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Top 3 Needs for Minnesota Twins at MLB Trade Deadline

Youth, Pitching and Top of the Order Could Use an Upgrade Before the July 31 Trade Deadline

Yahoo Contributor Network

COMMENTARY | The Minnesota Twins find themselves in a different position than most teams do at the MLB non-waiver trade deadline. While most teams are looking for the missing piece to a contender that can win right now, general manager Terry Ryan is looking to build one in 2014 and beyond.

As the 36-46 record entering July 5 shows, the current roster is far from perfect. It will be up to Ryan and the rest of the scouting department to see if they can fill some of those holes and make this trade deadline a successful one.

Starting Pitching

The Twins' need for starting pitching is not as desperate as it was a season ago, but they still rank last in the American League with a 5.31 earned run average for starters.

While the team may opt to see arms like Trevor May and Alex Meyer work their way to the major leagues rather than acquiring a quick fix, adding another under-the-radar prospect can be the way to go when developing the bottom of the rotation.

As the cliche goes, you can never have enough starting pitching. This is especially true when your starting pitching fails to make it out of the 5th inning on a nightly basis.

Leadoff Hitter

One gripe by Twins fans in 2013 is that the team's middle of the lineup has failed to produce runs on a regular basis. This just in: You need runners on base to score runs.

This season, the Twins' leadoff hitters (whether it be Aaron Hicks, Jamey Carroll, Brian Dozier or Eduardo Escobar) have a collective line of .190/.258/.266. That's good for last in the AL in all three categories.

For the future, the Twins are hoping that Hicks (or super-prospect Byron Buxton) can take over the leadoff spot and feed the middle of the lineup more effectively. Until then, Ryan may have to look for a lesser-known prospect with speed and patience or a stop-gap veteran to accomplish that task.

Youthful Talent

The Twins already have several young players contributing as Hicks, Gibson and Oswaldo Arcia have secured starting spots on the roster. However, it would be better to find more young, quality talent to replace the aging and ineffective talent they currently have.

A trade for Justin Morneau could do the trick, but his trade value has taken a dive with one of the lowest slugging percentage marks of his career. They could also trade closer Glen Perkins, but they consider him to be a key (and affordable) piece to a future contender in Minnesota.

Perhaps it may come down to trading a random name like Casey Fien to bring in somebody that can add a trait to the roster for years to come. Either way, the Twins need to find good, young players to build around a nucleus that continues to brew in the minor leagues.

Chris Schad is a lifelong Twins follower that has spent a majority of his life cheering the Twins on through the dark '90s and success of five American League Central championships in the 2000s. His work has also been published on Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @crishad.

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