Jamie Cameron Twins Daily Contributor Posted November 16, 2022 Share Posted November 16, 2022 Mitch Haniger is an ideal candidate to add some right-handed thump to a lineup that lost its best right-handed hitter this offseason. Image courtesy of Steven Bisig - USA Today Sports The slow erosion that was the 2022 season has given way to guarded excitement as we enter free agency. The Twins have a true tabula rasa, with around $60 million to spend to get in the ballpark of last year’s payroll total. Much of the focus has centered on shortstop, catcher, and high upside starting pitching, understandably so. I’d argue a right-handed, outfield power-bat should be on the shopping list, too. Enter Mitch Haniger. Twins Need a Viable, Right Handed, Big Bat Haniger would serve several purposes in the Twins lineup; let's address a few. He’d replace the thump that somewhat absorbs losing Carlos Correa. While there are rumblings that the Twins are preparing to offer Correa the largest contract in franchise history, it remains unlikely the Twins will add one of the uber-shortstops this winter, in which case, they need a right-handed power bat. Additionally, the Twins need to bring balance to their outfield. Byron Buxton and Kyle Garlick combined to play 158 games for the Twins in 2022 (many at DH). Beyond these two players, the Twins outfield options (Max Kepler, Trevor Larnach, Alex Kirilloff, Matt Wallner) are left-handed. Haniger Doesn’t Break the Bank Let’s deal with some elephants in some rooms. First, Haniger does not have a good health track record. Since 2018, he’s alternated playing close to 160 games, or 60 games in a season. While you may have already stopped reading given the Twins recent track record with injuries, they hired a new athletic trainer and it’s a new season. In 2022, Haniger’s missed time was largely due to a high ankle sprain. Haniger’s injury history also means a more reasonable price point. MLB Trade Rumors projected his contract to be 3 years, $39 million. In the last two seasons in which Haniger has remained healthy, he’s put up 7.3 fWAR. That’s plenty good value. It’s unlikely, but if Haniger didn’t like the offers he received early in the offseason, perhaps he’d take a two-year deal at a higher AAV (2 years, $32 million). At just 31, that seems feasible. Massive Upside Lastly, let’s talk upside. Haniger is a monster when healthy. He’s also a pull side right-handed hitter, which would play well at Target Field. In his major league career, Haniger has shown significant consistency, putting up a career .476 SLG, 122 wRC+, and .811 OPS. If he’s on the field, you know what you’re going to get. In Haniger’s last two full seasons, he’s combined for 60 home runs, so an expectation of 30 in 150 games seems reasonable. Lastly, Haniger adds some experience to an extremely young core. There’s a lot to like. Clearly, much of what the Twins accomplish this offseason will depend on their solution at shortstop. If they fail to land one of the premier options, a pivot to Haniger as a high impact bat, and an elite front of the rotation starter would soften the blow for me. What do you think of Mitch Haniger as a fit for the Twins? Who are other options you’d consider as big bats beyond the elite start shortstops this offseason? View full article Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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