Twins Are Now Players In Historically Great Free Agent Shortstop Class
Image courtesy of © Eric Hartline-USA TODAY SportsInjuries to top prospects can be frustrating to a fan base, especially for a player as highly touted as Royce Lewis. He was supposed to be the team’s shortstop of the future with the chance to take over that role at some point in 2022. His injury might end up being a blessing in disguise, because the Twins can take advantage of a rare plethora of free agent shortstops.
In some offseasons the free agent shortstop class can be almost non-existent. This past winter saw multiple above average shortstops hit the market including Marcus Siemen, Didi Gregorius, and Simmons. Only Gregorius signed a multi-year deal, so Siemen and Simmons will have to compete with other star players for free agent deals (Age for 2022 season in parentheses).
Francisco Lindor (28): Lindor was dealt out of the AL Central this winter and will spend the 2021 campaign with the Mets. It seems most likely for the Mets and their new ownership to work out a contract extension to lock-up Lindor. He’s one of baseball’s most marketable superstars and he already seems like a natural fit in the Big Apple. It’s going to cost north of $300 million to sign him and that is more money than the Twins are going to be willing to spend.
Javier Baez (29): Last season, Baez struggled to the tune of a .598 OPS in over 235 plate appearances. However, in the previous four seasons he averaged 25 home runs and 30 doubles per year with a .822 OPS. On top of that, he’s one of baseball’s best defensive shortstops. There’s also a connection between Jose Berrios and Baez as they are brother in-laws and both hale from Puerto Rico. Maybe bringing Baez into the fold will encourage Berrios to sign an extension with Minnesota.
Carlos Correa (27): Correa is the youngest player on this list, but he’s also missed time throughout his big-league career. In fact, the 2016 campaign was his lone season with more than 110 games played. There’s no denying his on-field production when he is on the field. He’s averaged a 5.2 WAR in every season where he has played 99 games or more. Also, he’s a well-rounded infielder as he finished second in SABR’s SDI among AL shortstops last season. The injury history might scare some teams away, but it can also bring down his free agent price.
Trevor Story (29): Story debuted in 2016 and he’s done nothing but mash since that point. Among shortstops, he has the most home runs during that time-period even though he has fewer at-bats than the next three players behind him in the standings. Story isn’t as strong defensively as some of the others on this list, but he can more than hold his own. He ranks as the seventh best shortstop according to Defensive Runs Above Average since making his debut. Story might be a sneaky good player for the Twins to target next winter.
Corey Seager (28): Seager’s star power has dwindled during his time in LA, especially with MVP winners Mookie Betts and Cody Bellinger anchoring the line-up. Unfortunately, he missed nearly all the 2018 season due to Tommy John surgery, but he came back strongly and led the NL in doubles the next season. Last year, he posted career highs in batting average and slugging percentage as the Dodgers claimed the World Series title. Will LA be willing to let one of their best players leave in free agency because of the team’s other stars?
Which player do you think would be the best fit in Minnesota? Will the team spend big on a shortstop even with Lewis returning from injury? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
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