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Anthony Varriano
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The Wildest MLB Trade Deadline Day I've Ever Seen

08/01/2014 1:20am
last edited:08/01/2014 2:51pm

In a wild MLB Trade Deadline Day that saw David Price to Detroit, Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes to Oakland for Yoenis Cespedes, John Lackey to St. Louis for Joe Kelly, and even Stephen Drew from Boston to the Yankees, Terry Ryan and the Minnesota Twins' front office can hold their heads relatively high. They locked up All-Star catcher Kurt Suzuki for two more years at $12 million with a slick vesting option for a third year based on plate appearances, as Mike Berardino tweets.

"Kurt Suzuki's 3rd-year option would vest with 485 plate appearances in 2016, per person with direct knowledge." — Mike Berardino (@MikeBerardino) July 31, 2014 

The Twins played it smart and basically have full control of that vesting year. However, with Kennys Vargas being called up to fill the designated hitter spot in light of Kendrys Morales being traded back to Seattle and the "triumphant" return of Joe Mauer to first base and not catcher, it doesn't look good for Josmil Pinto, who now has plenty of time to progress defensively in Rochester. It certainly wouldn't be a surprise if Suzuki gets 485 plate appearances in 2016, but it would mean Pinto still can't catch and Mauer still won't catch. With his improved approach at the plate that Parker Hageman recognized in video reconnaissance, maybe three years of Kurt Suzuki won't be so bad.  

"I do believe that Kurt Suzuki made legit mechanical tweaks that allows him to drive the ball better than previous yrs" http://t.co/q6T45jyDAW
— Parker Hageman (@ParkerHageman) July 31, 2014

Let's just hope Pinto learns to frame pitches at least as well as Suzuki in a hurry so Ryan can move Suzuki sooner rather than later.
He did make another slick move in giving waiver claim Sam Fuld back to Oakland for starting pitcher Tommy Milone. I like Milone, whose given name is Tomaso Anthony Milone. Milone has put up impressive numbers in nearly 500 MLB innings pitched, but his strikeout numbers have steadily fallen. If he gives up even fewer homers and walks, which would be expected given Target Field and Rick Anderson, Milone will be an effective starter until 2018 when he becomes a free agent. And he will be better and cheaper in the role Kevin Correia has been failing to fill. Correia will be waived, and I wouldn't be shocked if he ends up the fifth starter or long reliever of a National League Wild Card contender...say, the Pirates. Any return on Correia is good return. Hell, maybe if we throw in a reliever they'll give Vance Worley back. 

Of course, we must also consider Ryan's move to send Morales back to Seattle, which brought relief pitcher Stephen Pryor in what looks to me like a salary dump of sorts. Pryor's only 22, but I don't see Ryan's interest except that Pryor's biggest problem is walks, and if there's anything the Twins organization preaches it's, "Don't give free passes." I didn't understand the move with so many young pitchers to throw out there as relievers: Thielbar, Fien, Pressly, Tonkin, even AJ Achter; and I still don't understand it after none of our relievers were traded: Burton, Duensing, Deduno, or even Perkins (although that would have been heartbreaking). 

So the Sam Fuld trade was outstanding, the Kenndrys Morales trade was pretty terrible, and perhaps the best move Terry Ryan made was to extend Kurt Suzuki at reasonable dollars and years. The Twins will most certainly be active at the waiver deadline, with Correia, Burton, and maybe even Deduno to be considered. It's the most wonderful time of the year.

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