It was reported on Thursday night that the Minnesota Twins are offering star center fielder Byron Buxton a contract extension in the area of 70 million dollars, but if he were to decline the contract extension, the Twins would begin shopping him on the trade market.
This being the situation that the Twins find themselves in is not really a large surprise. Minnesota is 39-50 this season and finds themselves 15 games back of the first-place Chicago White Sox in the American League Central. It’s not just Buxton that could potentially be on the move. Jose Berrios, Nelson Cruz, and others could be suiting up for another team later this month.
In Detroit, the Tigers have actually exceeded their expectations this MLB season, based simply on where they were entering the season. Detroit was expecting to find themselves in the basement of their division again, but the Kansas City Royals hold that title, and the Twins are tied with the Tigers for fourth place in the division.
This weekend series doesn’t really mean much in the grand scheme of things for either organization, but it can mean something for your wallet if you decide to put some money on Friday’s game. Here’s a preview of Friday night’s game in Detroit.
Pitching matchup: Charlie Barnes vs. Jose Urena
Charlie Barnes is set to make his Major League debut for the Twins on Friday night. This season in AAA, St. Barnes has a 5-2 record with 3.88 ERA in his 11 starts.
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Barnes has gone 58.0 innings in his 11 starts and has surrendered just five home runs this season and a 2.63 strikeout-to-walk ratio. His 1.259 WHIP has required him to routinely pitch with runners on base, but he has done an effective job of limiting the damage against him this season.
For the Tigers, the former Miami Marlin Jose Urena is set to make his 17th start of the season. The 29-year-old right-hander has a 2-8 record this season with an ERA over 6.00. He is guilty of 37 walks this season and has just 50 strikeouts this season. The high walk rate contributes to his super-high WHIP of 1.688.
Urena hasn’t gone more than 5.2 innings since May 21, and he has given up at least three earned runs in each of his five starts since June 6.
According to baseball savant, Urena has been one of the worst starting pitchers in Major League Baseball this season. The only area that Urena ranks in over the 50th percentile is his average fastball velocity, where he is in the 57th percentile.
His four-pitch arsenal includes a sinker, slider, four-seam fastball, and changeup, but he throws no pitches over 50 percent of the time, but none of the pitches are considered to be above average.
The Twins are still without Buxton in centerfield as he nurses back a broken hand that he suffered earlier in the season. Buxton has been injury-prone throughout his entire career and averages just 66 games a season in his career. The lack of durability is largely why Buxton isn’t being offered a larger contract despite being one of the more talented players in the league.
Nelson Cruz should be slotted into the designated hitter role today for the Twins, and despite being 41-years-old, he is still hitting .304 with 18 home runs and 46 runs batted in. The steady production is one reason why Cruz is still one of the most prized targets at the trade deadline.
Even though the Twins are sending a rookie making his Major League debut, it’s hard to pick against the Twins in this game because of how bad Urena has been this season for the Tigers. Take the Twins on the money line at -122.