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One Buy Low Candidate to Solve Minnesota’s Shortstop Need


I often get frustrated with the discussion here. The Twins need to get good players, not just get a bargain price for a player. It reminds me of my Scandinavian farmer relatives. They love to go to auctions and get "good deals". Then they end up with two sheds filled with junk nobody else wants. One of them is building a new shed to store some more of these auction treasures.

This team has the resources to run a $150M payroll. They play in one of the easiest divisions in baseball. Do they want to win in the playoffs or try to be the cheapest 85 win team in the major leagues? Do the fans want to see a team that wins a playoff series or a team that contends for the Wild Card until the end of September as long as nobody is a big showoff making lots of money?

They desperately need a shortstop and the free agent market is full of them.

 

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It’s interesting that so many experts replying here have already decided that Martin and Lewis are not shortstops. I know that they have been moved around to other positions. And Lewis’ injury was a major setback in his evaluation. But unless the Twins actually make a public statement that neither player will be playing shortstop, I will stay optimistic that one or both can play there. 
 

That said I wouldn’t make the trade Kepler for Torres trade. You only do that if it is a true upgrade at shortstop and Torres is apparently not that. As a stopgap Polanco back to short and Arraez to second for next year makes sense if no short term solution is available. That give another year to evaluate Lewis and Martin defensively. 

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11 minutes ago, Otaknam said:

It’s interesting that so many experts replying here have already decided that Martin and Lewis are not shortstops. I know that they have been moved around to other positions. And Lewis’ injury was a major setback in his evaluation. But unless the Twins actually make a public statement that neither player will be playing shortstop, I will stay optimistic that one or both can play there. 

I haven't been following baseball for very long, but one thing I've picked up on is that if you talk about a shortstop, somebody always has to assert that they're not really a shortstop.

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2 hours ago, DJL44 said:

A 750 OPS is roughly a 110 OPS+. The Twins would be THRILLED to have that production at SS right now. Coupled with his above average defense you get a a 3 WAR SS (and you're being intentionally pessimistic).

This thread isn't about Story so this isn't the hill I want to die on, but I quoted his road OPS.  That's not where I would invest that kind of money.

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11 minutes ago, ashbury said:

This thread isn't about Story so this isn't the hill I want to die on, but I quoted his road OPS.  That's not where I would invest that kind of money.

I’d rather that than Baez and his 300’ish lifetime OBP.

Or Torres who is another Polanco, a 2B who isn’t a good SS.

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1 hour ago, Otaknam said:

It’s interesting that so many experts replying here have already decided that Martin and Lewis are not shortstops. I know that they have been moved around to other positions. And Lewis’ injury was a major setback in his evaluation. But unless the Twins actually make a public statement that neither player will be playing shortstop, I will stay optimistic that one or both can play there. 
 

That said I wouldn’t make the trade Kepler for Torres trade. You only do that if it is a true upgrade at shortstop and Torres is apparently not that. As a stopgap Polanco back to short and Arraez to second for next year makes sense if no short term solution is available. That give another year to evaluate Lewis and Martin defensively. 

Martin doesn't have the range or the arm to be be a good MLB stortstop. That's what's widely reported. It's not the members who are making the determination out of thin air, but opinions based on many scouting reports. Based on his physical skillset, he's probably best as a second baseman; however, I expect the Twins are working diligently to identify any mechanics they can change which might help him gain another mph or two on his throws or a way to improve his jump. They'll need to find something if he's going to be at SS/CF.

In regard to Lewis, he does have the range and arm for shortstop. It remains to be seen if he has the glove for it or if he can hit well enough to justify a 26 man roster spot on an MLB team. His last competitive professional play at shorstop was awfully rough with a consistently poor error rate across multiple levels and years from 2017-2019. His defense is secondary though. There are major issues with his swing, including an enormous and early leg kick which dramatically complicates his timing at the plate. Lewis not only has to time the pitch, but he also must adjust to the timing of the pitcher's windup. Lewis has outstanding physical abilities (assuming he returns from surgery at 100%) and by all accounts, he has a fantastic attitude and work ethic. He's a guy everybody wants to see succeed, but the numbers keep staring back suggesting there's a problem.

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Honestly, if the Twins want a cheap, relatively short contract with a player who has utility and the arm to play SS, they should sign Eduardo Escobar and put him back at SS. His sprint speed and jump all look good enough to play SS adequately and he has the arm strength for it. He turns 33 in January next year and I expect a 2-3 year contract will get him at a price around where he's currently being paid. Escobar playing 3B has more to do with teams he's played at not needing a SS than Escobar being unable to handle the position.

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3 hours ago, Otaknam said:

It’s interesting that so many experts replying here have already decided that Martin and Lewis are not shortstops. I know that they have been moved around to other positions. And Lewis’ injury was a major setback in his evaluation. But unless the Twins actually make a public statement that neither player will be playing shortstop, I will stay optimistic that one or both can play there. 
 

That said I wouldn’t make the trade Kepler for Torres trade. You only do that if it is a true upgrade at shortstop and Torres is apparently not that. As a stopgap Polanco back to short and Arraez to second for next year makes sense if no short term solution is available. That give another year to evaluate Lewis and Martin defensively. 

We already have the stopgap SS, and moving Polanco and Arraez around, again, isn't the answer.  We need a stable infield, not a fluctuating one that moves every time a contract comes up or a player is signed and we put him in a position we already have filled.  We have played enough musical chairs with this team, both in the field and in our day to day lineups.  Find players you trust, put them in a position to excel, put them in a batting order that makes sense, and trust them to play the game.  And if you don't believe in that, explain why; maybe it is me that is KaKa. 

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I don't like the idea of trading for a player who can't play SS well.

I like the idea of Swanson, but that's really only an option if Atlanta signs a top SS...

What about Miguel Rojas? 32, one year vesting option (which will vest in the next game or two), 3 WAR this year with 102 wRC+, 8.6 UZR/150 and 5 DRS in 2021.  Although after looking further, it appears he wants to finish his playing career with the Marlins.  Defense might be declining too.

I'm guessing Nicky Lopez would be a bit far fetched.

Kevin Newman? His offense stinks this year, but defense looks solid this year? Also, since July 24th, he has looked a lot better with 95 wRC+ and 736 OPS.  (Lateral movement has been positive this year vs. negative previous years.) 

Nick Ahmed? He's had a down offensive year, but has typically been slightly below average at offense and solid defense. It seems like he has similar advanced offensive stats except that his barrel and hard hit % is down, 

I think my main takeaway after looking at shortstops around the league is there are either the stars (either signed or FAs) or the dart throws with the occasional younger SS that a team is hopeful for.

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On 9/15/2021 at 9:09 AM, roger said:

Have no interest in trading with the Yankees as they usually don't work out well for the Twins.  

Also, have no interest investing prospects to solve the shortstop question which should take care of itself a year later when Lewis/Martin should be ready.  Would rather see them do:  A) nothing, with Polo/Gordon/Arraez manning the middle infield spots; or .B) signing a veteran to a one year contract.

I agree that Polanco, Gordon and Arraez could fill the bill and Drew Maggi has had a fine season. I would be amenable to having Gordon play the majority of games at 2B. Ironically Arraez’s best position is 3B but with Donaldson increasingly brittle, that could work out. I’m probably in the minority but think Polanco could go back to SS. After all Twins won 101 games with him at SS in 2019. Miranda also is pounding on the MLB door!

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8 hours ago, TopGunn#22 said:

I just shake my head at the "approach" many Twins hitters have at the plate.  And by that, I mean they DON'T seem to have any approach.  Kepler is a prime example.  The Twins need a new hitting coach in the worst way.  I'm not saying that will "solve everything" but it's obvious to me the current coach is not up to the task.  I agree with Doc that the offense has the "potential" to be fine next year and the primary focus HAS to be on pitching.  That said, a different hitting coach would help with the current talent that needs "improvement" that being Kepler, Sano (who has been better these last 4-6 weeks) Garver, Kiriloff and Larnach.  I do think a steady vet SS like Iglesias or Galvis as a bridge to Lewis/Martin or whoever,  is a good idea as well as a 4th OF'er who bats RH.  Those are minor moves but should be "on the list."  I like the fact that Torres was suggested.  It makes for a good conversation.  But I would vote "No" as well.  We need a glove at SS and that's not Gleybor.   

I 100% agree, the Twins need a new hitting coach with a very different approach! Last week the opposing pitcher throws 49 in the first inning, rather than taking pitches the next few innings to get him out and burn a relief pitcher which helps the next game, them start swinging at the first pitch and the guy goes 6 innings! Maybe I am old school but it seams to me that part of winning is hurting the other teams chances in the future game by burning their pitching staff!

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Here's another angle. Would you rather the Twins obtained, this offseason, Torres, who has been considered stretched at shortstop for several years and will cost one or more players in trade, or José Iglesias, who was considered a plus-glove SS for years before a sudden decline on defense that led the Angels to release him this year, and who will cost only money to sign?

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5 minutes ago, whosafraidofluigirussolo said:

Here's another angle. Would you rather the Twins obtained, this offseason, Torres, who has been considered stretched at shortstop for several years and will cost one or more players in trade, or José Iglesias, who was considered a plus-glove SS for years before a sudden decline on defense that led the Angels to release him this year, and who will cost only money to sign?

Keep Simmons.

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9 hours ago, bean5302 said:

Honestly, if the Twins want a cheap, relatively short contract with a player who has utility and the arm to play SS, they should sign Eduardo Escobar and put him back at SS. His sprint speed and jump all look good enough to play SS adequately and he has the arm strength for it. He turns 33 in January next year and I expect a 2-3 year contract will get him at a price around where he's currently being paid. Escobar playing 3B has more to do with teams he's played at not needing a SS than Escobar being unable to handle the position.

Not buying this. Escobar couldn’t take the shortstop job from Polanco when Escobar was 27-28…he’s certainly not going to do it at 33. Here are the SS’s that have played the position for Escobar’s teams in the last three years…Nick Ahmed and Willie Adames. Adames is currently injured, and the Brewers responded by moving Luis Arias back over to short. Zero games for Escobar at short for the Brewers despite the injuries…but 9 at first base.

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Just one question…

Do the Yankees need Kepler to take Aaron Judge’s spot in the lineup or Joey Gallo’s?…or Giancarlo Stanton’s or Luke Voit’s or DJ LeMahieu’s, or maybe the returning Aaron Hick’s??

Can’t think of a less motivated team, maybe ever, to go after a 100-105 ish OPS+ corner outfielder that can sorta spot in center and maybe possibly play first or DH.

The Yankees interest in Twins (position players with the MLB club) probably begins with Buxton and ends with Donaldson…both risks. Buxton for the possibilities, and Donaldson because they’re ‘weak’ at 3rd. Maybe Arraez to bolster the 3B rotation and utility role.

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5 hours ago, jkcarew said:

Not buying this. Escobar couldn’t take the shortstop job from Polanco when Escobar was 27-28…he’s certainly not going to do it at 33. Here are the SS’s that have played the position for Escobar’s teams in the last three years…Nick Ahmed and Willie Adames. Adames is currently injured, and the Brewers responded by moving Luis Arias back over to short. Zero games for Escobar at short for the Brewers despite the injuries…but 9 at first base.

The numbers have consistently shown Escobar to be an average fielding shortstop. His sprint speed hasn't changed, his 90 foot times haven't changed, his arm is still strong and his lateral movement is still good enough. There's no reason for me to believe he couldn't play SS at a similar level to where he was a few years ago. As a career 2.4 UZR/150 shortstop, even if Escobar declined a bit, he'd still be a massive improvement over somebody like Polanco and likely just as good as Simmons' -2.2 UZR/150 performance this year as well.

Ultimately, Escobar was an All Star this year at 3B and he's been productive at the hot corner, which is the position he was signed to play. The Diamondbacks had a GG, team built, 4 WAR shortstop (Ahmed). The Brewers have an All Star caliber shortstop (Adames) and a young, team controlled light hitting utility player (Urias) who's bat plays the best at shortstop. They don't need Escobar to move to SS to cover the position, and honestly, I can't fathom a reason why the Brewers would want to prove Escobar can play SS.

In regard to the Twins, they mishandled Escobar since they got him. The played Florimon over Escobar, then Santana. By the time Polanco came along, Escobar was used primarily as a super utility player and Polanco's arm was already over-taxed at SS. Escobar stayed at 3B because Polanco couldn't handle it.

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On 9/17/2021 at 1:57 AM, bean5302 said:

The numbers have consistently shown Escobar to be an average fielding shortstop. His sprint speed hasn't changed, his 90 foot times haven't changed, his arm is still strong and his lateral movement is still good enough. There's no reason for me to believe he couldn't play SS at a similar level to where he was a few years ago. As a career 2.4 UZR/150 shortstop, even if Escobar declined a bit, he'd still be a massive improvement over somebody like Polanco and likely just as good as Simmons' -2.2 UZR/150 performance this year as well.

Ultimately, Escobar was an All Star this year at 3B and he's been productive at the hot corner, which is the position he was signed to play. The Diamondbacks had a GG, team built, 4 WAR shortstop (Ahmed). The Brewers have an All Star caliber shortstop (Adames) and a young, team controlled light hitting utility player (Urias) who's bat plays the best at shortstop. They don't need Escobar to move to SS to cover the position, and honestly, I can't fathom a reason why the Brewers would want to prove Escobar can play SS.

In regard to the Twins, they mishandled Escobar since they got him. The played Florimon over Escobar, then Santana. By the time Polanco came along, Escobar was used primarily as a super utility player and Polanco's arm was already over-taxed at SS. Escobar stayed at 3B because Polanco couldn't handle it.

Yes, Escobar’s had a great year. Yes, he’s a good guy to have around.

But he’s not going to be anyone’s every day shortstop, no matter what defensive metrics might (erroneously) say.

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On 9/17/2021 at 1:57 AM, bean5302 said:

The numbers have consistently shown Escobar to be an average fielding shortstop. His sprint speed hasn't changed, his 90 foot times haven't changed, his arm is still strong and his lateral movement is still good enough. There's no reason for me to believe he couldn't play SS at a similar level to where he was a few years ago.

I'm going to guess he can't turn the pivot on the double play anymore.

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2 hours ago, DJL44 said:

I'm going to guess he can't turn the pivot on the double play anymore.

Why do you feel that way? It's possible you may be right, there just isn't any data I can point to which suggests he's declined much physically since his early years in the big show.

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I don’t know if it is this deal but this is the kind of buy low trade the Twins front office needs to find and win. The kind of trade where most on the outside will reject. They need to be better than other teams at capturing the upside of players like Torres.

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