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Cubs trade target: Jose Berrios

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What would it take to acquire the Twins righthander?

Photo by Kyle Rivas/Getty Images

Many of you didn’t care for my thought Tuesday that the Cubs should try to reacquire Jon Lester.

As I noted, if they do that, they shouldn’t stop there — a younger starter should also be on their radar.

The Minnesota Twins have such a starter, and since the Twins are currently 16 games out of first place and for all intents and purposes out of the AL Central race, perhaps they’d shop Jose Berrios around.

Berrios would be a perfect acquisition both for the playoff push this year, and going forward. He’s 27 and under team control for one more season, and perhaps if they could acquire him, they could sign him to an extension.

Berrios is one of the few bright spots for the Twins in 2021. He’s made 13 starts and posted a 3.49 ERA and 1.086 WHIP. He’s got a very good walk rate (just 2.3 per nine innings) and all of that is, so far, worth 1.3 bWAR.

I asked TJ Gorsegner, managing editor of our SB Nation Twins site Twinkie Town, what he thought it would take to trade for Berrios. Here’s what he told me:

What we know about this front office suggests they prefer trading for pitching prospects. They tend to prioritize quality over quantity. They tend to like to pick up OF prospects in trade as well. They also are unlikely to make a “bad” trade.

I suspect that getting Berrios would take a package of at least three players, headlined by one of the pitchers in the general range of Ryan Jensen through Riley Thompson. The second piece would also probably have to fall in that general range, and then the third in the top-30. That’s a guess, but a slightly educated one. So basically two prospects in the #5-15 range of your system, and a third in the top 30. At least one would have to be a pitcher.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the Twins ask was even more, and if they decided to keep Berrios if they didn’t get blown away.

Well. That’s a pretty steep price, but to acquire a pitcher of the quality of Berrios, it might be worth paying.

Let me see if I can put together a package that would satisfy the requirements above without too much ransacking of the Cubs’ top prospects.

How about Ryan Jensen, Cole Roederer and Brendon Little? Would that do it? Jensen is a former No. 1 pick (so is Little, for that matter) and highly-regarded — but he’s only 3½ years younger than Berrios, who is already an established MLB starter.

There’s one other thing about Berrios that’s relevant to the Cubs: He’s Javier Báez’ brother-in-law (their wives are sisters). Could the acquisition of Berrios perhaps entice Javy to stay with the Cubs? TJ Gorsegner had essentially the same idea for the Twins:

A lot of people around the Twins corners of the internet are advocating for the Twins to sign Javy this winter, in an attempt to win favor with/eventually keep Berrios.

All very interesting. Berrios is making $6.1 million this year, so the Cubs would have to take on about half of that (if the deal were made now), likely doable for Jed Hoyer & Co. As I mentioned, he’s arb-eligible next year. That would probably mean somewhere in the $10 million-$11 million range, also likely affordable, or perhaps the Cubs could sign him to an extension after acquiring him.

Another useful thing about Berrios: In five career starts vs. the Brewers and Cardinals, he has a 2.01 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 31⅓ innings, and a 2.65 lifetime ERA in 17 starts against the White Sox.

So would you do that deal? Obviously, I would. Or do you have another prospect package idea that might entice the Twins? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

Poll

Jose Berrios...

This poll is closed

  • 74%
    ... the Cubs should trade the three players mentioned in the article for him
    (689 votes)
  • 11%
    ... the Cubs should trade for him, but I have a different offer (leave in comments)
    (111 votes)
  • 13%
    ... the Cubs should not trade for him
    (130 votes)
930 votes total Vote Now