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A great problem


Doc Munson

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While it is still quite early and anything can happen for good or for bad, it looks like the Twins will be contending all year long.

We have a potntial great problem to have. Is Lewis Legit? and if so what do we do there?

The Twins will need pitching help along the way, as mentioned before our rotation consists of either unproven pitchers or reclamation projects with nearly all of them coming off of year(s) with very low innings. With Paddack already out for the season, Bundy struggling, we already have two holes to fill. Archer is still on a pitch count, and Baily missing time with a hammy.. 

Ryan has been solid, and Winder has done quite well filling in, We do have more young guys who could help fill in, but do we try and contend with young inexperienced pitchers?

On the offensive side,,,

Sano has been an even bigger dissapointment and then got injured, Kiriloff so far has not translated, Larnach started hitting well before going on the shelf temporarily, Buxton has been a stud, but again misses time. Correa started slowly, but has been coming on before getting hit in the hand by TWO pitches and going on DL.

 

So what do the Twins do if we are actually contending, yet have a lot of holes to fill?

Would it be borderline blasphemous  to suggest trading Correa?

Lets say Correa comes back and plays at MVP Correa level, do you trade him or run out the season with him?

Yes he has said he would like to stay, but what else is he going to say right after signing a deal with opt outs after each year? 

It is a small sample size, but is Royce Lewis the real deal? could he be a viable future SS?

Let's take a look at a best case scenario. The Twins are contending and Correa is playing very well. To me the best move i to actually trade Correa at the deadline. What can we leverage from our 1/2 season of Correa?

Take a look at some contenders who could use an upgrade at SS.

Cardinals: Would the Cardinals give up their top prospect in Jordan Walker for Correa?  IF they would, then we should jump at that even if we need to actually ADD to the deal. Jordan Walker at 3B and Miranda at 1B for the future???

Yankees: Yes they have Kiner (from us), and he is playing OK, and yes they have "cant miss" prospects like Volpe and Peraza at AA & AAA, but they are both actually "missing" this year. They are on pace for 122 wins, so do they NEED an upgrade? What if the Twins would get a package of Jasson Dominguez and Luis Gil? Dominguez more of a project than Walker but has MASSIVE potential.

Lets say you think Lewis is the real deal. I would love to hear opinions on what you do with Correa this year. DO you trade him? if so to who and for what? Do you keep him and demote Lewis back to AAA for the season? or move Lewis to a new position?

Let me here your thoughts on the one truly intriguing position decision for the Twins.

 

 

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I believe Correa has a no trade clause, so trading him isn't that simple. We still have holes in left and first base. Can Lewis play either? I've been under the belief that we keep drafting SS because they have the athleticism to play elsewhere. Keep them both is my thought.

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If we're in the hunt I don't see any world where we trade Correa.

Lewis does look like the real-deal, but he's untested and a rookie. I'd be much happier with him moving to a utility role and letting Gordon go via trade. I would also accept just sending Royce down if he starts to slump at all so he can guarantee regular playing time. He is a rookie with minor league options, which Gordon is out of. With the Saints so close to Target Field I feel like this is more viable today than it would've been when before the minor league restructure.

We have to remember that it's very common to rookies to slump once the league starts to adjust to you, and it's not uncommon for high-end prospects who flourished in their rookie year to get sent back down to AAA their sophomore year, or earlier. Think Trevor Larnach last year, Akil Baddoo just got sent down because he was struggling after his strong rookie year, and even Johan Santana got sent down in 2002, perfected his changeup, and became the well-known ace Twins fans love.

The TL;DR is I don't really love any potential trade that doesn't involve us getting a bonified top-of-the rotation starter that will contribute now, and I just don't see the Yankees being that fit. And any trade that includes Correa leaving a contending Twins team is indeed blasphemous.

On the other hand with the Reds playing so abysmally the Twins should be doing everything in their power to pry away Mahle, and/or Castillo in my opinion.

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Carlos Correa is not the odd man out here.   I think he is sincere in wanting to  work out a longer term deal. Royce Lewis can move to 3rd Base.  
The  odd men out are Miguel Sano (unless he proves his worth as a DH, after a stint on the 60 Day - but time is running out for the big guy) and Gio Urshela, who is a capable major league player, but the Twinshave too many better options (sorry Gio).  

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2 hours ago, The Mad King said:

I believe Correa has a no trade clause, so trading him isn't that simple. We still have holes in left and first base. Can Lewis play either? I've been under the belief that we keep drafting SS because they have the athleticism to play elsewhere. Keep them both is my thought.

He has a limited NTC until next year when it becomes full. I don't see any reason why he cannot play LF or 1B at replacement level at the very least. He's athletic enough to be an upgrade over Luis Arraez. Gets on base less, slugs more, and plays better defense. Typing this out, I now think us moving Arraez is a very real possibility if Lewis keeps this up. To the A's or Reds perhaps?🤔

 

57 minutes ago, strumdatjag said:

 The  odd men out are Miguel Sano (unless he proves his worth as a DH, after a stint on the 60 Day - but time is running out for the big guy) and Gio Urshela, who is a capable major league player, but the Twinshave too many better options (sorry Gio).  

I think the Twins should release Sano and eat his contract a la Justin Upton. What to do with Gio is a headscratcher for me. Trade him? But for what? I don't see us getting a fantastic return for him unless we include either high end prospects, or MLB ready prospects. He's out of options (not like we'd send him down anyways) and he has above average defense at 3B. I like Gio and have no issue on keeping him, but it does present a challenge with Lewis up and performing.

Good problem to have, eh?

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At this point I would give Lewis time at 3B, LF. Platoon some with Urshala maybe trying some 1B rotation with Arraez. Miranda will probably be sent down to get his groove back anyway.

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I like Urshella's glove at third, that's why I say left or first. And yeah, as much as we all want to see Miranda after tearing up AAA last year, he still doesn't seem ready and wasn't really killing AAA so much this year anyways. 

And as for Sano - yeah it's time to cut our loss there. If they can stay in contention without him in the lineup... He isn't really needed that much anyways.

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I would say if Correa comes back and does fine, do not trade him.  Explore a LT contract (not more than five years) with him and if reasonable keep him and find another spot for Lewis.  If Correa wants the big 10-year contract, then trade him if you can or just let him walk after he uses is opt out.  We got him for nothing so nothing lost.

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1 hour ago, The Mad King said:

I like Urshella's glove at third, that's why I say left or first. And yeah, as much as we all want to see Miranda after tearing up AAA last year, he still doesn't seem ready and wasn't really killing AAA so much this year anyways. 

And as for Sano - yeah it's time to cut our loss there. If they can stay in contention without him in the lineup... He isn't really needed that much anyways.

This is true I forgot about Miranda. An OPS+ of just 13 with meh defense definitely won't cut it here. I would argue that we've already proven that we can stay competitive without Sano We've got Arraez, Kirilloff, and Miranda who have some experience at 1B. Lewis can slot in if needed, and after showing his versatility, I wouldn't be opposed to Nick Gordon over there either. With how careful we're being with Buxton, we can't afford a dedicated DH. 

 

I do think we're forgetting Trevor Larnach and how he's tearing the cover off the ball this year so far. I would pencil him in as our starting LF once he comes back from his oblique strain. I could see him DHing when Buxton is in CF, so we can get Lewis some reps in at LF.

There's no such thing as too much depth. Right?

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Great post.  Let’s throw a wrench in the discussion with a couple of questions:

1. Is Lewis a long term above average fielding SS and/or 3B?

2. Can we actually sign Correa to a long term deal?

Note: this is all about producing the best team in ‘23 and beyond. Let’s not get sucked into thinking quite yet that this team is ready to contend this year and we’d be willing to sacrifice the future to try to prove it (call me in two months; I’m just not there yet).

If the answers are yes and yes, you move Urshela for whatever we can get and a bit of salary relief. Your 2023-2024 infield is Lewis (3B), Correa (SS), Polanco (2B), Arraez/Miranda/Kiriloff (1B/DH), and Gordon (Utility).  That is a long term contending infield and the best case scenario.

If the answers are no and no, then you trade Correa and shoe horn Lewis into SS (he’s clearly passable) until a better option comes along. Keep Urshela for the time being to strengthen the left side. But, sadly, Correa’s value needs to be monetized. This is the worst case.

If the answers are yes and no, you trade Correa and maybe Urshela too (depending how you feel about Miranda at 3B and Kiriloff at 1B), but maybe not until mid ‘23.  This is the young, cheap infield case and probably the most likely, and still very attractive, scenario.

If the answers are no and yes, you might actually move Kepler as Lewis is probably your RF of the future.  Don’t fret everyone - with Larnach proving his mettle, Celestino demonstrating he’s a major leaguer, and Martin on the way, we have four great potential outfielders surrounding Buxton and all are on minimum salary. This is the second best scenario as we keep Correa and Lewis in the lineup everyday. Still might move Urshela as well.

Lewis is uber talented and a tremendous young man. He needs to be a Twin for a long, long time. He is the heir apparent to Buxton in terms of team leadership. Hopefully we can keep Correa too, because any lineup with a core of Buxton, Correa and Lewis has a good chance to be a winner.

 

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Royce Lewis will determine whether he plays MLB or gets sent down when Correa returns from the IL. If he hits line drives, takes some walks, and limits the strikeouts, he will stay in the lineup. Lewis is too athletic to sit. 

Correa is a vastly superior shortstop. Lewis has done just fine but he will also adjust easily to third base. He has prior experience there and is pretty quick. Urshela has done a fair job at 3B and he fits in a platoon with Arraez at 1B. A number of players can also rotate through the DH position. DH doesn't need to be a catcher. Whoever is hot fits. LF becomes a little tricky, depending on how Trevor Larnach returns from the IL. Celestino has shown steady improvement and proven that he can adapt to better pitching. While I much prefer superior defense in the field, there are going to be times when the Twins roll with a hitter with less range in LF and at 1B. The Twins can live with Larnach in LF and Arraez at 1B as long as they can hit and consistently provide good at bats. 

I echo the comment by Wabene - Polanco just plays and plays and plays; he is the rock of the team.

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If the Twins are in contention, and you want them to keep contending, forget any Correa trade. He won't want it, no contending team is going to give up the major league starters it would take to keep the Twins contending (because the Twins will be immediately worse after the trade), so the Twins won't want it either. You might trade someone else on the MLB roster, or more likely have to trade our own prospects. But not Correa. Because that make the team worse.

If the Twins are out of contention, then a trade becomes more plausible. Correa would agree (maybe) to a trade from a non-contender to a contender. The Twins would agree to get worse in the short run to be better in the long run (but only if not contending). The trading partner would likely agree to surrendering prospects to get a piece that could deliver a championship now. 

But the return isn't going to be 'move the world' big for a half season; nobody's coughing up their top prospect.

If Royce is hitting .320, you probably find a way to keep him up here, but otherwise you send him down to keep getting tons of games at shortstop, then call him back up in late August to help with the season end push. Because he will need to be the regular starter at short next season; Correa isn't coming back. (Twins aren't doing a 8-10 year deal, and if Correa keeps playing well, he can't afford to do the year-to-year thing and potentially lose over $100 million if something happens to him.)

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Correa would have to be hitting huge for another team to even think about his deal...plus that he COULD walk or stay. At any point, if he walks, you can just try and get him yourself the next season. But, yes, if the Twins are contending, you don't want to make other teams better!

 

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20 hours ago, RpR said:

Most seem certain Correa will not stay, but then they also thought there was no way he would come here, amazing.

It is too soon to speculate. He would have to get at least a multi-year offer bigger than the remaining two years of his Twins offer. Will he get a 7 year deal for that aveage amount (with, of course, opt outs). Will he be ignored? 

The joy of the Twins making this possible one-time over-pay run on a quality player is that Correa HAS to produce if he wants to make money. Which is good for the team that is currently playing him. Like players in their free agency walk year, they need to be better than best IN THE BIG MONEY HUNT. 

The kicker is that Corea could tank (or be injured) and the Twins would be on the bubble for at least another year.

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