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A late night finish on Tuesday has been followed up with early Wednesday transactions as Dereck Rodriguez has had his contract selected, Jharel Cotton has been DFA'd, and Alex Kirilloff has been placed on the IL with a recurrence of last year's wrist problems. Taking his place is Trevor Larnach.

 

The assumption is that Larnach will presumably become the Twins new regular left fielder.

But maybe the Twins need to take a closer look at the recently-released Justin Upton. Upton was DFA'd by the Angels last week and cleared waivers earlier this week. The Angels are on the hook for the remainder of his contract. If Upton wants to play major league baseball, he could potentially do it for the Twins for the pro-rated league minimum ($700k).

It doesn't take a math genius to figure out that Upton isn't particularly good in left field, nearly every number being preceded by a minus sign tells that story.

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Of course, having Byron Buxton helping patrol the outfield next to him should help. 

The other issue, of course, is that if Upton isn't great in the field, he should at least make up for it with his bat, right? Well, you'd hope, but that hasn't been great either.

Since his age-31 season in 2019, Upton has put together three straight sub-.730 OPS seasons. But they aren't even full seasons, they're more like Byron Buxton seasons, playing in a combined 194 games, with last year's 89 being a three-year high.

So what could Upton provide? He could be an option as a right-handed bat in an outfield that needs it. Maybe you believe in Kyle Garlick. Or maybe you think Gilberto Celestino should fill a part-time role instead of going to St. Paul to play every day. But maybe you think Upton can be worth a look, knowing that you can move on at any time without it being a huge loss.

Justin Upton slashed .219/.265/.531 (.796 OPS) in 64 at-bats in 2020 and .225/.355/.483 (.838 OPS) in 89 at-bats against lefties in 2021. Both of those are well off his career .259/.359/.493 (.852 OPS) line, but if believing that Gary Sanchez can benefit from the change of scenery by getting out of the bright lights of New York, can't we believe the same thing about Upton getting out from the terrible contract and underwhelming performance in Los Angeles? 

 


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Anaheim is pretty laid back here so i doubt a change of scenery will do too much.  maybe just a different place. I do think i prefer Upton to our in house options right now.  at least on a platoon basis with Arreaz.

 

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4 minutes ago, RedBull34 said:

Arraez's defensive numbers in LF are about the same and his bat is definitely better.  I'd be in no hustle to sign Upton.

100% agree. I want a  path to more Arraez at-bats. I've no illusions that he'll start being a good fielder out there, but in my opinion he can Josh Willingham left field as long as he keeps delivering the toughest outs in the lineup, and as long as his knees keep functioning. 

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Angels weren't even considering him in OF more of a 1B/ DH type, just what we need to continue to hoard these type and his hitting is pretty bad. Absolutely No Thanks! 

Our present OF depth is pretty thin especially CF although I love Gordon's hustle and Celestino's glove. I'd still like to see Celestino have more ABs in AAA and I'm not sure if Larnach's bat is ready and his glove is not great. Kiriloff is down heaven forbid if Buxton or even Kepler would go down even for a short time.

I've been advocating for 3 years for  quality depth in CF while yet having some respectability on the corners. I'd like to see a MLB ready CF who can hit LHP. I know some are tired of my harping but I'll continue to do so until something is done or Celestino is completely ready (which I hope is soon).

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This is a play for a rebuilding team. Sign him for nothing, hopefully he sets a good example for young players in terms of going about his daily routine, and hopefully he gets hot for a flip in July. 

This does not make any sense for a lineup with Gary Sanchez and Miguel Sano to add another low batting average, 30% K% hitter. 

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When a team just DFAs a batter who is owed $28 million I would say that the message is quite clear.  I do not want him on the team.  Let's move with what we have - Larnach, Celestino, Gordon for now and hopefully Kiriloff back in 10 days.  If he isn't the three we have will get us through the year and Martin can be ready or Lewis can get some OF time. 

Is Miranda any good in the OF?  Urshela? 

The BP might be a bigger problem than trying to fill LF.  

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If anyone is still trying to fool themselves into believing the Twins can contend this season, a RH hitting OFer is a no brainer.

Whether Upton is that OFer isn't easily answered, but it's worth a shot.

The better question is why this FO didn't try to address this question previously. 

 

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can't we believe the same thing about Upton getting out from the terrible contract

What's terrible about that contract for Justin Upton? He was getting paid $28M this season. I'd say that was an awesome contract situation for him.

Is he better than adding Kyle Garlick to the roster? Probably not.

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I see no space for Upton.  He hits lefties fine still at this point in career, but negative against righties, and in the field.  So the only positive you get is the few times he would play against left handed pitchers for the maybe 2 to 3 at bats he gets that game.  Why would you use up a valuable roster spot on a guy with very limited times he would be better than a replacement player? 

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I'm still trying to figure out why Cotton isn't worth keeping around after 5 days but Rodriguez is the better arm?

I can only assume they were going to drop someone no matter what for Upton/Garlick and promoted Rodriguez for a day or two as an extra arm before also being dropped.

Just really disappointed 1 or 2 more known issues weren't addressed more aggressively before the lockout  as well as after. Feels like someone couldn't find the shopping list until it was too late and the store was closed.

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Hard to see a good reason to go get Upton. Frankly, Garlick looks like a better bat at this point. If we think we can contend, put Arraez out there, live with his poor defense and hope he knees allow him to play 120 games. Maybe pair him with Garlick. If this is really more of a rebuilding/development season, put Gordon out there some and Larnach some and see what happens. I lean to the latter because I think these first 6 games have sobered me up to see how many holes this team has. The pitching may be average - an improvement but not good enough - but the lineup is least two hitters too short to really contend. 

I hate to say it, but I think we have time. Persistent soreness that affects one's swing in an already surgically repair wrist doesn't sound like a 10 day IL stint to me. Sounds more like at least a month and that's if they can figure out what's wrong. 

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12 minutes ago, DocBauer said:

I can only assume they were going to drop someone no matter what for Upton/Garlick and promoted Rodriguez for a day or two as an extra arm before also being dropped.

I think this is the case. Nobody is grabbing Rodriguez on waivers so he's a safe add/drop.

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It’s worth taking a shot at. Upton will be cheap and the Twins could use another Outfielder for depth. Use Upton as a lefty platoon with Trevor Larnach/Max Kepler and a DH option for the time being. If he doesn’t perform, oh well. DFA him and move on

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1 hour ago, DocBauer said:

I'm still trying to figure out why Cotton isn't worth keeping around after 5 days but Rodriguez is the better arm?

I can only assume they were going to drop someone no matter what for Upton/Garlick and promoted Rodriguez for a day or two as an extra arm before also being dropped.

Just really disappointed 1 or 2 more known issues weren't addressed more aggressively before the lockout  as well as after. Feels like someone couldn't find the shopping list until it was too late and the store was closed.

They have Larnach, Martin, Lewis, Miranda and maybe 1-2 others in the minors. They hoped, I'm sure, Larnach would make the roster......

I agree, Rodriguez was called up, and he or Jax will go down for an OFer.

What issues would you want addressed (other than RP)?

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5 minutes ago, Mike Sixel said:

They have Larnach, Martin, Lewis, Miranda and maybe 1-2 others in the minors. They hoped, I'm sure, Larnach would make the roster......

I agree, Rodriguez was called up, and he or Jax will go down for an OFer.

What issues would you want addressed (other than RP)?

They have Larnach and Celestino. Neither Martin or Lewis are realistic options now or any time soon, and I'm pretty sure Miranda hasn't played an inning of outfield in his MiLB career.

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9 minutes ago, USAFChief said:

They have Larnach and Celestino. Neither Martin or Lewis are realistic options now or any time soon, and I'm pretty sure Miranda hasn't played an inning of outfield in his MiLB career.

I wasn't only talking OF, but I agree.....

Really, the FO added four starting pitchers, a superstar SS, replaced their 3B with a good (not great) one, replaced a good defensive catcher who couldn't hit with who knows what (but used to be good), signed Buxton. Other than RP, what wasn't handled, which was my question.

They have OFers in the minors, they have prospect SP if the vets fail. I don't love all the decisions, but some posters seem to think they did nothing to make the team better.....

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In my opinion, there is nothing Upton does better than Garlick. Garlick stepped in in CF when Buxton was hurt and while it wasn't great, it wasn't terrible either. Garlick is slightly above average playing corner OF, and demolishes lefties. Upton is below average everywhere, and while I know he is a bench player at this point, I still would prefer that we pass on him. On a different note, Garlick would've been nice to have up for this Dodgers to see if he could crack Heaney or Kersh.

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Well, right now I'd tell Nick Gordon he is the regular LF. He's a very good athlete, he was a top pick for a reason, he is out of options so the team needs to find out about him now, and he is the least embarrassing bat among the non-Buxton OFs. Gordon is likely to improve on both O and D if he is given a regular gig, and if he doesn't that's good to know as well. His floor is certainly better than we'd see from Larnach.

Not right-handed? I don't really care. Rocco talks about how he wants his best batters (Buxton, Correa) at the top of the order, I want the best nine bats IN the order. Platooning is nice if you have some extra good hitters; this team doesn't even have three good hitters in the outfield or Kepler would be fighting for his job.

Beyond that, Garlick would be the best immediate add; Upton is Matt Shoemaker in an outfielder's guise.

The Twins should also take a look pretty quickly at Mark Contreras who had the lamp go on last year, and is raking so far this spring. Maybe even in April with the rosters expanded. I believe Winder has earned a real shot, but since Rocco is just going to trot him out for an inning once a week, he'd serve the club better working as a starter in St Paul. (Oh no! Contreras isn't on the 40 man! Umm. Maybe we could dare to DFA Vallimont who blew chunk last year, and currently sports a 67.50 ERA and .714 BAA.)

And maybe work the trade market for a legit OF; not a used up name like Upton. They will come available (I think Atlanta found one or four on their way to the title last year).

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I'm down on Upton. Just doesn't look like he can hit much any longer, can't play in the OF worth a damn...why give a roster spot to him? Seems more likely a fit for a National League team looking for a platoon bat to DH and maybe backup a little at 1B. Doesn't look like a bounce-back candidate to me: Sanchez is a different case: younger, was becoming the poster boy for failure in NYC, better positional flexibility.

Upton doesn't look any better than Garlick to me. 

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If I was in charge I would give Miranda a crash course in the OF while he is still in St.Paul. Let him work out there for a week or 2. That should be long enough to figure out if there is any chance of him picking it up. If so he could probably get up to the big club very quick, If not you have lost nothing.

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20 hours ago, DJL44 said:

What's terrible about that contract for Justin Upton? He was getting paid $28M this season. I'd say that was an awesome contract situation for him.

Is he better than adding Kyle Garlick to the roster? Probably not.

He's not getting out of the contract, but he's getting out of having to live up to that contract.

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2 hours ago, Karbo said:

If I was in charge I would give Miranda a crash course in the OF while he is still in St.Paul. Let him work out there for a week or 2. That should be long enough to figure out if there is any chance of him picking it up. If so he could probably get up to the big club very quick, If not you have lost nothing.

With you on this. That's two more weeks than Arraez or Gordon got before playing OF in the big leagues.

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I wonder about the Upton side of this equation.

Perhaps part of the reason he still hasn't signed (and part of the reason the Angels released him when they did) could be that he's not too eager to take on a reduced role yet

Not that he's likely to get more playing time from anyone else right now, but he might not be in a hurry to sign either, especially in a new place which may or may not be a contender. He's got two young daughters, one of whom has Emanuel Syndrome, and lives in CA, with his parents back in Virginia:

https://mlbbro.com/2021/05/29/justin-upton-is-proudly-and-publicly-leading-the-fight-against-emanuel-syndrome/

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24 minutes ago, Otto von Ballpark said:

I wonder about the Upton side of this equation.

Perhaps part of the reason he still hasn't signed (and part of the reason the Angels released him when they did) could be that he's not too eager to take on a reduced role yet

Not that he's likely to get more playing time from anyone else right now, but he might not be in a hurry to sign either, especially in a new place which may or may not be a contender. He's got two young daughters, one of whom has Emanuel Syndrome, and lives in CA, with his parents back in Virginia:

https://mlbbro.com/2021/05/29/justin-upton-is-proudly-and-publicly-leading-the-fight-against-emanuel-syndrome/

If I had a child that needed that much care, and I had that much money, I know where I'd be.......

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21 hours ago, USAFChief said:

 

The better question is why this FO didn't try to address this question previously. 

 

Agreed. The Front Office (and many Twins fans it seems) appeared to be operating under the foregone conclusion that Alex Kirilloff was a set-it-and-forget-it part of the OF this year. Remember when the Twins gave up Eddie Rosario the FO convinced themselves and many fans that AK was just going to pick up the slack? Ridiculous.

And going into 2022 did nobody ask themselves "Hmmm, I wonder if maybe a 2nd year player who hasn't played in 9 months, coming off a chronic injury might not be that good and/or reliable?"

I'd frankly take Garlick over Upton right now, but the Twins are going to have to address this problem rather than try and fix it with bubble gum and duct tape. Larnach isn't the answer, he's looking at a Chris Parmalee ceiling at this point in his career. His window seems to have passed.

 

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