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  • The Case Against a New Shortstop for the Twins


    Theo Tollefson

    Aside from pitching, the position for the Twins with the biggest question mark on who will start there Opening Day is shortstop. The Twins are among free agency rumors in seeking a short term shortstop to fill the position, yet they have many options within the organization that could also play shortstop on Opening Day. What is the best option for the Twins to pursue?

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    With the World Series having concluded, fans of teams that have been sitting out most of October have already begun their prediction lists for the upcoming free agent class. Minnesota Twins fans are a part of this yearly “tradition” and rumors have speculated that the Twins will once again be going after a shortstop in free agency to improve the left side of the infield’s defense.

    As nice as it would be for the Twins to land a player like Javier Baez or Trevor Story from the stacked 2021-22 free agent shortstop class, they don't necessarily need to pursue a shortstop. There are several reasons why the Twins should not pursue a shortstop this offseason, and the lessons learned from signing Andrelton Simmons last offseason is an example why they should not.

    As always, the top priority that the Twins need to pursue this offseason is top quality starting pitching. Going after another high-cost shortstop will take away needed funds for the Twins to get a top free agent starter, such as Marcus Stroman or Kevin Gausman, within their budget. Even a one-year, $10 million deal offered to the likes of Jonathan Villar or Chris Taylor could easily take away needed money for one starting pitcher.

    Another reason for the Twins not to pursue any free agent shortstops is that they already have enough shortstops within the organization to work with. Jorge Polanco is likely to be the everyday second baseman in 2022. There will be some days where Polanco might see action at shortstop. 

    There are also a couple of top prospects that could be the long term shortstop for the Minnesota Twins; Royce Lewis and Austin Martin. Now, the timeframe in which either Martin or Lewis could be called up for their MLB debuts is still uncertain, yet the likelihood of them making their debuts in 2022 seems high. With the two top prospects in the Twins system (according to TwinsDaily) being shortstops, why would the Twins bother looking into signing a new one?

    On top of all these other factors, the infield depth for the Minnesota Twins is fairly stable as is without signing any of the shortstops in this year’s free agent class. Nick Gordon, finally made his MLB debut in 2021, proved he may be worthy of some starting time in 2022. Gordon was limited to 200 at bats this season, but if the Twins need someone to platoon at the position prior to calling up Martin or Lewis. 

    The 2021-22 offseason is still in its infancy and there will be many transactions made between now and the hopeful Opening Day of 2022. One thing that the Twins could still do between now and then is sign another shortstop from free agency. The Twins have players from within the organization that could help fill the role of an everyday shortstop however, most of these players are not ones who are used to playing there every day anymore. 

    As discussed before, Polanco looks to be the new everyday second baseman for the Twins, and Gordon a super utility player in training that looks to improve in 2022. 

    MLB is now in the era of baseball where no player has the guarantee of remaining at one position for their entire career, let alone an entire season. Polanco is a perfect case of that along with Luis Arraez. Martin too could be seeing a role similar to Arraez where he could be platooning multiple positions when called up, and a position such as center field could take priority for Martin over shortstop.

    For the Opening Day roster (as of right now), the best move for the Twins might be to find a player within the organization that can start at the position. With Polanco set to be at second base every day and Arraez at third when Josh Donaldson DHs, the guy to go with at shortstop is Nick Gordon. The Twins first pick from the 2014 MLB Draft has put in years of work to finally make the big leagues, almost seven years after being drafted. It’s only fair that the Twins give him a chance to start his first Opening Day when their top priority isn’t finding a new shortstop this offseason. 

    If the Twins do not decide to go with Gordon, there is one man who has been in the minor leagues much longer that is just as deserving as Gordon to deserve a spot on the Twins Opening Day roster in 2022; Drew Maggi. 11 seasons in the minors and getting the callup in September by the Twins only to not play a single game. It’s only fair that Maggi gets some consideration for Opening Day 2022. Of course, he is currently a minor league free agent, but the Twins could certainly bring him back. 

    Do you agree? Should the Twins hand the starting shortstop job to an internal candidate such as Nick Gordon, or bring back Drew Maggi and give him an opportunity? Or, should they get a mid-tier shortstop? Or, should they just pony up and add an elite shortstop and forget about adding pitching? 

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    Much prefer to sign a baller shortstop and trade Lewis or Martin for pitching.  Pohlad’s will never let that happen, I’m afraid, so we’ll go this route and continue to not compete with the pro teams.  (Sorry, I’m grumpy today, and I have little left in the tank for this team…)

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    Yup. Buxton now and Berrios next year should be our big $$ upcoming free agent priorities. I have no problem with bringing Simmons back for 2022 and have him platoon with Gordon and maybe even Lewis or an under-the-radar prospect in September. Cost effective and maybe even solid.

    I mean, if we can sign a bigger name FA SS, so be it. I don't want to break payroll or trade prospects for one. Maybe trade if we can get some kind of amazing steal for any combination of Kepler/Arraez/Rooker.

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    I am fine with this.  We do not have a contending team next year, but we are close.  Develop our SS - we can get by this year with Gordon, Polanco and two debuts.  Maybe Drew can help patch things together.  But without Buxton, without pitching we will be going no where.  With the launch angle fixation, CF has become more valuable than SS.  

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    None of the options you listed constitute a quality, or even average, MLB shortstop. 

    There isn't one in the organization. It's possible that at some point, Lewis might develop into one. It's a long shot for that to be any time on 2022.

    The Twins need to go outside the organization and fill the hole at SS, and  hopefully with an asset rather than a stopgap.

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    30 minutes ago, NatteringNabob said:

    Is anyone else happy that the next cornerstones of the franchise could be Martin and Lewis. I hope they’re as good as a baseball duo as they were in comedy. 

    Wait......

    Look what else is coming....

    OF = Larry, Moe & Curly

    OF Reserve = Shemp

    Catchers = Williams & Ree

    Starters = Abbott & Costello

    Starters = Burns & Allen

    Starters = Stiller & Meara

    Relievers = Laurel & Hardy

    Relievers = Cheech & Chong

    Relievers = Hudson & Landry

    Relievers = Homer & Jethro

    Infield = Chico, Harpo, Groucho & Zeppo

    IF Reserves = Penn & Teller

    Forget about seeing quality Major League baseball at Target Field in 2022

    But, you will be ROTFL at what takes place on the field !!

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    I hate being repetitive but the Twins should either give the job to Gordon or Palacios, or sign Jose Iglesias for a $3M.  Then devote every penny remaining to extending Buxton, finding a couple (or three) starters and at least two decent relievers either through free agency or trade (lots of extra outfielders - Rooker, Larnach, Wallner, etc.).  An outfield of Martin, Buxton, and Lewis in mid-2022 would be fun to watch.

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    Twins can offer exensions to Buxton until they are blue in the face.  It remains up to Buxton and his agent whether ANY of those extension offers are even considered, yet alone signed.  In the end, being a part of a successful, winning, contending, big market, high profile organizations will win out over whatever the Twins offer.  The Twins' organization needs to face up to the inevitable and plan on an existence WITHOUT Buxton.  Time to figure out NOW whether to trade him, trade him for what, or issue him a QA and take the draft pick when the QA is declined.  So then, who is in CF?? 

     

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    11 hours ago, Jacksson said:

    Twins can offer exensions to Buxton until they are blue in the face.  It remains up to Buxton and his agent whether ANY of those extension offers are even considered, yet alone signed.  In the end, being a part of a successful, winning, contending, big market, high profile organizations will win out over whatever the Twins offer.  The Twins' organization needs to face up to the inevitable and plan on an existence WITHOUT Buxton.  Time to figure out NOW whether to trade him, trade him for what, or issue him a QA and take the draft pick when the QA is declined.  So then, who is in CF?? 

     

    Who's on first.

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    23 hours ago, terrydactyls said:

    I hate being repetitive but the Twins should either give the job to Gordon or Palacios, or sign Jose Iglesias for a $3M.  Then devote every penny remaining to extending Buxton, finding a couple (or three) starters and at least two decent relievers either through free agency or trade (lots of extra outfielders - Rooker, Larnach, Wallner, etc.).  An outfield of Martin, Buxton, and Lewis in mid-2022 would be fun to watch.

    I like the Iglesias option or something similar as a stop gap until Lewis or Martin are ready.  Just admit that we will have a field first no-hit SS for 2022 but it will help the GB pitchers like Dobnak.  Save the $$$ for pitching at this point.

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    On 11/10/2021 at 1:42 PM, Dave The Dastardly said:

    Agree. The Twins have two priorities; signing Buxton to a long term deal and adding a quality starting pitcher. Both are going to cost mucho bucks. So forget shopping for a free agent shortstop and give Gordon the chance to prove he can play short better than Polanco.

    I wish the Twins had played Gordon full time at SS the last month of the season.

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    On 11/10/2021 at 3:45 PM, Jacksson said:

    Wait......

    Look what else is coming....

    OF = Larry, Moe & Curly

    OF Reserve = Shemp

    Catchers = Williams & Ree

    Starters = Abbott & Costello

    Starters = Burns & Allen

    Starters = Stiller & Meara

    Relievers = Laurel & Hardy

    Relievers = Cheech & Chong

    Relievers = Hudson & Landry

    Relievers = Homer & Jethro

    Infield = Chico, Harpo, Groucho & Zeppo

    IF Reserves = Penn & Teller

    Forget about seeing quality Major League baseball at Target Field in 2022

    But, you will be ROTFL at what takes place on the field !!

    Now you're in trouble with RandBalls Stu for stealing a great article idea.

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    Good write up , I'm on board and have been with a philosophy of better pitching for years , 

    Quality Pitching,  pitching and more pitching  , starters and relief  .....

    Sign Buxton....

     

    Priorities for this off season as written above ,,, 

    Options for ss within our organization are reasonable ..

    But if they could sign Iglesias or Galvin for 3 million who are  better hitters than Simmons  I don't think that would break the bank  .... 

    Simmons  defense would also be worth 3 million but no more , he would have to earn a raise for 2023 with better hitting and I think he could be in position for a rebound season with the bat    .....

     

    AGAIN FOR PRIORITIES  ... 

    sign Buxton to an extension  or lose the diehard twins fanbase  ...

    Sign quality pitching that can go 6 innings or more and sign quality shutdown relief pitchers  , and sign that quality pitching to extended contracts to open our window of contention up ,

     our below average pitching that they have signed in years past have proven we will never win a playoff games ,,,

     

    Last pitcher to win a twins playoff game was an ace , cy young winner named Santana 

     

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    Royce Lewis has been out for awhile and it would be miraculous if he wore a Twins uniform before next June or even July. Polanco has moved to 2B. It sure seems like the Twins were clear on Nick Gordon as a shortstop for the last few years, but maybe that can change now. Given the work that Simmons put in last year (good defense), it might be ok to use Gordon and Lewis in 2022. I might prefer Javy Baez and someone else might prefer Trevor Story or others prefer Mondesi, Galvis, or Inglesias. The post is wondering about just using what is already on the roster and it may work. This would allow for a stronger push for pitchers.

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