled recently, hitting just .172 over his last 19 games with zero home runs since April 29, which has led to poor overall numbers so far this season (.204, five home runs and 16 RBI). He had a big 2012 season, setting career-highs in games played (145), home runs (35) and RBI (110), so it’s worth wondering if the time for the Twins to trade him at the peak of his value has already passed. Still, as teams seek right-handed power hitters Ryan may be fielding offers for Willingham.

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1. 1B Justin Morneau

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Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Health issues have limited Morneau over the last few seasons, but he has been in the lineup in 35 of 36 games this season and is hitting .385 (20-for-52) with 17 RBI so far in May (13 games). It's unclear if the Twins will seriously consider trading Morneau, but since he is in the final year of his contract other teams will surely have some interest in him. Minnesota also has a potential replacement at first base already on the roster in Chris Parmelee, so if they have no interest in re-signing Morneau after the season Ryan should be willing to listen to offers.

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