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  • Could the Twins Trade Luis Arraez?


    Cody Pirkl

    Selling at the trade deadline is very likely at this point as all eyes turn to the Twins front office to see how they’ll handle sell offs. People are understandably nervous to deal Berrios and Buxton, but there may be a surprising controllable piece that could be explored.

    Image courtesy of Image courtesy of Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

    Luis Arraez has been found money for the Twins system. While a solid prospect, his debut season posting a .334/.399/.439 slash line was not expected by any means. He probably takes the highest quality at bats on the team and has fantastic bat to ball skills that should always buoy a solid batting average. So why would the Twins look to trade him?

    https://twitter.com/CoopCarlson/status/1223675817470898176

    Utilityman?

    Arraez essentially has no primary position at this point after Polanco took over second base. He’ll still make the occasional appearance in the middle infield but often finds himself in the corner outfield or filling in for an injured Donaldson at the hot corner. His shift off the position he played his entire minor league career has gone as well as we could have expected, although usually we don’t expect much in this scenario. Arraez is slightly below average across the board defensively.

    His flexibility on the diamond is valuable, though not as valuable as it could be. There’s no situation where the Twins would feel the least bit comfortable with dropping Arraez in at shortstop or center field which are two of the most valuable positions to be able to play. Corner spots are typically where you hide rough defenders and you can often find passable backups. It’s very likely somebody like Nick Gordon is nowhere near the offensive contributor that Arraez is, but his defensive range and what looks to be at least a solid bat could very well close the gap on Arraez as a future utilityman in the Twins eyes.

    Injury History

    It’s probably not crazy to say that Arraez’ defensive struggles have at least something to do with his injury history. At 24 years of age Arraez has had knee problems on both sides, one being a torn ACL and the other being tendonitis that hampered him significantly throughout 2020. Even after the issue had supposedly been resolved we still see Arraez run the bases gingerly on occasion while appearing to nurse an aching lower half. 

    Knee injuries can often result in a brutal aging curve unfortunately, and there’s worries that a 24 year old Luis Arraez is already suffering from chronic issues. As he ages further we could see decline not only defensively, but offensively. He may be able to maintain his bat to ball skills and terrific plate discipline, but as we’ve seen this season in his .351 slugging %, if his power completely evaporates as it could with leg injuries then his value at the plate could really fall off. Arraez is due to become a free agent in 2026. Is it possible that his value could be at its peak?

    Should We Trade Him?

    As with most productive controllable players, whether we should trade Luis Arraez doesn’t have a simple yes or no answer. He’s an incredibly valuable player, and likely more valuable as a player on the Twins than a trade chip at this point due to his injuries and overall struggles this season. Still, Polanco has settled into second base nicely and appears to have rebounded at the plate. The next wave of outfielders are here with more on the way. While he would be a great stop gap for Donaldson’s IL trips, he’s probably not an everyday third baseman.

    Especially if he rebounds at the plate and shows he’s healthy over the next month, a contender could justify paying up for the 24 year old who’s controlled for four more years if they see him as an everyday starter. The Twins lineup would certainly miss him but he’s a player they could likely afford to lose more than Taylor Rogers or Jose Berrios while still getting a nice return that could help rebound in 2022.

    Arraez has become a quiet star and is surely one of my favorite players, but when teams crumble as the 2021 Twins have, all options have to be considered. Could Luis Arraez be the big move the Twins make to try to rebound from a surprisingly disappointing season?

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    Nice write up. I'd lean toward keeping Arraez. I think the guy that should be shopped around his Jorge Polanco. Ankle seems to have healed up and he's back to hitting well from both sides of the plate. He's turning 28 in a few weeks and entering the prime of his career.. Though the shift to 2nd probably hurt his value, since May 1st, Polanco ranks 6th among 2nd basemen OPS at 841.  His contract is also extremely reasonable, only owed 35mil through 2025. I'd prefer to keep Arraez, whos younger, matches up with the next wave of talent coming through, and in arbitration for 4 more years.. Not to mention an absolutely fantastic hitter and on base machine.. Flip Polanco for a haul in the winter.

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    I have no data to back this up, but it feels to me like players of Arraez's skillset are worth more to the team they come up with than they are on the trade market. I can't imagine anyone is throwing a top 100 prospect at the Twins for Arraez. Generally speaking the top 100 guys are guys with a ceiling well above Arraez's and, especially this day and age, teams need to feel they're getting All Star type MLB players in return for giving up a big time prospect with All Star upside. 

    Every player should always be on the block. If the Angels are offered a 3 team trade that returns them Tatis Jr, Vlad Jr, Bo Bichette, Alek Manoah, and Mackenzie Gore for Trout they should take it. Arraez is by no means "untouchable," but what would a realistic package be in return for him? He's a 1 tool player, but he's exceptional at that 1 tool, and it's the hardest tool to find at that skill level. That makes him incredibly useful, and also not worth much on the trade market. If you're trading a controllable young asset who's proven to be an everyday player I think you need to get back more than a team would be willing to give up for Arraez.

    If they get an offer that improves the team they should absolutely take it. I just don't think that its likely.

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    I have been thinking about him as a trade candidate for most of the reasons you mentioned.  Polanco covers 2nd and Gordon looks better in the utility role at least if his bat holds up.  They have Miranda who plays second likely on the way and needing to be added to the 40 man.  Lewis will need to be added to the 40 man.  Palacios might need to be added if his bat plays well through a whole season.  Things are looking tight at the 2nd\utility position.

    While Arraez has a good eye he doesn't hit for power and as you mentioned doesn't run all that well.  That being said the eye and the bat are pretty special.  The other issue is the team has 4 more years of control it almost seems to early to trade him.  Also need to find a team that needs an OBP 2nd base\Utility player with the pieces we need to get back in trade.  Not sure if that is something they can or really need to pull off at the deadline but it is something they need to consider.  For me he makes the most sense to trade but there is plenty of room for disagreement.

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    Don't trade Arraez - he has unique skills and is still an ascending player.

    The Twins have four players in the bigs or near who can play SS (or 2B) Simmons, Polanco, Gordon and Lewis. The first three are assets that could be moved before the 2022 season. Not to mention free agency for 2022 has a number of quality SS.

    My thought: Keep Arraez at 2B. Gordon at Super Utility and trade Simmons and Polanco if the Twins are eager to add assets (Pitching) at the deadline. Or in Polanco's case in the off-season.

    Lewis coming off an injury likely has limited value, but could be ready for MLB by mid-season 2022 if all goes right.

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    My vote would be no.

    But like anything, should someone blow them away with an offer, certainly.  But count me among those who believe that Arraez can be a solid second baseman.  Not gold glove, but certainly average...if given the chance to stick with it for more than a game or two.  Same probably goes with him at third, although his arm isn't as strong as you would like.  But defensively we need to remember that the Twins have moved him around so much that he never has a chance to settle into any defensive routine.

    And I believe that when healthy, this kid can be special with his bat.  And speaking of injuries, both trips to the IR this were from injuries caused by head first slides.  I saw that he has stated that he won't be doing that anymore.  Don't watch any of the games, so I haven't been able to see whether he is now sliding feet first.  Can anyone confirm that?

    But if the injuries are reduced, I believe that Arraez is a player to build around...unless someone blows you away with an offer...which isn't likely.

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    18 minutes ago, chpettit19 said:

    I have no data to back this up, but it feels to me like players of Arraez's skillset are worth more to the team they come up with than they are on the trade market. I can't imagine anyone is throwing a top 100 prospect at the Twins for Arraez. Generally speaking the top 100 guys are guys with a ceiling well above Arraez's and, especially this day and age, teams need to feel they're getting All Star type MLB players in return for giving up a big time prospect with All Star upside. 

    Every player should always be on the block. If the Angels are offered a 3 team trade that returns them Tatis Jr, Vlad Jr, Bo Bichette, Alek Manoah, and Mackenzie Gore for Trout they should take it. Arraez is by no means "untouchable," but what would a realistic package be in return for him? He's a 1 tool player, but he's exceptional at that 1 tool, and it's the hardest tool to find at that skill level. That makes him incredibly useful, and also not worth much on the trade market. If you're trading a controllable young asset who's proven to be an everyday player I think you need to get back more than a team would be willing to give up for Arraez.

    If they get an offer that improves the team they should absolutely take it. I just don't think that its likely.

    Well stated.  Another team will have a hard time giving us back the value we think Arraez deserves because top 100 prospects generally project to do so much more.  They are generally 3 tool or better players. He also lacks power and in todays game that is greatly valued. So as you point out he really does look like a 1 tool player.  It is elite and hard to come by but I think he could be a hard sell to get the value you want back.  I would still shop him but getting a deal done seems like a long shot to me.

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    If someone comes along with a reasonable offer, I don't see why not.  I enjoy watching him and he provides value, but I'm having trouble finding a place in the field for him.  I think a bat like his still has a place in the game, but considering where this team is, everyone should be on the table and if a reasonable offer comes along, there's no reason to decline it.  He's not a cornerstone player that I would think hard about losing.

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    26 minutes ago, Dman said:

    Well stated.  Another team will have a hard time giving us back the value we think Arraez deserves because top 100 prospects generally project to do so much more.  They are generally 3 tool or better players. He also lacks power and in todays game that is greatly valued. So as you point out he really does look like a 1 tool player.  It is elite and hard to come by but I think he could be a hard sell to get the value you want back.  I would still shop him but getting a deal done seems like a long shot to me.

    Arraez is my favorite player on the Twins right now so I (selfishly) hope they don't shop him, but certainly would understand (and support) them taking a deal that improves the team. If he's a .400 Slugging guy (was .439 and .402 the last 2 years) he's likely a 110-120 OPS+ guys from year to year. That all comes down to how many doubles he can bang out really. I just think he provides such a good balance to the current day power, power, and more power lineups that teams like to throw out there (Twins especially). It's refreshing to see a guy who seemingly hates to strikeout and battles every pitch of every at bat. In a perfect world where everyone hits their ceiling (and stays on the field) having an Arraez, Buxton, Kirilloff, Lewis, Larnach top 5 of the order for the next 5 or 6 years sounds like heaven to me.

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    I'd deal him....they have Polanco, maybe Gordon, and several minor league players that look like they can play 2nd, all of whom probably have more speed and more power and likely play better D. That said, I'd keep him if they don't get an offer they like. In other words, I'm not looking to deal him, but am willing to deal him. Trade from strength.....

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    1 hour ago, chpettit19 said:

    I have no data to back this up, but it feels to me like players of Arraez's skillset are worth more to the team they come up with than they are on the trade market. I can't imagine anyone is throwing a top 100 prospect at the Twins for Arraez. Generally speaking the top 100 guys are guys with a ceiling well above Arraez's and, especially this day and age, teams need to feel they're getting All Star type MLB players in return for giving up a big time prospect with All Star upside. 

    Every player should always be on the block. If the Angels are offered a 3 team trade that returns them Tatis Jr, Vlad Jr, Bo Bichette, Alek Manoah, and Mackenzie Gore for Trout they should take it. Arraez is by no means "untouchable," but what would a realistic package be in return for him? He's a 1 tool player, but he's exceptional at that 1 tool, and it's the hardest tool to find at that skill level. That makes him incredibly useful, and also not worth much on the trade market. If you're trading a controllable young asset who's proven to be an everyday player I think you need to get back more than a team would be willing to give up for Arraez.

    If they get an offer that improves the team they should absolutely take it. I just don't think that its likely.

    You typed the words right out of my keyboard.  Excellent post. LOL!

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    While any player is certainly tradable for the right deal, I would keep Arraez unless we are blown away by some offer. I do see the upcoming middle infield backlog what effectively three second baseman - Polanco, Gordon and Arraez - None of whom appear to be a high-quality starting every day shortstop. I would like to create a way for Arraez to play basically every day to keep his bat in the lineup.

    I think the answer is simple - trade Donaldson. I don’t think you do that because of the great haul we’re going to get for him, I don’t think it’s there, but we dump his contract and that of Cruz and maybe Kepler so that we can use the money to sign Berrios, Rogers and/or Buxton long-term. If we trade Donaldson, Arraez and Polanco man second and third with Gordon as the infield/outfield utility guy. What about Miranda, you say? Well, he’s been in the minors for a while, wasn’t added to the 40 man roster last winter, and didn’t get drafted by anybody. He’s having a great year this year in AA, so let’s bring him up and see where he is on the development path. He may be ready in a year or two and we will have to find a spot for him on the 40 man roster,  another good reason to trade Donaldson. If Miranda comes up and beats out Arraez for the third base job, we can always trade Arraez at that point.

    The bottom line is that we do have a bit of an infield crunch with a lot of guys who can’t play shortstop. I don’t think the way to solve that is to trade a productive, very cost controlled player like Arraez. I do think the idea that we’re going to get a top 100 prospect, or even a organizations’s top 20 prospect in return is a bit of a fantasy. I think the better move is to trade the under productive, more expensive player like Donaldson even if the trade is effectively a salary dump. I think it does two great things, (1) Keeps the younger player whose timeline is with the developing guys around, and (2) frees up money to try to sign Berrios, Buxton and/or Rogers.

     

     

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    If they can get sell him off, do it.

    His sub-average fielding skills have done more harm to the Twins than his supposed good bat.  The way he jumps around at bats and then watches a third strike make all the hype wishful thinking.

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    7 hours ago, Tim said:

    Nice write up. I'd lean toward keeping Arraez. I think the guy that should be shopped around his Jorge Polanco. Ankle seems to have healed up and he's back to hitting well from both sides of the plate. He's turning 28 in a few weeks and entering the prime of his career.. Though the shift to 2nd probably hurt his value, since May 1st, Polanco ranks 6th among 2nd basemen OPS at 841.  His contract is also extremely reasonable, only owed 35mil through 2025. I'd prefer to keep Arraez, whos younger, matches up with the next wave of talent coming through, and in arbitration for 4 more years.. Not to mention an absolutely fantastic hitter and on base machine.. Flip Polanco for a haul in the winter.

    FWIW I don't necessarily think they should deal Arraez either. To deal Polanco would be super surprising though. They clearly don't think of Arraez as an everyday 2B otherwise Polanco would have been the one moved into a utility role because he could at least fill in at short. He's been good at 2B and rebounded at the plate. Could they get a haul for him? Probably. It'd cost them a player they already committed to and has the keys to an everyday position though which is more than we can say about Arraez.

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    5 hours ago, LA VIkes Fan said:

    The bottom line is that we do have a bit of an infield crunch with a lot of guys who can’t play shortstop. I don’t think the way to solve that is to trade a productive, very cost controlled player like Arraez. I do think the idea that we’re going to get a top 100 prospect, or even a organizations’s top 20 prospect in return is a bit of a fantasy. I think the better move is to trade the under productive, more expensive player like Donaldson even if the trade is effectively a salary dump. I think it does two great things, (1) Keeps the younger player whose timeline is with the developing guys around, and (2) frees up money to try to sign Berrios, Buxton and/or Rogers.

     

     

    I agree that it'd have to be a haul with at least a top 100 prospect but I disagree that nobody would be willing to pay it. Arraez is a valuable player with a very unique skill set offensively. The only reason I think the Twins would even consider trading him is because they have a superior defensive 2B and plenty of corner options. 

    Team could easily see him as a starting caliber 2B who can lead off everyday. That's absolutely worth a haul of prospects.

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    7 hours ago, Dman said:

    Well stated.  Another team will have a hard time giving us back the value we think Arraez deserves because top 100 prospects generally project to do so much more.  They are generally 3 tool or better players. He also lacks power and in todays game that is greatly valued. So as you point out he really does look like a 1 tool player.  It is elite and hard to come by but I think he could be a hard sell to get the value you want back.  I would still shop him but getting a deal done seems like a long shot to me.

    I think it's easy to underrate how valuable Arraez is just because he is mostly one dimension. Regardless of how he gets it done he was roughly on a 3.5 win pace in '19, and '20. He probably won't eclipse that level of value because of his defense but it's hard to find a prospect of any pedigree to expect that from, especially in their first 2 seasons.

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    10 hours ago, LA VIkes Fan said:

    While any player is certainly tradable for the right deal, I would keep Arraez unless we are blown away by some offer. I do see the upcoming middle infield backlog what effectively three second baseman - Polanco, Gordon and Arraez - None of whom appear to be a high-quality starting every day shortstop. I would like to create a way for Arraez to play basically every day to keep his bat in the lineup.

    I think the answer is simple - trade Donaldson. I don’t think you do that because of the great haul we’re going to get for him, I don’t think it’s there, but we dump his contract and that of Cruz and maybe Kepler so that we can use the money to sign Berrios, Rogers and/or Buxton long-term. If we trade Donaldson, Arraez and Polanco man second and third with Gordon as the infield/outfield utility guy. What about Miranda, you say? Well, he’s been in the minors for a while, wasn’t added to the 40 man roster last winter, and didn’t get drafted by anybody. He’s having a great year this year in AA, so let’s bring him up and see where he is on the development path. He may be ready in a year or two and we will have to find a spot for him on the 40 man roster,  another good reason to trade Donaldson. If Miranda comes up and beats out Arraez for the third base job, we can always trade Arraez at that point.

    The bottom line is that we do have a bit of an infield crunch with a lot of guys who can’t play shortstop. I don’t think the way to solve that is to trade a productive, very cost controlled player like Arraez. I do think the idea that we’re going to get a top 100 prospect, or even a organizations’s top 20 prospect in return is a bit of a fantasy. I think the better move is to trade the under productive, more expensive player like Donaldson even if the trade is effectively a salary dump. I think it does two great things, (1) Keeps the younger player whose timeline is with the developing guys around, and (2) frees up money to try to sign Berrios, Buxton and/or Rogers.

     

     

    The right deal is one that you are blown away by. That has not happened at the trade deadline for a utility player in the recent past. That hasn't happened for  a 2b either. Since the team is losing and beyond the" what if they strung together a decent month of wins" type of conversation, there might as well be conversations about improbable things like a good return in trade for Arraez. I am very sure if the team threw in Thielbar that the return would be awesome 

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    4 hours ago, Cody Pirkl said:

    I agree that it'd have to be a haul with at least a top 100 prospect but I disagree that nobody would be willing to pay it. Arraez is a valuable player with a very unique skill set offensively. The only reason I think the Twins would even consider trading him is because they have a superior defensive 2B and plenty of corner options. 

    Team could easily see him as a starting caliber 2B who can lead off everyday. That's absolutely worth a haul of prospects.

    Nick Blackburn was a top 100 prospect. If Arraez was traded for a Nick Blackburn ceiling type player, there would be much disgust over the trade.

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    I see all these ideas to trade guys but the guy I dont see talked about is Kepler. He had a good season in 19 but really seems to be going the wrong way since. I would look at getting something there since we seem to have a bunch of young outfielders coming up

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    Have we learned nothing about relying upon oft-injured players?  Buxton is fantastic but has missed >50% of Twins games in the past three years due to injury.  Donaldson was known to have a chronic calf issue.  If you squint just right, you can see Arraez in an injury-free year, but gimpy 24-year-old players don't age well.  The Twins have determined that Polanco is better defensively at 2nd base.  What other team will look at Arraez and think 'starting second baseman'?  Do you trade him?  Certainly you could, but I think he will remain on the roster as there just won't be enough demand. 

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    23 hours ago, Dman said:

    Well stated.  Another team will have a hard time giving us back the value we think Arraez deserves because top 100 prospects generally project to do so much more.  They are generally 3 tool or better players. He also lacks power and in todays game that is greatly valued. So as you point out he really does look like a 1 tool player.  It is elite and hard to come by but I think he could be a hard sell to get the value you want back.  I would still shop him but getting a deal done seems like a long shot to me.

    Agreed, I like Arraez but he's at his highest value and with his defense short comings it's practical to trade him. I've advocated trading both him and Maeda but now Maeda's value has dropped tremendously and won't fetch a great trade.

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    Trading Arraez straight up just doesn't make sense to me, entirely because of the return you would (wouldn't) get for a utility player.  But if the time comes you have to trade a Buxton, Berrios, Kepler, etc., he would make an enticing player to include in a package deal.  When a team has to pay out contracts the size that these guys will command, a cheap player under control who can hit might be the ticket to get a much better return.

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    The relative dearth of reader comments already indicated that the proposition was somewhat far-fetched.  However, after viewing Arraez' 1st inning catch that arguably prevented the Spiders from winning the game, not to mention his 3-for-4, 2R, 3 RBI 8 TB (now .295/.365/.751) performance in today's (25 June) 7-8 win, a question must be put to the author: 

      Where are you sourcing your ganja?  This is really trippy stuff!

    There is no other player on the roster who comes close to the offensive performance Arraez consistently delivers [Correction:  Buck, when available].  The Twins would never want him playing against them, and the list of players the club could bring in from outside (risky!) to replace his value is frighteningly short.

    That "2" on Arraez' back is really a backwards "S."  Unless someone stashes a load of kryptonite in his locker, he is the Twins Super(utility)man.

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    I think Polanco and Arraez have about equal actual value but Polanco has greater trade value.    I like them both but would move Polanco before Arraez.   Simmons is on a one year contract.    Who is filling his spot?    I am ok with Polanco back at short.    No one is untouchable but I think Arraez is valuable and I don't think we would get much for him.

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    I'm fascinated by all the posts saying how valuable he is, but that the Twins wouldn't get value for him......Like, isn't what you'd get back 100% the measure of how valuable he is? In any event, I don't think there is ANY chance they deal him.

    More likely they deal Gordon as a throw in with another player, who goes onto have real value to a team that will actually play him (like, I don't know, a team whose CF is hurt and the prospect they have up can't hit MLB pitching yet......).

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    Yeah, I agree Mike.  Is Arraez valuable or not ???  At this point, the way this season is going, I think the Twins need to consider dealing almost anybody.  It always comes down to what the return is.  Arraez or Polanco should certainly be considered.  Cruz for sure---a contender will want that bat.  Guys like Donaldson & Sano should be dealt just to move salary with little consideration for what we would get back.  Kepler should also be heavily shopped.  Now that kiriloff and Larnach are up what kind of pitching could the Twins get for Max?  Plus, if you get prospects there's another $11-$12 million of salary relief.  On the other hand, I just don't see they sense in trading someone like Taylor Rogers when your BP stinks and he's the only trustworthy guy you have there.  

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