Minnesota has multiple items on its offseason checklist, including finding a shortstop, upgrading the offense, and adding to the bullpen. It's also the time of year when teams can approach players about long-term extensions. The Twins have kept their payroll clean for multiple years into the future, and now is the time to capitalize on the organization's flexibility.
2022 Recap: Minnesota originally signed Luis Arraez back in 2013, so the 2022 season marked his ninth season in the Twins organization. As a prospect, Arraez showed signs of the type of hitter he'd become at the big-league level. In nearly 370 minor league games, he batted over .330 and got on base over 38.5% of the time. His limited power and lack of defense skills dropped him on prospect rankings, but his hit tool has followed him throughout the organization.
During the 2022 season, he played in over 125 games for the first time in his career, which helped him to qualify for many of the accolades he received at the season's conclusion. His first half was tremendous as he hit .338/.411/.445 (.856) on the way to his first All-Star Game selection. There were second-half struggles as he fought through injuries. In 60 games, his batting average dropped to .289 with a .715 OPS. Clearly, he wanted to stay on the field to fight for the batting title and kept Aaron Judge from achieving the Triple Crown.
Besides his All-Star Game appearance, Arraez has been honored with multiple awards since the season concluded. He became the inaugural winner of the Silver Slugger for utility players as he beat out Shohei Ohtani for the honor. At Twins Daily, Arraez beat out Carlos Correa for the team MVP honor. He was also the only Twins player to receive votes for the AL MVP as he finished 13th overall.
Current Contract: Arraez was arbitration-eligible for the first time in 2022 as he accumulated enough service time to be designated a Super-Two player. He earned $2.125 million last season, and the Twins have team control over him through the 2025 season. MLB Trade Rumors projects Arraez to make $5 million through the arbitration process this season. He's starting to get expensive, and this might be the best time for the Twins to lock him up long-term.
Contract Proposal: The Twins control Arraez through his age-27 season, so the front office needs to decide what value he provides the team in his late-20s and early-30s. The 25-year-old already doesn't have a defensive home while fighting multiple injuries in his career. The Twins will have younger and cheaper options with a similar skill set when Arraez is no longer under team control. That being said, his hit tool should age well, and the Twins may want him as a veteran leader in the future.
Over the last two seasons, FanGraphs says Arraez provided the Twins $38 million in value. It seems unlikely for the club to offer him an extension that pays him near the value he has provided, but the team can be creative. Minnesota bought out free agent years from Max Kepler and Jorge Polanco by providing both players with guaranteed money. Both deals look like very team-friendly deals in retrospect, and it will be interesting to see if the Twins can do something similar with Arraez.
Kepler and Polanco can provide a blueprint for a deal that might work for Arraez and the Twins. Polanco was guaranteed $25.75 million with options that could make it worth $47.25 million. Kepler's contract was worth $35 million with an option that takes the total value to $44 million. Would Arraez sign a contract that pays him $50-55 million for five years? This type of contract gives the Twins some cost certainty while also allowing Arraez to get life-changing money.
Do the Twins want Arraez past his age-28 season? What kind of deal can keep him in Minnesota? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
OTHER EXTENSION CANDIDATES
- Sonny Gray