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As you dream of Twins trading for a pitcher, don’t expect top prospects to move

Twins outfielder Alex Kirilloff signs autographs during spring training in Florida.

The Twins under Derek Falvey and Thad Levine always have stopped short of saying publicly that there are “untouchable” players in trade negotiations. It would take a lot to get a Mike Trout, for example, but there is a theoretical deal out there in which a trade could make sense.

That one’s not happening. Effectively, then, Trout is one of those untouchable players in the game. And the Twins, for their part, have a few in the stable, too.

Thad Levine was pressed on some hypothetical trades during an interview with Twins Radio Network, and he made it pretty clear how highly the Twins value some of their best prospects.

The baseball operations leaders have been accused by some fans and media members as being ‘prospect hoarders,’ but in this case it sounded like Levine wasn’t talking about their entire top-30 prospect list, but rather a few certain individuals at the top of those lists.

“I think that when you’re presented with deals that appear fair, you’ve got to contemplate them,” Levine said. “The tact that we have taken so far — and you never say ‘never’ — is that we view some of our players … as we want to see them succeed or fail in a Minnesota Twins jersey.”

“So there are just certain players that make it very challenging for you to look at a deal, maybe, on the entirety of its merits. As best as we try to do that, when certain names come up, you’re really desirous of holding onto them,” he said.

“I would commit to the fans: We’re going to always evaluate every trade [proposal], but there are a handful of players who I think we really, really truly want to see achieve their best with the Minnesota Twins.”

Levine was answering a direct question about a made-up trade offer for Alex Kirilloff, and the Twins GM said that the star hitter prospect is likely not going anywhere. Kirilloff had 29 extra-base hits this year and batted .283/.343/.413 in the Southern League (Double-A) despite ongoing wrist issues that kept him out of the Arizona Fall League at the end of the season. Externally, it appears that he’d have a shot to make his MLB debut in 2020.

One would expect that former No. 1 overall pick Royce Lewis is on the list of players that the Twins would have a desire to hold onto, after starring the AFL and playing multiple positions in the process. Perhaps others would be, too, although that seems less certain from the outside looking in.

That will no doubt rankle some fans of the Twins who would give up anything to another top-flight starter to the 2020 pitching staff. Falvey’s message from his first press conference as the head of the team’s baseball operations has been about building a sustainable championship-caliber organization.

One of the latest reports on the MLB rumor mill is that the Angels, pitching needy as they are, have considered a trade for Cleveland ace Mike Clevinger. But the reports are that when the asking price is Angels top prospect Jo Adell and then some, it seems unlikey that a deal would happen, even for an ace of Clevinger’s stature.

There are other pitchers out there who could make sense as trade targets — and we’ve talked about just about all of them on the SKOR North Twins Show this winter. It’s OK to dream, as a Twins fan, about the trade possibilities for a Blake Snell or a Jacob deGrom or a Germán Márquez.

Just don’t expect that the Twins will be willing to trade their very top prospects to get a deal done.


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