With an eye toward returning to the postseason in 2019, the Minnesota Twins are reportedly interested in adding Paul Goldschmidt.
Jon Morosi reported that the Twins have talked with the Arizona Diamondbacks about a trade for the All-Star first baseman.
#Twins and #DBacks have had preliminary talks about a Paul Goldschmidt trade, source confirms, though the dialogue has not advanced in recent days. Minnesota had 5th-lowest OPS at first base of any @MLB team in 2018; Arizona had the best . . . because of Goldschmidt. @MLBNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 20, 2018
Recent reports (which you can read about here) have also cited the Houston Astros and St. Louis Cardinals as interested teams.
The Twins being interested is somewhat puzzling.
It is true that Minnesota’s first basemen struggled to produce much offense in 2018. But Goldschmidt is has been one of the most productive offensive players in baseball through his career. He also hit .290/.389/.533 with 33 home runs in 2018. So, he’d be a huge upgrade. From that perspective, it makes sense.
But when evaluating any potential Goldschmidt deal, we must remember that he’s set to be a free agent after the 2019 season. It’s possible that he could sign an extension with Arizona, or any team he’d be traded to. But short of that, trading for Goldschmidt only makes sense for teams that can realistically win the World Series in 2019.
Do the Twins qualify?
They went 78-84 in 2018. To be fair, Minnesota did make the playoffs in 2017. But even that was only with an 85-77 mark and that trip ended in only one game. It certainly didn’t feel like the Twins were only one player — even a great player like Goldschmidt — away from a trip to the World Series.
Now, there has been some buzz that the Cleveland Indians might be looking to cut some payroll. This includes ace Corey Kluber. If that does happen, Cleveland’s run of three-straight AL Central titles could be coming to an end. Even with a losing record, the Twins did finish in second place in the division a season ago. With the Kansas City Royals and Detroit Tigers rebuilding and the Chicago White Sox possibly being at least year away, there is a potential window for the Twins within the division.
But even if that is the case, winning the AL Central and winning the World Series are two different things. Even with Goldschmidt, Minnesota would still be below the Astros, New York Yankees, and Boston Red Sox in the AL power rankings. Just getting to the World Series in 2018 could well mean having to beat at least two of those teams. The Twins still lack the pitching staff needed to make that happen.
Landing Goldschmidt would absolutely be a huge step towards contention. But it would have to be just one part of a busy offseason.