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Ranking the Top-5 Remaining Free Agent Shortstops


Some of the top free-agent shortstops have already signed, and the Minnesota Twins still have a hole at the position. Let's revisit the top-five remaining free-agent shortstop options for the Twins.

Last winter, Minnesota was rumored to be interested in infielders like Marcus Siemen and Didi Gregorious. Both players signed with other clubs, and the Twins turned to Andrelton Simmons on an $11 million deal. At the time, Minnesota touted the agreement as a way for the team to improve defensively. Simmons lived up to his defensive reputation, but he hit new career lows in many offensive categories. 

The Twins are also in an intriguing position when it comes to the shortstop position. Both of the team's top prospects, Royce Lewis and Austin Martin, have played shortstop in the minor leagues. However, neither player is guaranteed to stick at shortstop for the long term

Each of the players below is still available with the league's shutdown now at hand. Included with each player is his projected salary, according to the Twins Daily Offseason Handbook.

5. Andrelton Simmons
TD Offseason Handbook Prediction: $3 million/season

Twins fans may not want to hear it, but bringing Simmons back can make a lot of sense for the club. Offensively, he is coming off his worst big-league season, and that is going to significantly reduce his cost. His defensive skills are still near the top of the league and that might be beneficial to whomever the club has in the rotation.

4. Freddy Galvis
TD Offseason Handbook Prediction: $3 million/season

Galvis is a below-average offensive player who is coming off a career-best awful season (91 OPS+). In 104 games last season, he got on base over 30% of the time, and he collected 30 extra-base hits. Defensively, he's not at the same level as Simmons, but he can hold his own at shortstop. There are some rumblings that he may be headed to Japan, but he seems like a player that is good enough to get a big-league deal for 2022. Galvis may be a good fill-in option until Lewis or Martin is ready to take the reins. 

3. Jonathan Villar
TD Offseason Handbook Prediction: $5 million/season

Villar doesn't have the defensive chops of some of the other players on this list, but the Mets used him at shortstop for a good chunk of the 2021 campaign. Last season, he posted a 102 OPS+ with 38 extra-base hits in 142. He's better than Galvis offensively and worse on defense. Villar can be acquired on a cheaper deal than the team paid for Simmons last winter. 

2. Trevor Story
TD Offseason Handbook Prediction: $22 million/season
Story is one of the top-tier shortstops he's projected to make over $100 million this winter. Colorado surprisingly didn't trade him at last year's trade deadline and instead decided to make him the qualifying offer. Among National League shortstops, he ranked third according to SABR's Defensive Index. Story is a two-time All-Star and Silver Slugger winner that is one of the game's best shortstops. It would be great for the Twins to outbid other teams, but many large-market teams are looking for a shortstop upgrade. 

1. Carlos Correa
TD Offseason Handbook Prediction: $30 million/season

Correa is one of baseball's best players, and there's a good chance his contract will be close to $300 million. He's hitting free agency at a relatively young age (27), and his contract will lock him up for the entirety of his prime. Correa ranked as the best defender in the American League last season, and he has plenty of playoff experience. Twins fans can dream of a Correa/Polanco middle infield combo, but it doesn't seem likely for the team to allot that much money to one player for a decade. 

Do you think the Twins will be able to add any of these shortstops? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. 

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With the inability of the Twins to add SP'ing of any significance in the FA market it is probably time to sign a SS.  The best option to me is Trevor Story.  Correa ain't coming here (he's probably heading back to Houston) and the others are just filler.  Villar is a good offensive player, but I'd want a better glove at SS.  Simmons...been there, done that.  Galvis. Iglesias ?  O.K. if you'd already added Eduardo Rodriguez and Jon Gray/Michael Pineda to your pitching staff.  But if I'm the Twins and I have money to spend (which they most certainly do) I'd rather spend my money on Trevor Story than a risky Carlos Rodon.  Once I've signed Story, I can focus on where I want Lewis and Martin to eventually play, cause it ain't gonna be SS.  Story would also look pretty good hitting #3, #4, #5 in the twins lineup.  Story & Polanco up the middle with Buxton in CF is a pretty strong defensive/offensive core.  Another reason the Twins should sign Story:  They have young pitching percolating in the minors and very close to coming up.  Trade for Bassitt/Manaea type SP's to bridge to when the young pitching arrives.  Or make a BIG deal for Montas. 

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I would love Story or Correa but, alas, I cannot see a scenario where the Twins spend that much money on a shortstop, and with the current pitching staff, why would either come here unless you really outbid other teams, which the Twins have no history of doing.  The other three options do not thrill me.  I would look to the trade market as there are a number of shortstops who could be available--look at Rangers, Diamondbacks, Cardinals, etc.--at a reasonable price.  If we land one, and both Lewis and Martin end up looking good at shortstop, it would be a nice problem to have.  Also, if Yanks sign Story or Correa, they would likely make Peraza available.

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I can't see them offering anyone a multi year deal at SS.

They'll see what they have in Lewis and Martin this year. And, if they still need one next year, sign one of the great FA SS next year (not that there will be any good FA SS next year).

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This all goes right back to the budget, where we were when the World Series ended. Use $130 million.

Take the current roster (@$85-88), add suggested trades from TopGun#22 that includes Montas ($5.2) and Bassitt ($8.8), sign Pineda ($7-8), and there is still room for a 6/$120-132 million contract for Story. 

Additionally, if Story is signed the Twins could use either Martin or Lewis in a trade for the right return. 

There are options and it will be a matter of how Falvey is able to communicate with agents and others. Will the Twins take some risks via trade and a few free agent signings? Or back to the beginning - is the budget for 2022 really closer to $100 million than $130 million?

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Signing Story, then trading Lewis for a stud SP, such as Zac Gallen or Luis Castillo, may be the best path forward for this team. 

If not him, I'd rather try to swing a trade for Paul DeJong (Cardinals), Ramon Urias (Orioles), or Taylor Walls (Rays), than sign a FA.

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1 hour ago, MGM4706 said:

Doesn't matter. All the good pitching is gone so the Twins have shown they are not serious about winning . We all need to move to Detroit. Their GM has been aggressive and added quality to a good young roster while the Twins sit on their hands!!

I agree.  We whine when all the top pitching talent gets unreasonable deals.  This year it seemed that most deals were fair market rate.  Other than Scherzer, I have not thought anyone got more than they deserved.  This was the year the Twins needed to step up and make something happen.  Even walking away with Rodriguez and Stroman would have been great.  Neither were bank braking deals!

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They are sitting on a lot of cash and the good SPs are gone, why not spend it on Story? If they don't we're just going to end up with J.A. Happ and Colome type signings. We ended up with Donaldson a couple of years ago because we're trying to low ball everyone until we're forced to spend it on what's leftover after the other top players a picked through. Get F---ing agressive! Go get Story!

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I'm with @tony&rodney, it all comes back to the budget. I think the Twins are right around $90M right now. Maybe $95. Either way they absolutely should have 30+ mil left to spend. To me it's either Rodon on a 2 year, pretty high AAV deal, or it's Story. I think Pineda and a trade or 2 should be expected at this point (not expected as in I'm predicting it, but as a fan base we should expect ownership and FO to be planning to make those moves to improve).

So the question to me comes down to are you giving Rodon 20 a year for a year or 2, or are you giving Story 20 a year for 5 or 6 years. To me those are the only 2 players that fit the Twins needs and are worth a big deal. They waited out the market like they always do and now they have 2 options left. My pick would be Story to lock up the middle of the field. I'd offer him 5/100 and be willing to do 6/120 the second the lockout ends (well I would've tried to sign him to that before the lockout started).

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1 hour ago, chpettit19 said:

I'm with @tony&rodney, it all comes back to the budget. I think the Twins are right around $90M right now. Maybe $95. Either way they absolutely should have 30+ mil left to spend. To me it's either Rodon on a 2 year, pretty high AAV deal, or it's Story. I think Pineda and a trade or 2 should be expected at this point (not expected as in I'm predicting it, but as a fan base we should expect ownership and FO to be planning to make those moves to improve).

So the question to me comes down to are you giving Rodon 20 a year for a year or 2, or are you giving Story 20 a year for 5 or 6 years. To me those are the only 2 players that fit the Twins needs and are worth a big deal. They waited out the market like they always do and now they have 2 options left. My pick would be Story to lock up the middle of the field. I'd offer him 5/100 and be willing to do 6/120 the second the lockout ends (well I would've tried to sign him to that before the lockout started).

I'm all for a Story signing.  I am worried some about the home/road splits.

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4 minutes ago, se7799 said:

I'm all for a Story signing.  I am worried some about the home/road splits.

Rockies hitters are certainly more complicated to evaluate, but home/road splits aren't as big of a concern these days as the challenges of hitting on the road being just as extreme as the advantages of hitting in Colorado are better understood. You'd certainly prefer as small of splits as possible, but generally speaking most guys who put up good numbers for the Rockies are expected to put up good numbers for other teams. Matt Holliday, Nolan Arenado, Larry Walker, DJ LeMahieu, etc. Superstars in Colorado tend to be at least All Stars elsewhere.

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I've been kinda in on Galvis as a good glove with some power/pop. And I've been lukewarm but OK with Simmons if the Twins really believe his 2021 bat was an aberation from his previous 4 years or so. But I'm starting to think hard on Villar for his bat and OK defense. While I love and want good defense, I'm starting to wonder just how important a great glove at SS fits in today's game vs a better bat and OK defense.

Story would be exciting and a great get. I'd be happy if they got him. My hunch is the Twins are still going to look harder at pitching via trade and at least 1 of the best remaining FA rather than decimate the roster or milb system with a series of trades. I mean, they went out and accomplished their intent to bolster the system with arms to develop and sort through. Why would they now trade those arms so soon?

I just think they're going to go short term at SS and believe in Lewis.

 

 

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3 hours ago, DocBauer said:

Why would they now trade those arms so soon?

The Twins have three pitchers rated by MLB as 55, four as 50, and three more as 45. There are others with bright futures too. Vallimont, Raya, and Varland rate as 40. The trick is who might interest another team. Oakland has two at  50 and three rated at 45 for comparison. Don't you believe that the Twins could trade one from each group possibly in combination with some field players to gain good pitchers? I guess my focus is to maximize the resources we already have to fill what we need, and those pitchers added via trade would complement Buxton, Polanco, Donaldson, et al. It will be tough but it can be done, I believe.

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35 minutes ago, tony&rodney said:

The Twins have three pitchers rated by MLB as 55, four as 50, and three more as 45. There are others with bright futures too. Vallimont, Raya, and Varland rate as 40. The trick is who might interest another team. Oakland has two at  50 and three rated at 45 for comparison. Don't you believe that the Twins could trade one from each group possibly in combination with some field players to gain good pitchers? I guess my focus is to maximize the resources we already have to fill what we need, and those pitchers added via trade would complement Buxton, Polanco, Donaldson, et al. It will be tough but it can be done, I believe.

I really can't disagree with your argument, but I'm forced to. Despite angst and argument that the FO may have been egregiously patient and short-sighted in regard to just spending available $ to bring in at least 1 if not 2 quality arms that could easily fit in to budget parameters....different arguement that frustrates and confuses me....we know how the numbers usually work out. If you have 10 top pitching prospects, 2 will be good to great. Two more might be solid. A couple more might be good to better as RP. Numbers matter. And from the draft and trade, there is a large number of arms in the system right now. The FO has done that part right.

Right now, the Twins HAVE to make at least one trade to put together a decent rotation. And they may surprise us, as they have done previously. But when you have built this much depth, I'm concerned you would deal too much too soon.

Strotman is an example that confuses me, for example. A year ago, or so, he was a better rated prospect than Ryan. Coming off surgery, and then missing all of 2020, suddenly he's a "bum" to some because he jumped to AAA and was mediocre.  Just silliness. 

I think the Twins are going to have to give up at least one of their pitching prospects, maybe two, to aquire a solid SP via trade. I'm OK with that. 

But history shows you need pitching depth, arms to work with. Arms for tomorrow. I just wouldn't give up more than a couple of arms, tops, in a trade. I'd  rather spend a few $M more to augment my roster and hold on to the best arms I can, at this point, and make ONE trade move while keeping as much as I can.

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MLBTR made mention that ATL may be in the market to sign Correa, making Swanson available for trade...has 1 year remaining on current contract, I'd be ok to send a Top 20-30 prospect (or straight cash homie) ATLs way for a 1 year flier on Swanson. Maybe offer him an extention for another 1-2 years? I like him better the the above alternatives (Twins are not signing Top 2 guys on this list.)

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Signing a high priced SS at this stage seems silly until the fix the starting rotation.  What we have now is a AAA starting rotation at best.  Maybe some good prospects but definitely unproven.  With the FO decision not to pursue any quality pitching why get a SS at a high price?  Spend it on pitchers.  But it's too late for that too.  The bargain basement dumpster diving for pitchers has already begun.

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22 hours ago, Mike Sixel said:

I can't see them offering anyone a multi year deal at SS.

They'll see what they have in Lewis and Martin this year. And, if they still need one next year, sign one of the great FA SS next year (not that there will be any good FA SS next year).

Trea Turner / Tim Anderson / Xander Bogaerts / Danby Swanson are all FAs next year.  Of course, there are few others but these 4 would be good long-term solutions.  We are not getting Turner away from LA so let's call in 3 good options.  The best case scenario is Lewis or Martin step up and that money gets allocated to pitching.

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7 hours ago, DocBauer said:

Right now, the Twins HAVE to make at least one trade to put together a decent rotation. And they may surprise us, as they have done previously. But when you have built this much depth, I'm concerned you would deal too much too soon.

I think we are on the same page but expressing it differently perhaps. I might be more willing to trade some field players, for example. Others have given the same ideas in an attempt to bolster the starting staff. The main issue remains the budget. I never expected the Twins to sign two pitchers above the Bundy level. I have targeted Miami, Oakland, and Cincinnati. My preference is to hold on to Ober, Winder, Duran, Balazovic, Woods-Richardson, and Petty. I don't know the price of pitching but am trying to pry Bassitt and Montas away for Arraez, Larnach, and Strotman. I agree that Strotman has potential and suggest Oakland may believe the same. Additionally, if the Twins could sign Story, I would use Martin or Lewis and a pitcher to see if Miami would trade Meyer and Cabrera (unlikely) or CIN might trade Castillo for a package. The Miami trade would return young pitchers more highly rated than any of ours. In any event these trades would only diminish our stock of prospects by two prospects while returning three accomplished starters. Story is doable and allows the Twins to use prospect capital. My main point is that our young pitchers need some experienced arms to lead the way as they are initiated into MLB.

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1 hour ago, Whitey333 said:

Signing a high priced SS at this stage seems silly until the fix the starting rotation.  What we have now is a AAA starting rotation at best.  Maybe some good prospects but definitely unproven.  With the FO decision not to pursue any quality pitching why get a SS at a high price?  Spend it on pitchers.  But it's too late for that too.  The bargain basement dumpster diving for pitchers has already begun.

Disagree. If they sign a SS for a long term deal (5 or 6 years for Story is my desire) it's not silly at all. Paying one big money for 1 year may be silly as they wouldn't be able to supplement the rotation well enough this year most likely. But adding an All Star SS for 5 or 6 years is never silly. Why would you not add talent if you can? Donaldson, Sano, Rogers, Duffey are all off the payroll soon. They'll be looking to have their young pitchers take multiple spots in the pen and rotation for the next handful of years. That means they'll open more money to spend on pitching over the next couple years and they can go after FAs then, too. 

If it's 2022 or bust that's 1 thing, but no FO should be operating that way. What we have now is a AAA shortstop at best. Maybe some good prospects, but definitely unproven. Their pitching is bad, but the hole at SS is gaping as well. Don't understand the argument that filling a huge need is ever silly. Unless you're sold on Lewis being as good as Story (or Correa if we're really dreaming) for the next 5 or 6 years, why is it silly to fill that hole now and not have to worry about filling that next year when they'll likely still have some pitching holes to fill, too.

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On 12/2/2021 at 9:59 AM, Mike Sixel said:

I can't see them offering anyone a multi year deal at SS.

They'll see what they have in Lewis and Martin this year. And, if they still need one next year, sign one of the great FA SS next year (not that there will be any good FA SS next year).

I agree that's probably what this very conservative team will do. But I disagree that's what they should do. Too late to fix now unless they chase Story.

Having too many guys who are capable of playing shortstop has yet to ever be a problem for a baseball team.

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On 12/2/2021 at 1:34 PM, chpettit19 said:

I'm with @tony&rodney, it all comes back to the budget. I think the Twins are right around $90M right now. Maybe $95. Either way they absolutely should have 30+ mil left to spend. To me it's either Rodon on a 2 year, pretty high AAV deal, or it's Story. I think Pineda and a trade or 2 should be expected at this point (not expected as in I'm predicting it, but as a fan base we should expect ownership and FO to be planning to make those moves to improve).

So the question to me comes down to are you giving Rodon 20 a year for a year or 2, or are you giving Story 20 a year for 5 or 6 years. To me those are the only 2 players that fit the Twins needs and are worth a big deal. They waited out the market like they always do and now they have 2 options left. My pick would be Story to lock up the middle of the field. I'd offer him 5/100 and be willing to do 6/120 the second the lockout ends (well I would've tried to sign him to that before the lockout started).

I doubt Story will accept that low of an AAV. I'm guessing it will take closer to 25 AAV or over to get him to sign here

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