I suspect that whatever trade the Twins do make, that my reaction will be that they gave up too much.
Second: The Twins are said to be near an agreement with Baker, who is rehabbing from ligament replacement surgery, for his return. If he does, it’s quite likely that he won’t be ready to pitch in the majors in April, and his innings will be limited.
Prospect Kyle Gibson is about nine months ahead of Baker chronologically in his rehab process. He too will have his innings limited, but unlike Baker should be able to pitch at the start of the season.
I can see the Twins essentially splitting a rotation spot between the two. I think they’d be pleased to get 200 innings out of the combination — say 120 from Gibson and 80 from Baker.
They are unlikely to neatly divide one rotation spot that way, with Gibson pitching into August and Baker then taking his place. Expect some overlap in which both are in the rotation.
Third: Naming a front-runner for the fifth spot in this scenario is an exercise in futility. Candidates include (alphabetically) Nick Blackburn, Sam Deduno, Cole De Vries, Brian Duensing and probably Anthony Swarzak.
The only real reason to include Blackburn (who is not on the 40) is that he has a $5.5 million contract. Swarzak and Duensing have been much better as relievers than as starters.
If I had to pick between Deduno and De Vries, I’d pick De Vries. But there’s a whole offseason between now and April.