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Jorge Polanco and The Twins


Tim

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For as much as a buzzkill the Twins 2021 season was, Jorge Polanco gave many Twins fans a reason to watch. 

Breaking out in 2019, Polanco hit 22 HRs and drove in 79 RBI with a slash line of .295/.356/.485. Polanco scuffled during the 2020 covid shortened season but was also playing with an ankle injury that required offseason surgery and ultimately a shift to second base.

The ankle clean up and position switch seemed to have paid off as Polanco had a career season in 2021. Overall he finished the season with a .269 AVG and an OPS of .826. Oh, and 33 bombs + 98 RBI. That's good for a WAR of 4.8 according to baseballrefrence. 

One would think now would be a poor time for the Twins to move Jorge Polanco in a trade. The stacked free agent class includes Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, Trevor Story, Marcus Semien, and Javier Baez. Teams looking for a shortstop or second basemen will have plenty of options to chose from.

But at what cost?

  • Carlos Correa and Corey Seager are 1A and 1B in the class. Both are expected to receive contracts upwards of 260 million.
  • Trevor Story had a down year offensively, but still grades out as one of the best defensive shortstops in the game. He also is only 28 and teams will convince themselves he returns to form at the plate... 150-175 million sound right?
  • Marcus Semien's fantastic 2021 campaign probably netted him a deal north of 115 million, as he was a top 5 hitter in baseball for much of the season.
  • Javier Baez is a complete toss up for me. He is incredibly streaky at the plate, but got hot during his stint with the Mets and switched his approach at the plate. His ability to move around the diamond defensively and play a solid shortstop, second, and third is still a huge asset. You can't deny the flair and energy he brings to a team as well, star power means tickets... I'd guess a team buys in and pays close to 100 million. 

While there are plenty of options teams can go on the open market, none will sign cheap. Aside from potentially Baez, you aren't bringing any of those players in for less than 100 mil, at the minimum. Fortunately, for the teams hesitant to commit that type of money, there is another option.

Jorge Polanco

**Before I'm slandered below for suggesting the Twins should trade their 2021 MVP, consider the facts.**

  • Contract - Jorge Polanco, currently 27, is signed through 2025 at what is essentially a 4 year 35.5 million dollar contract. When you stack that up against what the market is going to command for the available options, that deal is an absolute bargain.
  • Internal Replacements -  Second Base is really a position of strength for the Twins. Luis Arraez, still only 24 and under team control until 2026, has a career .313 AVG and .374 OBP over 275 games .. Yes, you are missing out on the power, but baseballreference had his 2021 WAR at 3.4, so by no means is it a massive downgrade. He isn't arb. eligible until 2023 as well.. Nick Gordon or the crown jewel in the Berrios deal, Austin Martin, could also be guys that could step into the position at some point next year.
  • State of The Organization - The Twins need to look at this an opportunity to try and expedite the rebuilding process. Reality is 2022 is going to be a lost year, regardless of whether Polanco is on the roster or not. Is 2023 the year? Who knows, a lot will need to go right for the Twins between now and then .. But at that point you've only lost value on a player that will have 2 years remaining on his steal of a contract. 

If you are hesitant to put Polanco in the same tier as the players in this upcoming FA class, Since 2019, here's where Polanco stacks up against the top middle infielders. 

708490576_polovalue.jpg.b58ca89230dc825071d765048f1f3453.jpg

That's a 3 year sample size of productivity that puts him square in the discussion offensively as a top tier middle infielder. 

Yes I am aware that some players on the list were injured, but that's apart of the game. Polanco was too.

Who might be interested?

The best fit for Polanco would be an organization that is entering their window to compete for a championship. Given how cheap his contract is, teams would have the ability to sign free agent starting pitching, which typically works out better, than say giving a position player like Javy Baez a 5 year / 100 million dollar deal. That model seems to have paid off for the Astros as well as the Dodgers to some extent.

What teams fit that bill? I highly doubt an organization will trade for Polanco with intentions of playing him at short. So i'll highlight just teams with a second base need, There's a few, here are my favorite options.

The Mariners, who received a 0.3 WAR from the second base position this past year, would be a great trade partner for the Twins. They don't really have a solidified plan at 2nd and on the prospect side it's slim.  Ranked with Baseball Americas top farm system, they have plenty of intriguing pitching prospects to deal from. Emerson Hancock, Matt Brash, George Kirby, and Brandon Williamson all look to be be starters long-term.. (I believe Brash will be the best) .... What about Noelvi Marte? one can dream.

Miami has reportedly been getting pressure from ownership to win now and could be a possibility. This would mean they are comfortable moving Jazz Chisholm from 2nd to Short .. If they are, the Marlins hands down have the most pitching prospect depth to deal from in all of baseball. Max Meyer, Edward Cabrera, Eury Perez, and Jack Eder (though recovering from TJ) all could be in play ... (I'll take Perez of the 4 please).

If the Blue Jays prioritize Robbie Ray over Marcus Semien, count them in as a Polanco fit. Toronto is right in their go for it window and may lean toward having a proven veteran to replace the production rather than banking on a prospect. A package of Orlevis Martinez/Jordan Gorshans and Nate Pearson doesn't sound all too bad. 

__

The Twins have a lot of work to do if they wanna get on back on track in the coming years.. This is all speculation, though I think it certainly is a route the Twins have to at least explore this winter. 

Regardless, of what you want the Twins to do with Polanco, there is no denying he would bring back a haul. That might be the best thing for the Twins sustaining long-term success.

*Also, don't check Baseballtradevalues.com for the prospects I mentioned. It rarely is correct, as most of us learned with the deals that occurred at the deadline. 

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Good post.  I'd hate to see Polanco go, but this is a good presentation on why it should be considered.  I will say that I don't think Polanco is going to be an option B for teams looking for a shortstop, but the trade scenarios that you highlight are plausible.

 

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The only way I see the Twins trading Polo is if they get an established MLB starter AND a top prospect. Polo is that valuable. With his talent, history, and contract, he should pull in a heck of a sure deal plus a pretty good bet on a prospect.

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Bad idea. We don't any one who comes close to take Polanco place at 2B. Arraez doesn't have the power, speed and the range to replace Polanco.

Polanco is MVP caliber. He's just starting to come back and is still is underrated. You never trade anyone who's this underrated and so necessary for the growth of the club! If FO trade Polanco at this point or place him back at SS. I'll be totally convinced they have no idea what they're doing.

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2 hours ago, Doctor Gast said:

Bad idea. We don't any one who comes close to take Polanco place at 2B. Arraez doesn't have the power, speed and the range to replace Polanco.

Polanco is MVP caliber. He's just starting to come back and is still is underrated. You never trade anyone who's this underrated and so necessary for the growth of the club! If FO trade Polanco at this point or place him back at SS. I'll be totally convinced they have no idea what they're doing.

Well actually in terms of WAR, the gap between Arraez and Polanco is only 1.4 .. Yes, you lose power, power at 2nd is a luxury.... But to say we don't have anyone close to replace him at 2nd is just inaccurate. They also just traded their "ace" for a top 30 prospect who's pretty much major league ready and will most likely end up at 2nd.

There is no such thing as an underrated player to major league front offices. The statistics I listed above justify that over a 3 year sample size, all public information.. Underrated in terms of popularity amongst fans? maybe I guess.

This is a big picture trade to benefit the growth of the organization in the long run. Having a power hitting 2nd basemen is a luxury for a playoff contender, not a rebuilding club.

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2 hours ago, Tim said:

Well actually in terms of WAR, the gap between Arraez and Polanco is only 1.4 .. Yes, you lose power, power at 2nd is a luxury.... But to say we don't have anyone close to replace him at 2nd is just inaccurate. They also just traded their "ace" for a top 30 prospect who's pretty much major league ready and will most likely end up at 2nd.

There is no such thing as an underrated player to major league front offices. The statistics I listed above prove that over a 3 year sample size, public information.. Underrated in terms of popularity amongst fans? maybe I guess.

This is a big picture trade to benefit the growth of the organization in the long run. Having a power hitting 2nd basemen is a luxury for a playoff contender, not a rebuilding club.

This is the question. Does Falvey think we are a playoff contender next year, or does he think we are rebuilding? We certainly should consider trading him if we aren't thinking playoffs for 2-4 years. Given the contract, and his numbers, Polanco is by far our most valuable trade piece. I'll give the chances of this happening at 10% max. Zero percent if we cannot sign Buxton.

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I guess you get more moving Polanco but looking at the numbers it seems almost better to trade Arraez rather than Polanco.  Polanco has a known cost for the next 4 years and looks to be more than worth the investment.  He has power which is a skill that has been very important to this organization.  He is a top producer who is a borderline all star player.  I just don't think this is the kind of player you give up and get better by moving.  He is the exact type of player any team would be happy to fall into as he looks like a plus defender at his position.  Has some speed. Has power and some OnBase skills. His K rate is good too.  He is the wrong player to trade at the wrong time.  You could trade him two years from now and still get a haul.

If you want a guy to trade go with the guy with the shaky Knee's who has no power and isn't all that fast.  Who likely can be replaced by Miranda or Martin.  Heck if Gordon ups his game a little he might not be far off of Arraez's numbers.  I just don't think Polanco is the right player to trade at this time.

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5 hours ago, Tim said:

Well actually in terms of WAR, the gap between Arraez and Polanco is only 1.4 .. Yes, you lose power, power at 2nd is a luxury.... But to say we don't have anyone close to replace him at 2nd is just inaccurate. They also just traded their "ace" for a top 30 prospect who's pretty much major league ready and will most likely end up at 2nd.

There is no such thing as an underrated player to major league front offices. The statistics I listed above justify that over a 3 year sample size, all public information.. Underrated in terms of popularity amongst fans? maybe I guess.

This is a big picture trade to benefit the growth of the organization in the long run. Having a power hitting 2nd basemen is a luxury for a playoff contender, not a rebuilding club.

Underrated players are the players that their stats don't relate to their potential for some reason or another. Many players get overlooked by management because of it and of no or negative media hype. Much like overrated players which get the good trades.

FO said we are not in rebuilding. We are not set up for this mode.

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I was hoping we might sign one of those shortstops but looking at those price tags, I've lost hope. Just give Buxton an extension instead.

This article has changed my mind on Polanco. Now I think we should move him back to SS, instead of trading him or keeping him at 2B. Not ideal, but we have no SS for next year or maybe even the next few depending on how Lewis pans out. But we do have Arraez, Gordon, Martin, Miranda, Lewis as options at 2B.

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I have three people on my Please Do Not Trade list. Polanco is one (the others being Byron Buxton and Mitch Garver). We absolutely cannot afford to lose him at 2B. I love Arraez as much as the next Twins fan, but he's not a defensive superstar. He's a soft-contact, high OBP hitter. We shouldn't be so focused on pitching that we also trade away all our defensive and offensive strength. Polanco was our strongest asset in the infield this year by a healthy margin, and if they do consider a trade, they're going to want a big, big return. 

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13 hours ago, the_neds said:

I have three people on my Please Do Not Trade list. Polanco is one (the others being Byron Buxton and Mitch Garver). We absolutely cannot afford to lose him at 2B. I love Arraez as much as the next Twins fan, but he's not a defensive superstar. He's a soft-contact, high OBP hitter. We shouldn't be so focused on pitching that we also trade away all our defensive and offensive strength. Polanco was our strongest asset in the infield this year by a healthy margin, and if they do consider a trade, they're going to want a big, big return. 

Buxton and Garver could very well be moved

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The Twins need to trade. But who actually ahs real top-notch value. Who are the guys another team will pick up the phone and make the call, rather than just receive yours. The Twins very well could've seen everyone of their top talents for use in 2022 this season. Why they didn't advance Strotman, Balazovic and Miranda is beyond me. It is questionable amongst names like Winder, Duran, Sands, Enlow, Lewis, maybe Gore and a couple of AAA outfielders, that you will see much action on the field from raw talent unless the Twins totally tank out of April/May and go total rebuild mode.

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