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Ted Schwerzler

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Over the past couple of weeks, it has been rumored that the Twins are acting as a shark circling blood in the water. Waiting for an opportunity to make a big move like they did last offseason, it’s been anyone’s guess as to what that may be. Today it was reported that the move could come up the middle.

 

Trevor Bauer is the premier free agent this winter, but shortstop talent is aplenty as well. Andrelton Simmons is a perennial Gold Glove type, while both Didi Gregorious and Marcus Semien bring a more balanced offering in a stopgap type situation. Ken Rosenthal reported today that Minnesota is considering moving Luis Arraez and shifting Jorge Polanco to second base. The question then becomes, who plays short?

 

Arraez broke onto the scene in 2019 and immediately became a fan favorite that looked the part of a Tony Gwynn clone. With great command of the zone and an innate ability to make strong contact, multiple batting titles were projected for his future. Dealing with a slow start in 2020, and lingering knee issues, he finished the year off fine. It’s probably fair to describe him as virtually what we see being who he is. There’s going to be a high average, he won’t strike out, and he’s passable at best on defense. On its own, that works fine for Minnesota.

 

The problem here is that Jorge Polanco is miscast as a shortstop. His arm strength is questionable, and while improved in 2020, his range is suspect. That’s easier to overlook when the power production is what it was in 2019, but he dealt with a nagging ankle issue last season and just underwent another surgery to correct it. There was some talk he could take over as Minnesota’s replacement for Marwin Gonzalez, but you’d probably be sacrificing lineup prowess in that scenario. Moving him to second base seems like a much more fluid fit.

 

So, what happens at short? Royce Lewis is obviously seen as the heir, but there’s plenty of warts to dissect there. His 2019 was not good, and despite glowing reports from the CHS Field alternate site last season, 2020 featured no real game action. A handful of national names continue to suggest he’s not a fit at short long term, and a spot in centerfield makes more sense. That alone isn’t enough to bump him off the position now, but it might be worthy to consider him less than untouchable.

 

At the current juncture two of the game’s best shortstops are on the trade market. Cleveland is going to move Francisco Lindor this offseason, and the Colorado Rockies should be sending Trevor Story out. Neither are under team control past 2022 and as always you have the Coors effect in play (.760 OPS away .994 OPS home) for Story. Both players are going to command an absolute premium and depending on what Derek Falvey and Thad Levine are willing to give up, the hope would likely be an extension works out following a swap.

 

Despite lost revenues in 2020, the Minnesota Twins can’t afford to wait out their next move. The farm system has some very good top prospects, and the depth is also pretty solid. It’s this core however that the front office has been fine tuning, and the window to go all in is the immediate future. With Josh Donaldson having three years left on his mega deal, pairing him and the homegrown core should be of the utmost importance. What impact Royce Lewis or Jordan Balazovic have as key pieces two or three years from now could be the start of an entirely new competitive cycle.

 

This front office can’t go all in and throw care to the wind, but they’ve also never shown a reason to believe that’s how they would operate. Donaldson seemed like a great fit for Minnesota all along last winter, and the Twins picked their spot to get the deal done. Nothing may be imminent on a big splash front right now, but the makings of smoke seem to be billowing and there’s plenty of reason to fan for some flame.

 

For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz

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Trevor Story would be a fantastic addition to the Twins. The issue revolves around the ability to sign him for a 3-5 years. The only other player of interest there is German Marquez and he is already signed, making him a tough grab. The Rockies would be asking for plenty. What are we thinking? Lewis, Larnach, Enlow? Tough to trade more.

Is there room to fit Story and Marquez into a 2020 budget? The payroll would need to reach near $140 million, which is possible.

 

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I like where you're going with this TonyO&RodneyCline.  

It's going to take a LOT to get Story, but I don't think any team makes a move for him unless they would have "conversations" around signing him for 3-5 years.

I'm not worried about the Coors effect at all.  DJ & Larry Walker hit just fine outside of Coors.

The Rockies are not contending this year or the next.  But they still need to give people a reason to watch their games, whether in person or at home on TV.  

Their catching is abysmal.  They have no 1B-man.

 

Sano, Garver, Larnach and Enlow for Story and Marquez.  The Rox can absorb Sano's $11 million and their fans will marvel at his Bombs.

I hate to give up Larnach, but yah gotta give a little to get a little.  Larnach will be a player Colorado can build around.  Garver gives them the power hitting catcher they've never had.  And Enlow could be a key rotation piece.

 

The Twins get a SS they can build the team around.  A Gold Glove/Silver Slugger.  Story would be their BEST player.

Marquez is 25 years old and would be a rotation mainstay for years.  He'd be pretty good AWAY from Coors and would be insurance if they decide to move away from Berrios.

 

I don't want the Twins to "move" Arraez.  Rocco doesn't "run" with his team much.

Arraez gets on base at a .400 clip.  Put him at the top of the order and watch him score 100 runs for years.

But if Polanco plays 2B does Arraez become an often used "utility" guy? able to play 2B, 3B & LF ?   

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Trevor Story would be a fantastic addition to the Twins. The issue revolves around the ability to sign him for a 3-5 years. The only other player of interest there is German Marquez and he is already signed, making him a tough grab. The Rockies would be asking for plenty. What are we thinking? Lewis, Larnach, Enlow? Tough to trade more.

Is there room to fit Story and Marquez into a 2020 budget? The payroll would need to reach near $140 million, which is possible.

NOOOOO Story.  His offense is average at best away from Coors field.  He is basically Polonco away from Coors field.  Why give up prospect, and tons of money for offensively the same guy we already have?  

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I like where you're going with this TonyO&RodneyCline.  

It's going to take a LOT to get Story, but I don't think any team makes a move for him unless they would have "conversations" around signing him for 3-5 years.

I'm not worried about the Coors effect at all.  DJ & Larry Walker hit just fine outside of Coors.

The Rockies are not contending this year or the next.  But they still need to give people a reason to watch their games, whether in person or at home on TV.  

Their catching is abysmal.  They have no 1B-man.

 

 

 

Story, DJ, and Walker, all had huge home road splits.  Story road splits are average at best.  Basically same as Polanco.  Story does appear to be a much better defender, but on offense he will not be much of an upgrade, not worth big prospects for a year rental.  If you know he will sign you better be sure he can hit better outside of Coors than he has shown.  

 

In terms of DJ, huge home road splits and he went from from hitters park to another.  Walker, his home road splits huge too.  His early career at Montreal he was okay, only year 27 season was he great, not sure how Montreal field was offense wise.  However, after that year he went to Coors and put up insane offense, but his home road was huge still.  

 

I have no faith Story will be anywhere close to the offense he puts up when half his games will be at Target Field.  If he landed in AZ, Yankee Stadium, or other hitter friendly places maybe.  Target Field is not know to be hitter friendly. 

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Story is an absolute stud, but I wouldn't give up a lot for a 1 year rental.

 

The home/road splits for Colorado players are more stark than other ballparks because it's dang hard to adjust for seeing balls at elevation vs sea level. Sliders break different at sea level than they do at 5300ft. Plus, sleeping and recovery are difficult when you're constantly going from elevation back down to sea level and back to elevation. If you're high level athlete playing and performing every day, recovery matters a ton.  

 

Ask Arenado or Blackmon. It's not so much the field dimensions or the ball carrying further in the air as it is all the other stuff. 

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We are starved for on-base guys. Why would we drop Arraez?

 

IMO, fill the *real* hole, shortstop defense, with Simmons, and play either him or Polanco as a super sub while waiting for Lewis.

Yes to this. I don't think Polanco is a starting SS on a WS-caliber team. As a 2b, sure, but Arraez appears to be the better hitter. I would prefer the Twins sign Semien, Gregorius or Simmons to be their SS and use Polanco and the Util player that many have suggested Kike Hernandez for. I suspect one of the SS will be obtainable at a very reasonable and short contract. I don't like the idea of trading Arraez. He is the "tough out" in the lead off position.  I really hope Rocco puts Arraez in the lead-off position and leaves him there.  His OBP is nearly identical vs LHP and RHP, but he slugs much higher against RHP.

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Are we aware of some permanent deficiency with Polanco at shortstop or were the players and coaches wrong to pick him in 2019 for the starting position in the All Star Game? 

Until some new knowledge is brought forth, I am hoping that Polanco will be fully recovered from ankle surgery and a pain to every pitcher at the plate. Somehow, and I'm not understanding this, Polanco has become vastly under-appreciated here in Twins territory. This reminds me of how many fans viewed Greg Gagne decades ago. I did love how hard Nick Punto played every day, but can we please stop wishing for a similar player and be stoked to have an actual shortstop like Jorge Polanco.

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At first glance, idea of trading Arraez seems ludicrous.  One glaring need for this team is higher OB position players.  Last year's all or nothing offense demonstrated this gaping hole.  Arraez seems to be team's best bet for leadoff hitter.  So why trade him?

 

Several reasons exist to seriously consider a trade:

 

1.  Polanco's defense at ss is average at best.  His best position is 2B.

2. There are several FA SS's available.  My choice would be to sign Didi, but Simmons or Semien would be upgrades as well.

3.  Arraez is probably the Twins' only position player in a sell high mode.  If Arraez and one or two prospects could fetch a Snell, Castillo, Ray, or Darvish,  the FO should seriously consider a trade.

 

Sure, I would rather give up Polanco or even Sano but their values are not expected to be high right now.  Doubling down on the rotation by resigning Odo and trading for one of the 4 names mentioned above would be a huge step forward in the Twins quest for legitimacy in the playoffs.  

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