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Is Jorge Polanco the Twins' Most Valuable Trade Asset?


Jorge Polanco is coming off a tremendous season, and he is under team control through 2025. Should the Twins trade one of the organization's most valuable trade assets?

Jorge Polanco was named the Twins Daily MVP, and he showed that his ankle issues might be in the rearview mirror. Now Minnesota is facing an uncertain future after losing nearly 90-games. The organization needs to add pitching depth, and trading for players might be the team's best avenue for acquiring MLB-ready talent. 

Polanco is in the midst of a very team-friendly contract, which can keep him under team control for the next four seasons. At the end of the deal, he will be 31-years-old, and most of the prime of his career will be over. This cost certainty can be valuable, especially with his skills on both sides of the ball. During the 2021 season, he posted career highs in OPS+, slugging percentage, and home runs. 

Leading into the trade deadline, FanGraphs formulates an annual ranking of baseball's most valuable trade assets. Polanco had ranked as the 38th most valuable trade asset leading into the 2020 deadline, but he dropped off their list this season. Previously, he had been higher because his 2019 season was so strong, but he had ankle issues for two consecutive off-seasons. 

FanGraphs made it clear why Polanco dropped off the list in 2021. "The cutoff between Top 50 and Honorable Mention is more art than science. Polanco is an even more tenuous fit in this category, but we had to put him somewhere. His bonkers 2019 appears to be more outlier than true talent level, and his contract is solid but hardly an overwhelming bargain."

Since that article ran, Polanco ended the year on a tear. He hit .289/.330/.598 (.928) with 21 home runs and 17 doubles in 67 games. According to FanGraphs, he was worth $31.4 million this season. Over the next four seasons, the most his contract can be worth is $35.5 million. His contract seems much more like an overwhelming bargain at season's end than it did at the trade deadline. 

His defensive value may be one of the more surprising aspects of Polanco's game. His switch to second base moved him from a below-average defender to one of the best defensive players at his position. During his last two seasons at shortstop, he posted negative totals according to SABR's Defensive Index. At the end of August, Polanco ranked as the AL's third-best defensive second baseman, which gives him a chance to be a Gold Glove finalist. His defensive improvement adds another layer to his overall trade value. 

Trading Polanco also opens up the possibility of other infield options. Royce Lewis and Austin Martin, the team's top-2 prospects, have both played shortstop in the minors, but there are questions about their long-term defensive position. This off-season, there is arguably the best free-agent shortstop class in baseball history. Minnesota can attempt to sign one of these players and plan on Lewis or Martin playing second base at the big-league level. 

Minnesota doesn't need to be in a hurry to deal Polanco, but his trade value may never be higher. He is coming off a career year, and Minnesota has needs to fill. Trading Polanco might be the team's best opportunity to add the most value this winter. 

Do you think the Twins should trade Polanco? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. 

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No, We need his bat, he hits HRs, but he also gets other hits something that is lacking for many of our batters.  As I watch the post season I have loved to see players get well placed hits against the shift.  That is true baseball.  Polanco has bat control and is a player I am happy to see come to bat. 

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Considering the contract and the way Polanco responded to better health with a fantastic 2021 season, the Twins would need to get back quite a haul. His at bats are generally tough for the pitcher and he could easily maintain his production throughout the length of his contract. My sheet always includes Jorge Polanco at 2B, but the Twins might find a trade possible if another team offers the right collection of talent. I have not thought about what a Polanco trade would generate because I'm keeping him.

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Probably.  However, I don't think this is the right question.  Is trading him the best way to build a contender and how long will that take.  That's the right question.  Polanco is really important to this lineup.  Yes, we could go with Arraez at 2B which is his best defensive position.  One of them should be traded, IMO.  If it's Polanco, it needs to be a big haul.  Otherwise, trade Arraez a part of a trade to get a SS or pitching.  Trading Polanco extends the time it takes us tom get back in contention.  We have a very good chance of ending 2022 with a pitching staff that is homegrown.  Extend Buxton and establish this homegrown staff and we have a great shot at contention for several years.  

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Of coarse he's our most valuable trading chip because he's our MVP, he did it all, was under paid and was durable. But should we? The answer is absolute NOT.

 1st reason is he's still underrated because he's finally just recovering physically from his bout at SS and this was his 1st year return to 2B (Being 3rd defensively at 2B is amazing). As he continues at 2B and proceed to get completely well and find his groove, he'll regain his prowess (offensively and defensively), fulfilling his potential by becoming a MVP. Ever increasing his worth to us which is irreplaceable.

2nd reason is by trading Polanco we are stating we are rebuilding. Then we are committed to trade away all our underrated valuable core players (Polanco, Buxton, Kepler, Garver and Donaldson). And let's throw in Sano, we won't come close to get what they are worth. This will cause a large influx of prospects, flooding our roster. We have already a serious 40 man roster crunch, losing valuable undeveloped CF and pitching prospects via waivers. (I've stated this for a while now). Now multiply that by the wave of new prospects, this is irresponsible and impractical.

Our problems this year weren't due to the players where we need to get rid of the core and rebuild. It was due to management. I give them credit for removing Polanco at SS and getting a real SS. But I do fault them for not going out and trading for very good starters and closer that were bargains, instead dumpster diving FAs. Also how they mismanaged LF and CF subbing, relying on a weak rotation and failing BP. To name a few. Many blame injuries, good management allows for this by providing quality depth. Chicago had more serious injury problems from the beginning of the season but still handily won the division. I could go on.

Since our management is returning, our only hope is that they transform their mindsets. If not and they choose to rebuild. They would have appropriately selected the right uniform (to commemerate the '91 WS win) to usher in the new "Twinkie Era". UGH!

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Polanco’ s value to another team is how much better is he than what they have.  A team is not going to give up a haul to marginally improve.  The Giants might be the only contending team short a 2B. Why would a rebuilding team trade multiples of the building assets for a player? It is hard to deal when there isn’t a market

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1 hour ago, old nurse said:

Polanco’ s value to another team is how much better is he than what they have.  A team is not going to give up a haul to marginally improve.  The Giants might be the only contending team short a 2B. Why would a rebuilding team trade multiples of the building assets for a player? It is hard to deal when there isn’t a market

 

Giants, Mariners, Marlins, Blue Jays potentially ... If a contending team were to add Polanco, 90% would improve significantly. Check out WAR .. and literally any other stats with 2nd basemen around the league. You'll get a haul.

Posted about this topic last week, check it out!

 

 

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19 minutes ago, Tim said:

Giants, Mariners, Marlins, Blue Jays potentially ... If a contending team were to add Polanco, 90% would improve significantly. Check out WAR .. and literally any other stats with 2nd basemen around the league. You'll get a haul.

Posted about this topic last week, check it out!

 

 

The Mariners have prospect for the position, the Marlins still are not close.  A 4 war position player is a good thing, but not a haul.

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Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo ! Just NO ! I do not want to build a team this way. As Cuba Goodin said : "Show me the money, Jerry !"  Just spend the money and keep and reward the good players and sign some really good FA pitchers. Please. And start promoting players while they are younger. What more does Miranda need to do to get promoted?  Get some more hitters, and jettison those hitters who are strikeout artists. Throw the ball hard and accurately, hit the ball where they ain't, catch the ball. It's not that complicated. Damn. 

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1 hour ago, old nurse said:

The Mariners have prospect for the position, the Marlins still are not close.  A 4 war position player is a good thing, but not a haul.

a 4 WAR power hitting 2nd basemen with 4 years of team control left at an avg of about 8 mil a year will with out a question get you a haul.

Mariners do not have a prospect for the position. Like none, not sure where you got that.

Marlins ownership has expressed their desire to win now and will likely shift Jazz to short. Surplus of young pitching to deal from.

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They should listen to offers, because his value is high but not feel obligated to trade him out of desire to sell high. All depends on what the return offered is.

They should also remain open to moving him back to SS if they can't land a top SS FA. We have a lot of talent that could benefit from opening 2nd base up.

No way they should trade him before the SS position is filled.

The only answer right now to the question should they trade him, is, "depends".

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As mentioned above, All Star caliber 2nd baseman with several years of cheap team control are extremely valuable. Teams looking to compete aren't counting on "prospects" to carry them. Prospects are played during the initial phases of building to find out what holes teams need to fill and teams expecting to contend aren't in initial build phases.

Baseballtradevalues lists Polanco at #1  by a country mile in terms of Twins assets, which probably says more about the Twins than it does about Polanco, but Polanco still ranks as the 78th most trade valuable player in all of MLB right now on that site.

Should the Twins trade Polanco? I'd say no, unless they're rebuilding. What's he worth? A Royce Lewis and Simeon Woods-Richardson type combined, plus a sweetener.

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2 minutes ago, bean5302 said:

As mentioned above, All Star caliber 2nd baseman with several years of cheap team control are extremely valuable. Teams looking to compete aren't counting on "prospects" to carry them. Prospects are played during the initial phases of building to find out what holes teams need to fill and teams expecting to contend aren't in initial build phases.

Baseballtradevalues lists Polanco at #1  by a country mile in terms of Twins assets, which probably says more about the Twins than it does about Polanco, but Polanco still ranks as the 78th most trade valuable player in all of MLB right now on that site.

Should the Twins trade Polanco? I'd say no, unless they're rebuilding. What's he worth? A Royce Lewis and Simeon Woods-Richardson type combined, plus a sweetener.

This.

You are spot on, I actually think that Baseballtradevalues has him slightly lower than what he should be.

He would bring back a bigger return than Berrios IMO

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You need offense and pitching. But how do you get better by trading one of your very best players? You don't unless you are rebuilding. And the Twins don't need to rebuild, they need to re-tool, and even management has been clear on this.

The Twins can add pitching via FA. They can also trade from within their system, possibly with the addition of a different existing player not named Polanco, to acquire a pitcher. Maeda will be back in 2023. And there are a number of high potential arms a half to full season away from adding to the staff and the pen. Young, talented and controllable arms. 

You absolutely don't trade Polanco!

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8 hours ago, Tim said:

a 4 WAR power hitting 2nd basemen with 4 years of team control left at an avg of about 8 mil a year will with out a question get you a haul.

Mariners do not have a prospect for the position. Like none, not sure where you got that.

Marlins ownership has expressed their desire to win now and will likely shift Jazz to short. Surplus of young pitching to deal from.

Like the haul they were offered for 2 years of Brian Dozier, at a time when he was productive? 

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Wow.  Great article and awesome responses.  Should they trade Polo?  Of course not.  But who knows what happens. .when you finish in last place I guess anyone is tradeable.  We need pitching.  Well we traded our best pitcher this year for "prospects". Those prospects better be good but let's wait and see if they can produce at a major league level.  Keep Polanco!

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12 hours ago, DocBauer said:

You need offense and pitching. But how do you get better by trading one of your very best players? You don't unless you are rebuilding. And the Twins don't need to rebuild, they need to re-tool, and even management has been clear on this.

The Twins can add pitching via FA. They can also trade from within their system, possibly with the addition of a different existing player not named Polanco, to acquire a pitcher. Maeda will be back in 2023. And there are a number of high potential arms a half to full season away from adding to the staff and the pen. Young, talented and controllable arms. 

You absolutely don't trade Polanco!

I only wish we had the ability to 'like' your statement twice, Doc.

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We've got a great player on an incredible contract.  That's pretty much what everyone wants - so yeah, his trade value is fantastic....but why would the Twins get rid of him? Are the Braves chomping at the bit to get rid of Ozzie Albies? No, because they have an incredible young player on a great contract. And they want to win. And to win you need incredible players.

Polanco is the Twins most valuable asset. Period.

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Random thoughts: I don’t think the Twins will or should trade Polanco, as that would signal they are rebuilding. But clearly a Polanco trade would bring in some high level talent or you don’t trade him. That said it is in their best interests to listen to trade offers on ALL of their players. Signing Buxton has to be the priority as he’s now the face of the franchise. And the last 60 games of Sano’s season makes me somewhat optimistic that he can again be a professional hitter. Also there is finally hope that there is starting pitching talent in their Minor League system. It just needs to get healthy. You can’t have too many arms.

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19 hours ago, Wax off said:

They should listen to offers, because his value is high but not feel obligated to trade him out of desire to sell high. All depends on what the return offered is.

They should also remain open to moving him back to SS if they can't land a top SS FA. We have a lot of talent that could benefit from opening 2nd base up.

No way they should trade him before the SS position is filled.

The only answer right now to the question should they trade him, is, "depends".

 

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11 hours ago, old nurse said:

Like the haul they were offered for 2 years of Brian Dozier, at a time when he was productive? 

.The Dozier era and Polanco situation are 2 fairly different things

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12 hours ago, old nurse said:

Like the haul they were offered for 2 years of Brian Dozier, at a time when he was productive? 

31 year old Dozier had 2 months of team control left, was making $9MM a year, wasn't eligible for a qualifying offer and was playing like dookie. 

So apart from 28 year old Polanco having 4 years of team control left, making $5.5MM next year, being eligible for a qualifying offer at the end of the 4 years of team control and playing at an All Star level currently, this is pretty close to the same.

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8 minutes ago, bean5302 said:

31 year old Dozier had 2 months of team control left, was making $9MM a year, wasn't eligible for a qualifying offer and was playing like dookie. 

So apart from 28 year old Polanco having 4 years of team control left, making $5.5MM next year, being eligible for a qualifying offer at the end of the 4 years of team control and playing at an All Star level currently, this is pretty close to the same.

They were looking at trading him the year before. The Dodgers went with the guy the Twins traded for the year before. . 

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