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Free Agency / Re-Signings 2020-21 Offseason

Other Baseball Today, 12:09 PM
Free agency is likely going to be a really slow burn this year, but I still think it's worth having a thread to discuss signings. ...
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Feinsand: Twins Interested in Marwin Reunion

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 11:25 AM
The Twins reportedly have expressed interest in re-signing free agent utilityman Marwin Gonzalez. MLB.com's Mark Feinsand shares the repo...
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R.I.P. Hank Aaron

Other Baseball Today, 11:18 AM
Hank Aaron passed away this morning. He was 86 years old. Feels like we're losing MLB legends every week, unfortunately. 
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Does Aaron Make It In All-Time Best Outfield?

Other Baseball Today, 09:45 AM
He makes my all time outfield: Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Henry Aaron. But think of whom is left out - Roberto Clemente, Ted Williams, Willie...
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Adrianza signing elsewhere?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 08:39 AM
Ehire Adrianza posted a Thank You message to the Twins and their fans on his Instagram page earlier today. Can't find any reports yet on...
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The Minnesota Twins Need to Explore a Javier Báez Trade

Monday night the San Diego Padres traded for starting pitcher, Yu Darvish. While the deal closed the door on a potential trade target for the Minnesota Twins, it might have opened up the door for a new trade target.
Image courtesy of © Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
After trading away Yu Darvish to the San Diego Padres, the Chicago Cubs signaled to the baseball world that they were open for business and ready to begin a rebuild, especially after team president Theo Epstein stepped down earlier this year. Players such as Kyle Hendricks, Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant are now likely on the table, as well as all-star shortstop, Javier Báez.

Much has been made this offseason about the Minnesota Twins pursuing a shortstop and reports have confirmed that this is a direction that the Twins are, indeed, exploring. Names such as Marcus Semien, Andrelton Simmons and Trevor Story have been discussed, but Javier Báez now instantly becomes the most intriguing name of the bunch.

Over the past half-decade, Javy Báez has been one of the best shortstops in baseball. From 2016-2019, Báez posted a .822 OPS, earned two all-star bids, and finished second in MVP voting in 2018 after posting a .290/.326/.554 slashline from the shortstop position. Báez has flashed serious power at the plate and absolutely mashes left handed pitchers. 2020 was admittedly a tough season at the plate for Báez (.203 AVG in 59 games), however his overall body of work points to this 60-game sample size being an outlier rather than a trend for the Chicago Cub.

When Báez isn’t mashing at the plate, he has shown himself to be a whizz in the field, leading the league in outs above average in 2019 before taking home the Gold Glove trophy in 2020. Baez has the range, arm, and flashy tagging ability to turn the hole between second and third base from a liability to a strength for the Minnesota Twins in 2021.



Javier Báez will be playing in his final season of arbitration in 2021 before becoming a free agent in 2022. The “expiring” contract would allow the Twins to acquire a bridge shortstop while Royce Lewis prepares to take the shortstop baton for the future. The singular year of team control would also bring with it a suppressed cost, likely allowing the Twins to hang onto their top-tier prospect capital in a hypothetical trade for the Puerto Rican.

Of course, one cannot discuss a connection with Javier Báez and the Minnesota Twins without bringing up the kindred relationship between Báez and his brother-in-law, José Berríos. While Berríos’ wife and Báez’s wife being sisters doesn’t necessarily give the Twins a leg up in any trade discussion, bringing family together on the diamond would certainly bring a smile to the faces of the brothers-in-law and give Dick Bremer plenty of talking points during Twins broadcasts in 2021.



What would you think about the Minnesota Twins pursuing a trade for Javier Báez this offseason? How much would you give up to acquire him? Leave a comment below and start the conversation!

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28 Comments

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MileHighTwinsFan
Dec 29 2020 11:46 AM

Not to throw a wet blanket on this idea - but Baez had an absolutely abysmal 2020. His 2020 numbers were truly horrendous:

 

BA - .203

OBP - .238

OPS - .599

WAR - .9

 

There was talk that Javy's struggles had a lot to do with the rule changes that did not allow players to watch in game videos during games.If that rule continues in 2021, it would be a pretty risky to trade away prospects for a one-year rental on a player whose game was devastated by the rule changes. 

 

 

    • rdehring likes this

This is a bad idea for a number of reasons.Even if Cubs are embarking on a fire sale, Baez is their undisputed star and would cost a ton.Why give up valuable prospects at a position that is loaded with very good FAs like Semien, Simmons and Didi who wouldn't cost any prospects.Right now the Twins have crying needs for the bullpen, starters and a DH.Likely our surplus of prospects could help fill these needs without breaking the bank.

    • specialiststeve, rdehring and bobs like this
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whosafraidofluigirussolo
Dec 29 2020 11:55 AM

It seems like some of the talk nationally about the Cubs retooling or rebuilding has been that they can't or shouldn't trade Báez or Bryant because they had rough years in 2020 and the return won't be worth it. However, if the Cubs really are motivated to sell, and that rough recent patch plus only one year of control left limits the price, then this is a very interesting idea.

 

Báez is a good shortstop, but IIRC he's also played some 2B and 3B, so this could be another plus. I know the idea if the Twins acquire another middle infielder is to move Polanco or Arráez to super-utility, but it's not guaranteed that that move would go smoothly, so having another player with positional versatility isn't a bad thing.

    • TopGunn#22 and Jack like this

As always it depends on the cost. If the Twins can keep their top 6 or 7 best prospects it is probably worth trading for him and offering him the qualifying offer to recoup some of the prospect cost to acquire him.

    • TopGunn#22, specialiststeve, jrod23 and 1 other like this

I am not in on this and the SS discussion is the wrong direction for me if it is a trade.Whatever the trade chips are they need to be used for a SP.Go free agent otherwise.I love that the Padres added two ACEs but did not diminish their roster or there top prospects.We have to think along those lines too. 

    • TopGunn#22 likes this
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tarheeltwinsfan
Dec 29 2020 12:26 PM

I think most of us agree that the Twins need a SS. I want one who is a really good defensive SS. There is enough hitting to make up for any lack of offense at SS. I would rather have Simmons for 3 years and keep our prospects,than Baez for1 year. and trade away one or several of our top 20 prospects, one or more of whom will become solid ML players in a year or two. 

    • Twins33 and rdehring like this

If Gordon and a low level flier gets it done I'd be all for the gold glove defense, power bat, and shot of adrenaline attitude Javy would bring for next year. But I'm not a fan of trading anything "significant" for 1 year rentals.

 

I don't see how the Twins could afford him, but if there's a chance they could extend Javy (or Story, Cleveland will never trade us Lindor) I'd be much more willing to give up something a little more substantial. I think the top 5 guys should be untouchable unless you're bringing back a controllable MLB asset, but you could talk me into 2 guys between 5 and 15 and a low level flier or 2 for Baez if there's a realistic chance they'd dish out the dough necessary to lock him up long term.

 

Or in that scenario it'd be interesting to see what else the Cubs may ask for if it was a Javy for Jorge swap. Polanco at his current deal is a steal if he's his usual self so swapping SS with a plan to extend Javy is interesting to me. But I don't see anyway the Twins would pay for an elite SS so at this point I'd prefer to sign Simmons to a 2 year deal and cross my fingers Lewis can stick at short.

    • TopGunn#22 and jrod23 like this
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Doctor Gast
Dec 29 2020 01:17 PM

Matthew, I was thinking the same thing. W/ his poor 2020& last year of arbitrations his trade value is low. A couple of lower prospects should do it. I love his defense his hitting is icing on the cake. 

    • Vanimal46 likes this
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Doctor Gast
Dec 29 2020 01:29 PM

 

I think most of us agree that the Twins need a SS. I want one who is a really good defensive SS. There is enough hitting to make up for any lack of offense at SS. I would rather have Simmons for 3 years and keep our prospects,than Baez for1 year. and trade away one or several of our top 20 prospects, one or more of whom will become solid ML players in a year or two. 

Totally agree w/ you that our priority should be a really good defensive SS. Simmons has been a great defensive SS & I'd love to have him, my only concern is his ankle injury, SS can be murder on ankles

    • TopGunn#22, tarheeltwinsfan and rdehring like this
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Hollywood42
Dec 29 2020 02:04 PM

The last thing this lineup needs is another high strikeout, low OBP bat that never walks. Defensively, sure he'd be nice to have, offensively absolutely not

To me the biggest reason to trade for him is the sisters. That's assuming that relationship can be used to get both tied to an expensive, but reasonable extension. Personally, I have no interest in trading for a one year rental...unless it can be done for a mid-level minor league guy...certainly not one of the top 6 or 7 prospects.

 

I don't know if this applies to you, Matt, but I find it interesting how many are calling for the Twins to overlook bad numbers from 2020 on somebody they should sign/trade for because of the small sample, rules, etc. Yet many are also calling for several Twins players to be shipped out of town because of their poor numbers in 2020. That leaves me scratching my head.

    • Minfidel, tarheeltwinsfan, jkcarew and 2 others like this
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Doctor Gast
Dec 29 2020 03:27 PM

 

To me the biggest reason to trade for him is the sisters. That's assuming that relationship can be used to get both tied to an expensive, but reasonable extension. Personally, I have no interest in trading for a one year rental...unless it can be done for a mid-level minor league guy...certainly not one of the top 6 or 7 prospects.

 

Yeah, just think of the camaraderie, camaraderie is always a good thing & the motivation to sign mutual extensions would be great. A trade like Sabato, a future power bat which have plenty & Gordon should do it. These are low valued prospects which wouldn't affect any trade attempt to get a top of the line pitcher

Obviously nobody wants Polanco to play short next season. Rumors have the Twins signing Semien. I would rather have Didi but would rather not trade for Baez- as good as he is. What does Lewis have left to do before getting a shot at becoming the regular shortstop? I'd put Polanco there, let Lewis back him up by playing twice a week to see what he can do. Otherwise, 3 years from now we'll be talking about why he never got a chance (though I'm not sold on him ever making it). If we are going to give up prospects, I'd rather do it for pitching.

    • tarheeltwinsfan likes this

 

Obviously nobody wants Polanco to play short next season. Rumors have the Twins signing Semien. I would rather have Didi but would rather not trade for Baez- as good as he is. What does Lewis have left to do before getting a shot at becoming the regular shortstop? I'd put Polanco there, let Lewis back him up by playing twice a week to see what he can do. Otherwise, 3 years from now we'll be talking about why he never got a chance (though I'm not sold on him ever making it). If we are going to give up prospects, I'd rather do it for pitching.

Hey, don't say nobody. I will be very happy if Polanco is the Twins shortstop in 2021. Hell, I'll be happy if anyone is at shortstop and we both have baseball and those of us that currently don't have FSN have it so we can watch the Twins.

 

I agree that adding a top defensive shortstop may make sense, moving Jorge to a super sub role. But that isn't all that likely and I will be fine with him at short, especially if he is healthy.

    • tarheeltwinsfan and Hollywood42 like this

 

Yeah, just think of the camaraderie, camaraderie is always a good thing & the motivation to sign mutual extensions would be great. A trade like Sabato, a future power bat which have plenty & Gordon should do it. These are low valued prospects which wouldn't affect any trade attempt to get a top of the line pitcher

Doc, I honestly don't have a clue what to expect from Sabato. If I recall, he was a stretch and not expected to go until later well into the next round. Then I read about what he did in college and comparisons to that kid from the Mets. I know his D at first is likely to put him at DH, but heck, if he hits anything like the Mets' kid I will be elated. Here's hoping for him to be another Jeffers who also had a lot of us wondering why the Twins took so high.

 

And memory serves that Jeffers' defense was also suspect and he worked hard and now is considered well above average. Could we catch lightening twice in the same bottle?

    • tarheeltwinsfan and Doctor Gast like this

 

Obviously nobody wants Polanco to play short next season. Rumors have the Twins signing Semien. I would rather have Didi but would rather not trade for Baez- as good as he is. What does Lewis have left to do before getting a shot at becoming the regular shortstop? I'd put Polanco there, let Lewis back him up by playing twice a week to see what he can do. Otherwise, 3 years from now we'll be talking about why he never got a chance (though I'm not sold on him ever making it). If we are going to give up prospects, I'd rather do it for pitching.

Starting Lewis in the bigs and having him play twice a week should get a FO fired. That is an awful way to see if a kid is ready or give them the chance to continue to develop. Put him in the minors where he can get everyday at bats and work on his game until a spot is open due to injury or trade in the majors or he dominates so much he makes it clear he's the best option. Top prospects should never be sitting on your major league bench 5 days a week. Never.

    • Minfidel and railmarshalljon like this

 

Starting Lewis in the bigs and having him play twice a week should get a FO fired. That is an awful way to see if a kid is ready or give them the chance to continue to develop. Put him in the minors where he can get everyday at bats and work on his game until a spot is open due to injury or trade in the majors or he dominates so much he makes it clear he's the best option. Top prospects should never be sitting on your major league bench 5 days a week. Never.

 

Agree with your basic premise about Top Prospects. I think Lewis could be in the line up 4-5x a week if as the super utility player (SS-3B-CF-OF). If he has successful Spring I think this could be an option for the Twins to consider.

    • tarheeltwinsfan and Doctor Gast like this

If all of this talk about the Twins wanting a SS are true...and I’m not convinced they are true...then that says the Twins are very far down the path of giving up on Lewis as an every-day major league shortstop. There’s no reason to expect that Lewis...right now...would be materially worse offensively than Baez or Semien were in 2020, or Semien has been every year other than 2019. This will be Lewis’s age 22 season. He was a #1 overall pick. Not a good look to be making significant moves for middle infielders as if he didn’t exist. Unless, of course, the Twins consider him insufficient defensively to fill a full-time super-utility role...or already consider him an outfielder.

I agree to a degree jkcarew.We shouldn't have to wait until Lewis is 25 years old to see if he can play in the big leagues.

Get him up THIS year as the super-utility.

That allows you to devote $$$ to signing a difference maker like Bauer.

I have no problem considering a Baez trade.But as was previously stated 2 guys between 5-15 as prospects should be the price.

What I LIKE about Baez is that he's tremendous defensively.  

He's also durable---which is why I slightly prefer him over Simmons but still think Simmons is a better move than Semien.

If you could get the Cubs to take Polanco and 10-15 prospect I'm willing.  

Until Polanco stops stepping in the bucket so bad, left-handed I'm not sure he gets back to his offensive level.But he's wholly inadequate defensively.

Arraez is our 2B-man.He's good with the bat, below average on "D."  

We need better infield "D."  

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specialiststeve
Dec 29 2020 09:27 PM

Sano and Polanco

for 

Baez and Bryant 

 

Sano and Baez are basically same financially with both being FA in 22.... Sano gets another shot at 3B in Chicago... Polanco takes over at SS at a lower price that the Cubs are clearly looking for...

 

Bryant takes over at 1st... and a shot at returning to stud production... Baez takes over at SS.... 

 

If we need to add a couple 2nd tier minor leaguers ... okay... 

 

Cost a bit but the upside is HUGE... 

    • TopGunn#22 and tarheeltwinsfan like this
So now that Rosario is gone, we are going to hate on Polanco? What’s wrong with him? Hes young, has some of the best at bats on the team, cheap contract, and solid on D
    • h2oface, Otwins, Major League Ready and 1 other like this

And just like Rosario I think he played hurt last year. He could bounce right back this year. I like the idea of adding another shortstop but mainly because Marwin and Adrianza's at bats are being replaced.Polanco if healthy should be fine.

    • rdehring likes this

What does Lewis have left to do before getting a shot at becoming the regular shortstop?


Hitting AA pitching better than he has is a good start.
    • Twins33, Physics Guy, The Wise One and 3 others like this

 

I think most of us agree that the Twins need a SS. I want one who is a really good defensive SS. There is enough hitting to make up for any lack of offense at SS. I would rather have Simmons for 3 years and keep our prospects,than Baez for1 year. and trade away one or several of our top 20 prospects, one or more of whom will become solid ML players in a year or two. 

If we look at the last two playoff losses - our hitting did not hold up.I agree with good fielding, but when it is crunch time we need bats that will produce.

 

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Doctor Gast
Dec 30 2020 10:50 AM

What the Padres lost in the Snell trade they almost made up on the Darvish trade. The trade would've been fairer if the Cubs left off Caratini in the trade. That shows me they really want to cut salary even if they take a loss. Of all the SS that's out there Baez excites me the most. If the Cubs are interested, we could get a good deal + a great SS. 

For those who think that it's a good idea to trade Polanco for Baez, have no idea how to value a trade. You need to look at history & potential but also the salary &# of years of control.Polanco is also an all star + better salary + I think 3 more yrs. of control than Baez which makes Polanco's value around 4x greater than Baez