If last Friday’s trades of Eduardo Escobar and Ryan Pressly blindsided the Twins clubhouse, Monday’s moves — shipping Lance Lynn to the Yankees and Zach Duke to the Mariners — were no surprise.
Even with first-place Cleveland visiting Target Field, the Twins front office focused on swapping veterans for future assets ahead of Tuesday’s 3 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline.
Will Brian Dozier be next? Or maybe Kyle Gibson?
“There’s a lot of things going on, not just here, but around the game as we get closer [to the deadline],” manager Paul Molitor said. “In the next 23 hours there will probably be more flurry of activities.”
The Escobar-to-Arizona and Pressly-to-Houston trades netted five minor leaguers, including four who moved into the Twins’ top 30 prospects, as ranked by MLB.com. One of them, Jhoan Duran, made an immediate impression, tossing seven no-hit innings for Class A Cedar Rapids on Monday.
The Lynn and Duke moves added four more minor leaguers, including former second-round pick Chase De Jong and Tyler Austin, who once ranked among Baseball America’s top 100 prospects.
The Twins might be trade deadline buyers, not sellers, if not for their 9-15 start. Lynn took responsibility for his part, as he was 0-3 with an 8.37 ERA through the end of April but heads to the Yankees at 7-8 with a 5.10 ERA.
“I really enjoyed my time here,” Lynn said. “I wish I could have done better.”
The Yankees reportedly might use him out of the bullpen. To sweeten the deal for the Yankees, the Twins agreed to pay half of the $4.5 million Lynn has remaining on his one-year contract.
The Yankees gave up Austin, 26, a power hitter who has split time mostly at first base, right field and designated hitter. He made New York’s Opening Day roster this year and hit eight home runs in 34 games, but he batted just .223 with a .280 on-base percentage before heading to Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes Barre.
Austin hit as three-run homer off Lynn in April when the Twins played at Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees also sent the Twins righthanded pitcher Luis Rijo, 19, who went 4-1 with a 2.77 ERA in seven starts at three minor league levels this season, with the highest being Class A Tampa.
The Twins have bolstered their farm system, but the veterans are still reeling from Friday, when the trades started with the team riding a four-game winning streak.
How long will it take them to get over those moves?
“Honestly, it’ll be a while,” said Dozier, another pending free agent. “It’s not one day, two days or anything. It always still lingers and it always will.”
Duke was 3-4 with a 3.62 ERA and 39 strikeouts in 37⅓ innings. He has made 513 career appearances and has not allowed a home run this season.
The key to that trade for the Twins was the 24-year-old De Jong, who ranked as the No. 28 prospect in Seattle’s system, according to MLB.com. The Twins also acquired infielder Ryan Costello, 22, who wasn’t ranked in Seattle’s top 30 prospects.
The Twins agreed to pay $75,000 of the $675,000 Duke had remaining on his one-year contract. The Mariners, like the Yankees, would be wild-card teams if the season ended today.
“Love the guys in this [Twins clubhouse] and I’m gonna miss them,” Duke said. “But I’m looking very forward to being out there in a pennant race.”
De Jong is a 6-4 righthander who went 5-5 with a 3.80 ERA in 21 starts for Class AA Arkansas this season. He had 89 strikeouts in 120⅔ innings. Drafted by Toronto six years ago, De Jong also pitched in the Dodgers system and made seven appearances, including four starts, in the big leagues for the Mariners last season, going 0-3 with a 6.35 ERA.
Costello, 22, has a Midwest League-leading 16 home runs with a .266 average and 70 RBI this season for Class A Clinton. Still, it’s hard to say how soon any of these players will help the Twins.
“A lot of good players in [the Twins clubhouse] with a lot of upside and a lot of good futures ahead of them,” Lynn said. “I wish them all the best.”