Sonny Gray signing further opens Yankees’ trade avenues with Twins

New York has a golden opportunity to get creative with a desperate team.
Division Series - Houston Astros v Minnesota Twins - Game Three
Division Series - Houston Astros v Minnesota Twins - Game Three / Brace Hemmelgarn/GettyImages

If the Minnesota Twins intend to both slash payroll and compete in 2024, they'd better hop on the phone with the New York Yankees expediently.

If they don't intend to contend and just want to burden someone else with their money, the same phone call should also take place.

According to rumors all offseason long, Minnesota's been interested in shopping offensive players with slightly-too-hefty contracts like Jorge Polanco and Max Kepler in exchange for both salary relief and pitching. This weekend, two additional Twins starters departed in free agency: Kenta Maeda agreed to tems with the Tigers, while Cy Young runner-up Sonny Gray chose St. Louis on a three-year, $75 million deal.

If the Twins' roster was practically alive and screaming for pitching help before these moves became official, they should be twice as desperate for competence now. Luckily, the Yankees have A) an endless, undying need for lineup boosts and B) enough pitching to theoretically pull off a high-profile Juan Soto trade and have some arms left over for the Twinkies. Have we mentioned loudly enough that Baseball America just lavished more praise on the Yankees' minor-league pitching? If we've been too quiet about it, we're happy to get a little bit louder now.

Yankees have exactly what Twins need to ignite Hot Stove with Jorge Polanco, Max Kepler trades

Michael King, Clarke Schmidt, Chase Hampton, Will Warren and Drew Thorpe probably have to be reserved for San Diego while they mull over their franchise's future. But Randy Vásquez, who proved his worth as either a starter or bulk guy, is readily available. Luis Gil, a Twin once upon a time, is returning from Tommy John surgery. Richard Fitts and Brock Selvidge, borderline top-10 prospects? Clayton Beeter, last summer's Futures Game representative? The Yankees are replete with exactly what the Twins are looking for, whether it be MLB-ready arms or starters on a slightly different timeline. It all depends what conclusions they ultimately come to about their own readiness to compete.

Kepler, reportedly, isn't interested in playing center field in his final season before free agency, which dulls his potential star in the Bronx somewhat. If the Yankees can find room for his 25-homer lefty bat, that'd be fantastic. But if they'd be forced to pay $10 million in a walk year to bump Aaron Judge from his regularly scheduled position, no dice.

The versatile Polanco, on the other hand, will also be making ~$10.5 million and could fill in admirably for Gleyber Torres (for $5 million less). Vásquez and Gil for Polanco? Who says no? Probably the Yankees' rivals who don't want to see them live gloriously.

There are a million machinations that might work, but regardless of where things settle, these two star-crossed playoff franchises feel like perfect partners this offseason. Monday morning's news only bolded and underlined that clear fact.