Jump to content
Twins Daily
  • Create Account
  • 4 Shortstop Options for the 2023 Twins


    Cody Christie

    Royce Lewis is heading for season-ending knee surgery for the second consecutive season. So, what shortstop options are the Twins left with for the first half of next season?

    Image courtesy of Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports

    Twins Video

    Royce Lewis made his presence known at the big-league level in his debut. He showcased the offensive and defensive skills that made him one of baseball's top prospects. Lewis' injury sidelines him for 12 months, which can put the team's shortstop plans into question for 2023 and beyond. Here are four options for the team to explore at the shortstop position.

    Pay Carlos Correa
    Carlos Correa signed a unique three-year contract with the Twins this winter, allowing him to opt out following each season. Many expect Correa to opt-out and test the free-agent market again. During his Twins tenure, he has spoken highly of the team, which can have fans hope that he will stick around. However, he will likely make $300 million or more as the top-ranked free agent for the second consecutive season. Signing Correa to a long-term deal likely means that Lewis would switch to a different defensive position, but having two potential shortstops can benefit a team.

    Sign a Bridge Player
    Before signing Correa, many assumed the Twins would pursue a short-term shortstop solution. By doing this, the organization could bridge the gap to when the organization's shortstop prospects were prepared to take over at the big-league level. It looked like the Twins were going to do this when the team acquired Isiah Kiner-Falefa for Mitch Garver. Every off-season, a handful of glove-first shortstops are available on one-year deals. Minnesota tried this with Andrelton Simmons, but the results were disastrous. There is a chance the team will look to a cheaper option, trying to rebuild value before hitting the free-agent market again. 

    Look to Internal Options
    Another option for the Twins is to turn to internal options until Lewis returns in the second half of 2023. On the 40-man roster, the other shortstop options are Jermaine Palacios and Nick Gordon. Palacios played eight games so far in 2022 as he went 5-for-24 (.208), but he showcased some strong defensive abilities at shortstop. Gordon has played over 120 big-league games with an 85 OPS+, but the Twins have hesitated to use him at shortstop. Top prospects Austin Martin is another potential shortstop option, but his stock has dropped since the Twins acquired him last summer. He's also struggled defensively at short, and there is a chance the team will want to use him as a trade chip before the deadline

    Pursue a Different Big-Name Free Agent
    Next year's free-agent shortstop class features some strong names outside the potential of Correa opting out of his deal. Trea Turner, Xander Bogaerts, and Dansby Swanson can test free agency for the first time. Turner is one of baseball's best all-around players, and he and Correa will be competing for significant contracts from some of baseball's big market teams. Bogaerts and Swanson are in the next tier of free agent shortstops as both rank in the top-3 at their position, according to FanGraphs WAR. Next season, Bogaerts will turn 30-years-old, but he has averaged a 134 OPS+ since the start of 2018. Swanson, the 2015 first overall pick, is having arguably his best season with a 120 OPS+. 

    Luckily, Minnesota has time to plan what next year will look like at the shortstop position. Many of these options have pros and cons, but Lewis' injury may have shifted the team's focus for 2023. 

    What option do you think the Twins will choose? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

     

    MORE FROM TWINS DAILY
    — Latest Twins coverage from our writers
    — Recent Twins discussion in our forums
    — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
    — Become a Twins Daily Caretaker

     Share


    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments



    Featured Comments

    I'm hoping Correa returns. It does seem likely that Correa will opt out of his contract. That, of course, would be a big loss. I would not be surprised if he chooses to return for another year though.

    Jermaine Palacios plays a really good shortstop and he is improving with the bat. I'm in favor of the defense holding at shortstop. 

    The external options are expensive with Trea Turner being the best option. There will be at least three teams willing to spend money for shortstops: Philadelphia, LA Dodgers, and Chicago Cubs. The question is how much and for how many years. Baseball has been retreating from long term expensive contracts. The Twins shouldn't be as worried about shortstop as they were last offseason.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    With the Twins doing so well with the young pitchers and batters, and even more crushing it in the minors, the team really should be able to do the Quality over Quantity free agent bit for the foreseeable future. There shouldn't be a half dozen holes that can only be filled outside of the organization.

    And with Lewis back on the shelf, even with all those young players, none of them appear imminently in need of one of the big money pre-arbitration extensions. I mean as much as I like Joe Ryan, he's not going to be a free agent until his age 32 season. I mean, you could do Arraez, but he'd likely just get a small bump from the Polanco/Kepler blueprint.

    The Twins payroll should be naturally low for quite some time; Correa makes a lot of sense.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    On name in the internal options not mentioned is Spencer Steer.  He has played some over there, and assuming he is not the best defensive option, but has a lot of offense upside, if he can balance enough he could be a bridge until Lewis is ready next year.

    I highly doubt we land a top FA SS.  Correa was an odd situation where for some reason no one was willing to give his asking price.  Now it is possible that teams will shy away from some of those deals as the big SS signings so far have not done great.  Seager and Seimien with Tex have OPS around .700.  Baez he is fielding fine, but he is hitting terrible for making 20 mil. Story had a hot stretch for like 2 weeks in May, outside of that he has been below replacement player earning 20 mil. Correa has been by far best of them all, and will most likely command the 300 mil he is looking for.  I doubt we pay it. 

    Could we hope one of the other 3 top guys agree to something closer to what we want to pay, maybe, but only if last years crop scare off a few teams, which for the LA's and East Coast teams I doubt it will. 

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I was shocked when Correa chose to sign with the Twins last spring.

    That first shocking event has placed in motion a series of other events: a welcoming clubhouse, the Twins emerging as a first-place team, Correa's increasing value (.884 OPS in May, 1.611 so far in June), and now the tragic event--Royce Lewis' injury--and 12 months of rehab--the second time this has happened.

    Other events could unfold in 2022: a pennant race, a postseason run, and a degree of success and team and organizational chemistry built upon that first shocking event. 

    This is the window of opportunity. Events have traspired. The Twins have a sudden longer-term need for leadership and stability at the shortstop position. Carlos Correa fulfills that need. 

    Signing Correa long-term would be an historic event. But it is logical, and makes good sense. I wouldn't be "shocked" if the Twins organization lets Correa slip away, but I would be disappointed. 

    That first shocking event has made the eventual signing of Carlos Correa to a long term contract both logical and probable. It just makes sense. Sign the man. I will not be shocked if it happens. 

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    48 minutes ago, tony&rodney said:

    I'm hoping Correa returns. It does seem likely that Correa will opt out of his contract. That, of course, would be a big loss. I would not be surprised if he chooses to return for another year though.

    Jermaine Palacios plays a really good shortstop and he is improving with the bat. I'm in favor of the defense holding at shortstop. 

    The external options are expensive with Trea Turner being the best option. There will be at least three teams willing to spend money for shortstops: Philadelphia, LA Dodgers, and Chicago Cubs. The question is how much and for how many years. Baseball has been retreating from long term expensive contracts. The Twins shouldn't be as worried about shortstop as they were last offseason.

    One factor that might help us hold on to Correa is that the market was full last year and many teams now have expensive SS obligations.  That led to Correa going for our short term offer.  Five of the top `10 prospects on MLB.com are SS. Bogaerts, Turner, Andrus, Gregorius and Swanson are all potential free agents.  At some point the SS positions are filled and the big spenders are gone.  Correa could fall to us again.  

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Obviously, Correa is everyone's first choice.  If he doesn't stay, I would give Palacios a shot for a year.  If Kirilloff is healthy--it looks like he is--the lineup will have enough punch with Buxton, Arraez, Polanco, Kirilloff, Miranda, Larnach, Urshela, Celestino, Kepler and maybe others coming up to allow Palacios to play even if he doesn't hit a ton, and I think he might do ok at the plate anyway.  Also, we have Steer in the mix that could also factor sometimes.  Even if the Twins end up trading one of the prospects for pitching, there will still be plenty of offense.  The question long term with Lewis is if he will still have the same athleticism after a second major surgery on the same knee.  I think he will, but it is not a slam dunk that he will.  I would stay away from free agent shortstops at this point.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Palacios was suppose to be emergency SS at AAA, this year. If Correa moves on and Twins promote Palacios to fulltime SS for Twins, there is very little depth behind him. Steer played some SS at AA this year, not much at that level. Javier at A+ and 19 year old Miller at A. Will definitely need some additions, whether it is SS for Twins or depth at AAA and AA.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I don't see any way Correa is back next year short of a serious injury for him this year, or a collapse in the shortstop market. (Last year's market was warped by the extended lock out, which won't happen next year.)

    Correa has done nothing but add to his value so far, and for his part he will need to sign the long term deal he wants/needs ASAP since year-to-year contracts as he starts to edge out of his prime years means he would likely lose a LOT of money 5-10 years from now.

    Which is precisely why the Twins should NOT be the team that signs him to the long term deal. This isn't NY or Boston or LA or Chicago where there is a huge reservoir of TV money to cover the wasted back ends of these long deals, and the back ends ARE ALWAYS wasted money (or more rationally money paid over ten years for 5-7 years of prime output).

    (Want a current example? Everybody is excited that Miguel Cabrera got his 3000th hit this season, and he's great for baseball and all, but... the Tigers over the past 5.33 seasons have paid him a total of $158 million for a combined WAR of -1.1. Just as his contract helped make the Tigers very good in the early days, it all but locked in their ongoing status as bottom feeders for the past half-decade. The Twins simply can't afford the 10 year, $300 million thing for a SS who would be in his late 30s at the end.)

    Options 2 and 3 are the same thing. Play Palacios until Royce is ready, and use him to spell Royce after that. Gio would be an internal option as well if he is back, and if he hits enough to justify the drop in D; Miranda could play third. Gordon would need a lot of work before I'd want to see him everyday, but I'd give him that shot in Spring Training.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    While it isn't my first choice, it's not like Polanco can't play SS ... if they don't have another option next year.

    Also, I get this site needs daily content, but I really don't get why we are talking about this in June...

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    It would be amazing if Correa would stay another year. He has not been tearing it up like I feel he had hoped he would. I pray that encourages him to stay with Minnesota, for one more season. After that, turn things over to Lewis who showed he is more than capable of manning that position for years to come. I would not be too concerned with the knee issues. Everyone on this site during the pre-season said Arraez would do nothing because he has 'knee issues'.

    Knees are a big deal, but I feel it is more about the person with the issues. Lewis is a tough kid and will work his butt off to get back. He will put in the work others wouldn't. The very same can be said about Arraez. That work is paying off for Arraez with the team inventing ways to get him into the lineup. The same will be true for Lewis, too.

    If Correa does not wish to return and go for the money, then we need to pivot. If we can make a deal similar to his with one of those other top guys, then great. Otherwise, we will need to look in house and know that Lewis will be ready as soon as he can be. The Twins don't seem to have a problem continuing to wait each and every time Buxton is hurt. I think they can wait for Lewis, too.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    2 hours ago, nicksaviking said:

    With the Twins doing so well with the young pitchers and batters, and even more crushing it in the minors, the team really should be able to do the Quality over Quantity free agent bit for the foreseeable future. There shouldn't be a half dozen holes that can only be filled outside of the organization.

    And with Lewis back on the shelf, even with all those young players, none of them appear imminently in need of one of the big money pre-arbitration extensions. I mean as much as I like Joe Ryan, he's not going to be a free agent until his age 32 season. I mean, you could do Arraez, but he'd likely just get a small bump from the Polanco/Kepler blueprint.

    The Twins payroll should be naturally low for quite some time; Correa makes a lot of sense.

    And because of this the Twins can go ahead and sign Correa to an 8 year 290 million contract extension.  They will have plenty of money in the budget for the first half of the contract and they shouldn’t have to juggle too much the 2nd half of it.  And if we can win the World Series so what

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Finally, I really like our position at SS, we are pretty flexible, even with Lewis's injury. If we can work out a deal with CC fine, if not we can go with Palacio and Gordon until Lewis is 100%. I've always advocated Palacio, he plays a pretty good SS and his bat will eventually come around. I'm also a fan of bringing up Palacio to sub CC now, he also played a lot of utility while Lewis was in AAA, While up he'll learn a lot from CC

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    We NEED his defense; do not know how good the rookies are, or may be, but for two years we have had a third, ss, second base combo that has saved the Twins from being worse than they were last year and help be as good as they are this  year.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    1 hour ago, Mike Sixel said:

    While it isn't my first choice, it's not like Polanco can't play SS ... if they don't have another option next year.

    Also, I get this site needs daily content, but I really don't get why we are talking about this in June...

    And if it is to be talked about, might as well give us a few names mentioned in the Bridge Player FA section.  I was originally thinking 4 SS options was going to be specific names vs. the summary.  (IE - Correa, Swanson, Palacios, and ...Aledmys Diaz?)

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Here is a list of the biggest contracts signed by the teams in the bottom half of revenue.  Nine of the 15 teams have signed a $150M plus deal with the largest being Stanton for 13/325.  The highest annual salary paid by Miami was $14.5M and they traded the year his salary was to increase to $25M.  The Dbacks traded Greinke after 3 years and they had to sub 500 seasons while they had him.  The Mariners were able to unload the horrible decision to sign Cano to a contract for 10/240.  Thatb was fortunate because it would be an anchor for them now.  Votto has been good but the Reds have been horrible with the exception of the first year of the extension.  Yehlich has been mediocre since signing his deal.  A couple were so disastrous (Davis / Cabrera) they could not be moved.  None of these $150M+ deals resulting in success for the team, at least not for the teams that originally signed them.

    Orioles: Chris Davis – 7 years, $161MM.  Signed 1-21-16.
    Athletics: Eric Chavez – 6 years, $66MM.  Signed 3-18-04.
    Brewers: Christian Yelich – 7 years, $188.5MM.  Signed 3-6-2020.
    Diamondbacks: Zack Greinke – 6 years, $206.5MM.  Signed 12-8-15.
    Indians: Edwin Encarnacion – 3 years, $60MM.  Signed 1-7-17.
    Mariners:  Robinson Cano – 10 years, $240MM.  Signed 12-12-13.
    Marlins:  Giancarlo Stanton – 13 years, $325MM.  Signed 11-18-14.
    Pirates: Jason Kendall – 6 years, $60MM.  Signed 11-18-00.
    Rays: Evan Longoria – 6 years, $100MM ( plus three club options for another $30MM).  Signed 11-26-12.
    Reds: Joey Votto – 10 years, $225MM.  Signed 4-2-12.
    Rockies: Nolan Arenado – 7 years, $234MM.  Signed 2-26-19.
    Royals: Alex Gordon – 4 years, $72MM.  Signed 1-6-16.
    Tigers:  Miguel Cabrera – 8 years, $248MM.  Signed 3-31-14.
    Twins: Joe Mauer – 8 years, $184MM.  Signed 3-21-10.
    White Sox: Yasmani Grandal – 4 years, $73MM. Signed 11-21-19.
     

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I never had any personal dislike for Correa, even with the Houston scandal. But I've become a huge fan. He is an absolute joy to watch in the field! He makes almost every other SS look mediocre. The bat is good. The work ethic and clubhouse attitude is excellent. He seems to bring a real professionalism and leadership. I would enjoy him being a Twin for some time. And with all his tools, I can see him being a real asset until 32-33yo or so.

    But even if the market is flooded a bit and down a bit and he would have to "settle" for 8yrs and $30M per, we're still talking $240M minimum and $30M per while he's 35yo. Now, you might be able to front load that deal for the first few years while such of the roster is young and cost controlled. That's the only way I see Correa sticking around. I'm just being realistic.

    Palacios will never be a great hitter. But last season and this one he's turned a corner and showed that some of the early potential he showed when first signed is real. He can hit and run a bit and has a little pop. The glove is legit. I'd probably run with him, probably give him some competition on a 1yr option with someone, and let it ride. I've got Gordon, Urshela, and Steer to all provide some back up.

    But it's only June, the Twins are having a fine and and fun season, so I'm going to enjoy them and Correa and not worry too much about 2023 at this point.

     

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    3 hours ago, RpR said:

    We NEED his defense; do not know how good the rookies are, or may be, but for two years we have had a third, ss, second base combo that has saved the Twins from being worse than they were last year and help be as good as they are this  year.

    Well pretty much every metric says his defense is poor this year. I've seen the free agent rankings that put Correa above Xandar Bogaerts solely because of Bogaerts' defense, yet he's ahead of Correa everywhere you look.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I think worth considering that if Correa were to sign long term (a) he would accept a lower year average (not by much, but think $31-32, at 10 years; if the Twins can afford him at this level, they can afford him a bit lower). This is a team currently with two of its three biggest contracts ever, but it's still about $10 million below its highest total.

    Secondly, if Correa signs, all the SS prospects become either backup candidates or trade candidates. At some point, the Twins are going to need to trade for something, whether starting pitchers or most likely a top catching candidate. Of course you want a back up SS, but it will make it useful to have these players who could be used by other teams if Correa becomes a long term figure in this org.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    5 minutes ago, Peter Labuza said:

    I think worth considering that if Correa were to sign long term (a) he would accept a lower year average (not by much, but think $31-32, at 10 years; if the Twins can afford him at this level, they can afford him a bit lower). This is a team currently with two of its three biggest contracts ever, but it's still about $10 million below its highest total.

    Secondly, if Correa signs, all the SS prospects become either backup candidates or trade candidates. At some point, the Twins are going to need to trade for something, whether starting pitchers or most likely a top catching candidate. Of course you want a back up SS, but it will make it useful to have these players who could be used by other teams if Correa becomes a long term figure in this org.

    I think if Correa were likely getting a 10 year/$300m contract he'd have gotten one last winter. 

     

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    No way do I sign him long term. However I would go to him an extra $10 million if he opts in for next year. Consider it a penalty for the dumb decision you made with Lewis. 

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I believe that the Twins will sign Correa t a long term contract and that they can’t afford not to. It’s similar in importance for them to sign Correa to a long term contract as it was with Buxton last offseason.

    Correa is a franchise player. For those of us who remember, it would be akin to letting Lyman Bostock walk after the 1977 season.

    Correa likes it here and has expressed an openness to negotiate a long term contract with the Twins. They Twins must extend him and in doing so, they will have a vastly greater chance of winning playoff games and advancing to the World Series and winning it.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites




    Join the conversation

    You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
    Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

    Guest
    Add a comment...

    ×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

      Only 75 emoji are allowed.

    ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

    ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

    ×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

    Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...