Minnesota has the opportunity to make a big splash this winter by jumping in on (arguably) the best free-agent shortstop class in baseball history. It will cost the team a lot of money to be in the mix for the top-tier players. To put that in perspective, Francisco Lindor was supposed to be part of this free agent group, but he signed a 10-year, $341 million deal with the Mets. Each of these players comes with some red flags that interested clubs will need to consider.
Carlos Correa (2022 Age: 27)
2021 Stats: 7.2 WAR, .279/.366/.485 (.850), 26 HR, 34 2B, 131 OPS+
As a 27-year old, Correa is reaching free agency at the prime of his career, and he is the top free agent in this winter’s crop of available players. It’s likely going to take $30 million per season for six years or more to sign Correa. Injuries have been part of his professional career, but he has played 99 games or more in five of his seven big-league seasons. There’s also a good chance he will need to move off shortstop as he continues to age.
Flaws: Injury history
Corey Seager (2022 Age: 28)
2021 Stats: 3.7 WAR, .306/.394/.521 (.915), 16 HR, 22 2B, 145 OPS+
Like Correa, injuries have been part of Seager’s story, including missing a good chunk of 2021 with a hand fracture. He’s played over 130 games in three of his six full big-league seasons. His 2020 playoff run was outstanding as he won the World Series and NLCS MVP. Teams that miss out on Correa will likely turn to Seager, but he is a year older and has missed more time in his big-league career.
Flaws: Injury history
Marcus Semien (2022 Age: 31)
2021 Stats: 7.1 WAR, .265/.334/.538 (.873), 45 HR, 39 2B, 133 OPS+
Minnesota was interested in signing Semien last winter, but he decided to go to Toronto. His season north of the border was memorable as he will likely finish in the top-5 for the AL MVP. He is the oldest shortstop among the top-tier free agents, and he played all of last year at second base. Last winter, he signed a one-year deal for $18 million, and he will be getting a pay raise in the months ahead.
Javier Baez (2022 Age: 29)
2021 Stats: 4.5 WAR, .265/.319/.494 (.813), 31 HR, 18 2B, 117 OPS+
Baez is certainly an exciting player, but he swings and misses a lot. He led the National League with 184 strikeouts, and he has struck out 144 or more times in each of the last four full seasons. As far as contracts go, he is projected to get a lower average value than the names above because his personality can rub people the wrong way. Can Josh Donaldson and Baez coexist in the same clubhouse? That might not be an experiment a team wants to explore.
Flaws: Strikeouts, Volatility
Trevor Story (2022 Age: 29)
2021 Stats: 4.2 WAR, .251/.329/.471 (.801), 24 HR, 34 2B, 103 OPS+
Story has been a 20-20 player throughout his professional career. He is also hitting free agency at a tough time as he is coming off a poor campaign by his standards. There are also concerns about how he will fare outside of Coors Field. At home, he hit .303/.369/.603 (.972) while on the road, he was limited to a .752 OPS.
Flaws: Home/Road Splits
To read more about these shortstops and other off-season options, make sure to pre-order your copy of the 2022 Offseason Handbook. Designed to serve as an essential companion for the Twins offseason ahead, this digital Handbook places you in the shoes of the general manager, equipping you with all the information you need to construct your own team-building blueprint (or predict what the real front office will do).
Which flaws worry you the most? Will the Twins make offers to any of these players? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
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