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Minnesota Adds Farmer to Infield Mix


Seth Stohs
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Hours after trading infielder Gio Urshela to the Angels, the Twins have acquired infielder Kyle Farmer from the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for right-handed pitcher Casey Legumina. 

Image courtesy of Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

The Twins reached out to a team they have become quite familiar with in trade talks in the past year. Infielder Kyle Farmer was traded to the Twins from the Reds in exchange for right-hander Casey Legumina

The 32-year-old infielder from the University of Georgia has been the Reds primary shortstop the past two seasons. In 2022, Farmer played in 145 games and hit .255/.315/.386 (.701) with 25 doubles and 14 home runs. 

Farmer made his MLB debut back in 2017 with the Dodgers and played some for them again in 2018. He was part of a trade with Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig and Alex Wood that sent Homer Bailey, Jeter Downs and Josiah Gray to the Dodgers in December of 2018. 

In 2019, he played six defensive positions for the Reds. Since 2021, he has been the team's primary shortstop, and he is terrific defensively no matter where they put him. In 2021, he played in 121 games at shortstop and 10 or fewer games at the other infield spots and left field. In 2022, he played in 98 games at shortstop, 36 at third base, and two games at first base. 

On the surface, Farmer seems to have a lot of similarities to a guy the team acquired in March, Isiah Kiner-Falefa. Both are solid shortstops who make all of the routine plays. Both have a solid, contact, line-drive type of swing that can generate some extra-base hits. However, they are guys that will hit closer to the bottom of the lineup. 

In his first season of arbitration eligibility, he played the 2022 season for $3.155 million. He will make somewhere around $5 million in 2023 and will be under team control for 2024 as well. Essentially, he's going to cost about half of what Gio Urshela would have, but he's a guy you can feel comfortable with playing at shortstop while waiting for Carlos Correa to sign (you never know) or Royce Lewis to return, and at that point, he can fill a utility role. He also can provide depth at third base should Jose Miranda struggle with the glove. 

Casey Legumina was the Twins' eighth-round draft pick in 2019 from Gonzaga. His numbers don't jump out, but his stuff is something that clearly will excite several pitching coaches. That is why he was added to the 40-man roster earlier this week. 

In the past six or seven months, the Twins have sent Legumina, Spencer Steer, Christian Encarnacion-Strand, Steve Hajjar, and Chase Petty to the Reds in exchange for Sonny Gray, Tyler Mahle, and now Kyle Farmer. 

In reality, this move probably completely opens up third base for Spencer Steer to take and run with. 

Do you Remember?

This highlight was all over the place in 2017. Farmer had a very nice major-league debut. 

One Reds Fan's Perspective on the Trade

Kyle's Biggest Fan

 

 


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Is this insurance if we strike out on Correa, or the plan to man SS without spending big money? The trade itself seems fine, but if the Twins don't spend real money this off-season then the front office will come under withering fire...and deserve it.

If this move means we lock down someone like Rodon, then great. If it means we have a bridge SS and don't spend real money on top end talent this off-season, then the front office has failed.

Watch this space, I guess?

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My immediate response was... HUH????  Trade Urshela to free up a 40 man spot, and then immediately trade a prospect you just protected to secure Farmer?  But you have put me at ease a bit. not bad move overall I guess.  As long as he was not traded for to take Urshela's place at 3b. This Since it is SOO early in offseason I am not going to try and figure out "what this trade means" in the way of how it impacts other potential signings.  There may be others I would have used to take up a 40 man roster spot, but not a bad move.  Your article calmed me down on it, nice job. hehe

 

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I really like this move beyond the fill-in SS if the Twins strikeout on Correa or any of the other top 4 SS FA. And I'll try to abbreviate my longer post in another OP on this.

As of now, Lee, Lewis, and Julien are not ready. As of now, there is ZERO depth at St Paul for the infield. Before this trade, Gordon would be tasked with covering at least 5 spots in the field. Now he doesn't have to, potentially, based on future moves. This makes the roster deeper, again, depending on future moves. Like the guy he's essentially replacing, Urshela, he's a bit of a late bloomer. And if you look at his career numbers, especially the last two, he's virtually the same hitter for less money.

Assuming, for a moment, that you just pencil in a 13 man position roster for the 2023 Twins, you'd have 2 catchers...one TBD...Miranda, Polanco, Arraez, and a TBD SS, and an OF of Larnach, Buxton, Gordon, Kepler/Wallner, and whatever RH they will add. (Garlick is the 2023 version of Cave, depth only). ASSUME Kirilloff will be healthy and ready to go and you still only have 12 position players.

Again, as I stated elsewhere, that 13th spot could be an inexpensive PR, OF defensive player who rarely starts, OR, a 1B/DH bat...leaving Gordon as your sole utility player...OR, you can build the best lineup you can, have someone like Farmer as a quality utility player you can count on, and let Gordon still fill many roles.

How the Twins fill SS and what RH bat they add...maybe 2 depending...will ultimately determine their 13 man position player portion of the roster. There's a lot of different directions this team could still go. But I think this was a smart addition.

 

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It's not the "big move" we are hoping for but it makes sense.  You basically swap out Urhsela for Farmer...they have similar offensive production.  Urshela was primarily a 3rd baseman, where you have depth in Miranda and Arraez.  Farmer is primarily a SS, which you need.  I don't think this move means you still can't sign Correa.  But it also means you could spend on pitching.

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41 minutes ago, tarheeltwinsfan said:

Did you realize that Farmer has player 19 major league games at catcher? His was a good fielding infielder at SS the last 2 years. The man can play just about anywhere.

And he has a major league era of 0.00. The man can do it all.

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Not a bad move. Essentially you are replacing Urshela, a 3rd baseman with Farmer, a shortstop when you have depth at 3B in Miranda but not at SS. And it is the "Twins way" when they can get another player for half the cost of what they had. Now use that added savings and go get Rodon and Contreras.

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1 hour ago, tarheeltwinsfan said:

TD makes the off season fun. Thank you to all the posters and writers at TD. We can all play like we are the GM for the Twins. This is better than Gilligan's Island reruns. 

Nothing is better than Gilligan’s Island reruns……

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We shouldn't forget the Twins' lack of catching depth. Farmer gives them an emergency backstop along with someone who can hold down the fort at SS while waiting for Lewis. That's assuming a higher profile SS isn't signed. I liked Ursula. But he's primarily a 3B, and Twins are pretty deep there. Getting a guy who plays short makes sense. And the catching is a bonus.

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Cross-post from Gio trade article.  Looks like an offensive downgrade for the sake of a paltry $3 million.  :-(

So is Farmer (not Gordon) the new infield utility guy? Starting at 3B? At SS?  Admittedly it's early, but frustrating not to be able to see a master plan here. 

 

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2 hours ago, Doc Munson said:

My immediate response was... HUH????  Trade Urshela to free up a 40 man spot, and then immediately trade a prospect you just protected to secure Farmer?  But you have put me at ease a bit. not bad move overall I guess.  As long as he was not traded for to take Urshela's place at 3b. This Since it is SOO early in offseason I am not going to try and figure out "what this trade means" in the way of how it impacts other potential signings.  There may be others I would have used to take up a 40 man roster spot, but not a bad move.  Your article calmed me down on it, nice job. hehe

 

We'll have to get confirmation, but I'm pretty sure they protected Legumina since they knew they were likely to move him. I don't view him as much of a prospect, certainly not a top 30 guy. Farmer makes sense as a backup to whomever we sign to play SS, instead of moving Polanco back to SS as the primary backup plan.

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The Twins made a quite a few trades last year. It might be safe enough to assume there were a lot of other trade offers. Leguminous may have been a prospect that came up in discussions. It will be interesting to see if this is the start of a busy off season or a return to minimal impact trades 

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8 hours ago, DJL44 said:

I hope this is why they added Legumina. Farmer isn't great but they needed a utility player who can actually play SS.

We agree DJL, I was contemplating why did they actually protected Legumina? In the back of my mind I thought maybe another team was interested in him in a trade (I know it's strange). After FO traded Urshela, they said we were deep in the INF. Yes we have an organization jam packed at 1B and we have a shaky Miranda to fill in at 3B and a passable Arraez if worked with, a solid Polanco at 2B, everyone else sub par. But SS we have exactly 0 who comes close to be par. Farmer provides depth there, a floor to build from and quality utility player that adds depth all over. I applaud the FO to get this done early instead of waiting around & scrape the bottom of the barrel at the end.

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Tingler: Welcome to Minnesota Kyle, let's get you introduced to your teammates. This is Sonny, Sonny I'd like you to meet Kyle Farmer. and This is Tyler Mahle... Tyler and Sonny are pitchers with our squad. Tyler... This is Kyle Farmer... gonna play some SS for us this year. 

 

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Is he still with us or did we package him with Emilio Pagan and send him to the Yankees?  What a strategy, draft a SS and package him with an unwanted quantity to clear the roster.  I can hardly wait to see how the strategy plays out.  And I am also waiting for the Twins to put together a bus to Cincinnati to see a roster of former Twins. 

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I do like this move as a way to better balance the MLB roster and provide better defensive options on the bench. As a bat, Farmer doesn't excite and is clearly worse than Urshela. In the field, he's a better and more versatile infielder, who is a much more legitimate defender at SS than either Urshela (who the team clearly didn't think was a SS) or Nick Gordon (who the team sees as an emergency option not even a backup) or even Polanco (who the team wants at 2B and wants to keep away from SS unless absolutely necessary).

I like Farmer as a bench option.

If Farmer is the primary option at SS, then we had better have landed a front-line starter and loaded up the bullpen. But I don't think trading for Farmer stops us from landing one of the top 4 SS, and that's still where I would put the bulk of the team's money this off-season.

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