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  • Ranking the Top-5 Twins by Trade Value


    Cody Christie

    With the trade deadline approaching, every team will have to take stock of the players in their organization. Who are the top-five Twins players according to trade value?

     

    Image courtesy of Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

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    Annually, FanGraphs creates a top-50 list that ranks players based on their perceived trade value. According to the series, “The central question I considered is straightforward: how much value could a team expect to receive in return for each player on the list? It’s not who would solicit the great number of offers, or the highest average value of the trade offers a team would receive if they put this player on the trading block – it’s who would fetch the highest return if the entire league were making trade bids on each player.”

    Players closer to free agency rank lower because the value of their current contract is declining. Stars on big contracts also don’t rank well because there isn’t a lot of surplus value in their production. On the Twins, Carlos Correa fits both of these areas as he is on a large contract and can opt to hit free agency at the season’s conclusion. Other younger players, like Jose Miranda and Alex Kirilloff, are just starting to come into their own, so their big-league track record makes it harder to predict future value. Again, these aren’t necessarily the players Minnesota will trade before the deadline, but they are the ones that could receive the highest return. So, who are the team’s most valuable trade assets?

    5. Max Kepler, RF
    Contract Status: Signed thru 2023, 5 yrs/$32.13M (19-23) & 24 team option ($10.00M)

    At this point last season, Max Kepler ranked 45th on FanGraphs’ list because he had multiple years of control on a team-friendly deal. He’s having a resurgent offensive season with the second highest OPS+ of his career. Defensively, he may be compiling his best numbers in the field as he is currently on pace to be a Gold Glove finalist in right field. FanGraphs moved him out of their top 50 because he is one year closer to free agency. 

    4. Jorge Polanco, 2B
    Contract Status: Signed thru 2023, 5 yrs/$25.75M (19-23) & 24-25 vesting/team option ($10.5M/$12M)

    Last season, FanGraphs included Jorge Polanco on its honorable mention list because he was close to the same contract situation as Kepler. They dropped him from the list this year, but the author had a tough time leaving him out of the top 50. Polanco has three more years of team control and is underpaid relative to the value he produces. Many teams would be more than happy to regularly plug Polanco’s name into the line-up.  

    3. Joe Ryan, SP
    Contract Status: Pre-Arbitration Eligible, Earliest Free Agency: 2028 

    Joe Ryan is one of baseball’s best young starters and is under team control for five more seasons. Minnesota can also pay him close to the league minimum until he becomes arbitration eligible in 2025. It’s still hard to believe the Twins got Ryan for two months of Nelson Cruz, but baseball can be a funny game sometimes. Solid young pitchers under team control are one of baseball’s most valuable assets, and that’s why Ryan ranks higher than the players behind him. 

    2. Luis Arraez, UTL
    Contract Status: Pre-Arbitration Eligible, Earliest Free Agency: 2026

    FanGraphs ranks Luis Arraez as having baseball’s 42nd highest trade value, which is quite the jump since he wasn’t even an honorable mention last season. Arraez is near the top of baseball in batting average and on-base percentage while leading the Twins in Baseball-Reference WAR. Arraez loses some overall trade value because he doesn’t have a strong defensive position, and all of his offensive value is tied to one skill. Overall, he’s one of baseball’s best hitters, and he has yet to hit arbitration. 

    1. Byron Buxton, CF
    Contract Status: Signed thru 2028, 7 yrs/$100M (22-28)

    Thankfully, the Twins were able to sign Byron Buxton to a very team-friendly deal for him to remain in Minnesota throughout the prime of his career. Buxton is rewarding the team handsomely with the best season of his career, including his first All-Star appearance. Buxton checks all the boxes regarding trade value as he is one of baseball’s best overall players, and his base salary starts at $15.1 million. Obviously, injuries have been part of Buxton’s professional career, but the Twins have given him regular rest this season, and he has continued to produce. 

    How would you rank the Twins according to trade value? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. 

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    I generally agree with your list, but if I were a GM calling the Twins, the player I'd ask for in any trade for an established player was Duran. He has great upside potential and a long period of team control. You worry about an injury to any pitcher who throws as hard as he does, but still - he needs to be on the list somewhere. Of course, the Twins wouldn't trade him, but Buxton is first on the list, and I seriously doubt they'd consider trading him either.

     

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    And the point of this list of "Five Most Tradeable" is what, exactly?  Only Kepler is likely to be moved, the other four are essential pieces of whatever it is the Twins think they can do.  It must be a slow news day if you're running filler like this...

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    2 hours ago, Dman said:

    Buxton can be on the list but in reality with a no trade clause he technically doesn't have any trade value because he cannot be traded.  He only signed that lower AAV incentive laden deal so that he could have the security to keep his family in Minnesota.  So not really a tradable option IMO.

    Having a no-trade clause doesn't mean the player cannot be traded.  It just gives him veto power over a trade.

    And signing a contract with a no-trade clause doesn't necessarily mean the player wants to stay forever.  He may just want to ensure that he isn't traded to a team out of contention.

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    1 hour ago, Boom Boom said:

    Having a no-trade clause doesn't mean the player cannot be traded.  It just gives him veto power over a trade.

    And signing a contract with a no-trade clause doesn't necessarily mean the player wants to stay forever.  He may just want to ensure that he isn't traded to a team out of contention.

    While I don't completely disagree, still unless the relationship with Buxton gets extremely damaged his statements all indicate a big part of his decision to stay in Minnesota is stability not only for him but his family.  You can read the rest of the article here. Anything can happen but given how he made the decision with family in mind I would say the odds are extremely low. I think quote below is key to his thinking about his contract and Minnesota. 

    ""My family took a big part of this," Buxton said. "They're comfortable here. The [comfort] here is a big key for what we want to do, and the stability, just knowing that we don't have to go anywhere, that we can put our boys through school and not really have to worry about it too much, is the biggest key."

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    I have no idea what credence people give to baseballtradevalues.com values (It's probably been beaten to death here, but I admit I don't peruse the comment sections like I used to, so forgive me if such is the case), but I've found it to be surprisingly accurate when I look at trades that occur. 

    For example, according to the tool, The Yankees received $8.1M in Benintendi's median value, for which they gave up 3 minor leaguers with a total value of $7.4M. So... not too far off.

    So, just for comparison, here are that tool's top 5 Twins based on trade value:

    1. Polanco 39.4

    2-3 (Tie) Ryan, Arraez 32

    4. Larnach 28.4

    5. Lewis 26.1

    And, just for kicks, these 3 players also had median values of $20M+: Kirilloff (24.2), Kepler (22), Miranda (20.3).

    Interesting others of lower value: Buxton (13.2), Correa (15.4), Duran (15.1), Jeffers (17.8), Martin (11), Ober (15.2), E. Rodriguez (14.2), Steer (14), Thielbar (10.1), Winder 13.2.

    Are there some headscratchers there? Yeah, seems like it. For example, some guys on IL are probably not valued terribly high until their recovery from whatever ails them is assured. But it's a fun tool to look at whenever trades are proposed.

     

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    Buxton has a huge contract in front of him and he's an All Star caliber player, not an MVP caliber player even when he's playing. Buxton was the 4th best CF in the AL by WAR at the All Star break this year and he's close to a pace for being qualified for the 2nd time in his career. 

    Considering his big contract, Buxton doesn't generate a ton of surplus value. The dreams of a 10 WAR season are so far fetched...

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    An interesting stat/list, but it's only applicable to sellers, not buyers.

    A list of trade value for prospects would be far more relevant at the trade deadline. The only player on here who still has that title is Ryan, and the Twins are not trading a reliable MLB-ready arm at this point.

    Also, I'm amazed Arraez isn't even arbitration eligible yet. He seems like such a savvy vet at this point.

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    Since we are not sellers this year there is no trade value in any of these except maybe Kepler. Since he is having a very good year (for him), he could be moved for a starter and a minor leaguer or two. Otherwise I see us trading some prospects for a solid reliever or two. I'd love to get a couple of young flamethrowers like Bednar from Pittsburgh.

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    I don't understand this list. I agree with Polanco, Arraez, & Ryan, all having an argument for five most valuable trade chips.

    Buxton and Kepler are so out of place though. Kirilloff, Miranda, & Duran, all have far more trade value than those two. Probably Bailey Ober as well (at least until the mysterious injury that has him sidelined for months past the original eval predictions). 

    If you text the Reds GM and start the negotiation with Max Kepler, you might get a "Is this a joke? I'm not in the mood." in response...and you become a laughing stock as a screenshot of your offer goes viral thru the leagues front offices. You are terminated 17 minutes later after Dave St. Peter gets the screenshot, can never find a job in baseball again, become an alcoholic to cope with your dream life evaporating, and die of jaundice at the age of 52. 

    You offer Miranda, and the Reds GM probably responds with, "That's a good start. We'd also like two of the three following guys to be included. I got the Dodgers offering xxx right now."

    That's trade value. Don't mistakenly offer Max Kepler thinking he has trade value. It's bad for your health.

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    4 hours ago, Omardog said:

    And the point of this list of "Five Most Tradeable" is what, exactly?  Only Kepler is likely to be moved, the other four are essential pieces of whatever it is the Twins think they can do.  It must be a slow news day if you're running filler like this...

    It's a discussion piece. Like, literally something a national site does also. Not sure why you read it if you weren't interested.....

    I agree with Cody and fangraphs, Buxton is at the top. I think Miranda will be on the list next year, or so least honorable mention. 

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    My list would not include Kepler, even though he's the first one I'd like to move of the 5 you have listed. I think the way Miranda has hit the ball the last month he'd have to be on the list if you pick another hitter to replace Kepler. I actually think he's going to be better than Kirilloff. If you pick a pitcher then I go Duran. ............... 5.Duran/Miranda, 4.Buxton, 3.Polanco, 2.Arraez, 1.Ryan.

    I value a promising top starting pitcher more than a hitter. Buxton drops to #4 because he cannot stay healthy and is starting to look like a one dimensional hitter, (high HR and low BA). 

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    8 hours ago, Minny505 said:

    I don't understand this list. I agree with Polanco, Arraez, & Ryan, all having an argument for five most valuable trade chips.

    Buxton and Kepler are so out of place though. Kirilloff, Miranda, & Duran, all have far more trade value than those two. Probably Bailey Ober as well (at least until the mysterious injury that has him sidelined for months past the original eval predictions). 

    If you text the Reds GM and start the negotiation with Max Kepler, you might get a "Is this a joke? I'm not in the mood." in response...and you become a laughing stock as a screenshot of your offer goes viral thru the leagues front offices. You are terminated 17 minutes later after Dave St. Peter gets the screenshot, can never find a job in baseball again, become an alcoholic to cope with your dream life evaporating, and die of jaundice at the age of 52. 

    You offer Miranda, and the Reds GM probably responds with, "That's a good start. We'd also like two of the three following guys to be included. I got the Dodgers offering xxx right now."

    That's trade value. Don't mistakenly offer Max Kepler thinking he has trade value. It's bad for your health.

    Teams in contention would be all over Kepler if we were so inclined.

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    I must be missing something.  How does Kepler hold more trade value than Kirilloff or Miranda?  Trust me, if he did, the Twins would trade him.

    I happen to have all three in my simulation fantasy (keeper) leagues, and Miranda is the one everyone wants.  Nobody wants Kepler.  And we don't have salaries or contracts running out.

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    Everyone talks of pitching which is needed, but I think we also need to think of more consistent hitting as well. To make a run in the playoffs we do need more than what we have right now. A few pieces added makes us dangerous. 

    Boston is on the fringe of dealing Devers. He is a horrible defender at 3rd, but would be a massive upgrade if moved to 1st base and is a pending free agent. If we sent Spencer Steer, Gio Urshela, Miguel Sano and even a Max Kepler; the Red Sox would get some value with upside from Steer, a serviceable replacement at 3rd and a team friendly corner outfielder. Sano brings them a wildcard but his swing plays well with the green monster if he can connect. 😂 The Twins get an elite bat that could be extended as a long term solution at 1st base and we would have the capital to do this if Correa walks. If we lose Devers in the off-season, we still freed up enough salary from offloading Urshela, Sano, and Kepler to go after some decent free agents and we would be a more attractive teams with the success we stand to gain from Devers for landing potential free agents. 


    This solves some of the 40 man logjam issues of the upcoming off-season and Kepler would probably be a tough loss, because he can play CF (when Buxton gets hurt) and is a fantastic defender, but with Urshela not being a force to depend on in the playoffs, Sano being inconsistent, and Kepler being solid but too streaky at the plate. 

    Arraez could go to 3rd base and continue being a spark plug for the offense with slightly less than average defense (same as Urshela). Kiriloff could move to the outfield to backfill Kepler with serviceable defense and a more consistent bat, and Miranda can get a lot more playing time as a super utility player. 
     

    I still am all for going in on two upgrades for the rotation like Montas and perhaps Martin Perez. I like going after sleepers for relief pitching like Matt Moore from Texas and Daniel Bard from Colorado.  We should not be afraid to trade Austin Martin, SWR, Jordan B, Blaine Enlow or a few other prospects to get this done.  

    We will lose Correa most likely this off-season.  These kinds of moves actually give us a chance against the Yankees. If the team can stay healthy, but we do need another elite bat like Devers to make a run against teams with elite pitching. 

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    If I were the Angels with Trout's back issues, I might really ask for Kepler as he can play center field and can hit pretty well,

    The Twins might trade Polanco (Arraez/Gordon/Miranda to man 2B).

    I don't think Buxton or Ryan should be included on this list. (I like these players)

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    11 hours ago, dxpavelka said:

    Teams in contention would be all over Kepler if we were so inclined.

    Maybe I'm wrong, but I suspect that if you offered the Phillies, Mets, Marlins, Astros, or nearly any other contending team, Kepler, Miranda, or Kirilloff, every one of them would offer up a better package for Kirilloff or Miranda. 

    Some will prefer Kepler if they more value OF defense, but that's it. Most will want the better bats.

    In fact, trading Miranda or Kirilloff to the Phillies for pitching may be on the table. I assure you, they have no interest in Kepler and they are very much in contention.

     

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    3 hours ago, PatG said:

    If I were the Angels with Trout's back issues, I might really ask for Kepler as he can play center field and can hit pretty well,

    Do you mean in the offseason? The Angels have no hope of contending for a wild card spot this season and will only be interested in prospect packages with their payroll situation. 

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    8 hours ago, JoeCool said:

    Everyone talks of pitching which is needed, but I think we also need to think of more consistent hitting as well. To make a run in the playoffs we do need more than what we have right now. A few pieces added makes us dangerous. 

    Boston is on the fringe of dealing Devers. He is a horrible defender at 3rd, but would be a massive upgrade if moved to 1st base and is a pending free agent. If we sent Spencer Steer, Gio Urshela, Miguel Sano and even a Max Kepler; the Red Sox would get some value with upside from Steer, a serviceable replacement at 3rd and a team friendly corner outfielder. Sano brings them a wildcard but his swing plays well with the green monster if he can connect. 😂 The Twins get an elite bat that could be extended as a long term solution at 1st base and we would have the capital to do this if Correa walks. If we lose Devers in the off-season, we still freed up enough salary from offloading Urshela, Sano, and Kepler to go after some decent free agents and we would be a more attractive teams with the success we stand to gain from Devers for landing potential free agents. 


    This solves some of the 40 man logjam issues of the upcoming off-season and Kepler would probably be a tough loss, because he can play CF (when Buxton gets hurt) and is a fantastic defender, but with Urshela not being a force to depend on in the playoffs, Sano being inconsistent, and Kepler being solid but too streaky at the plate. 

    Arraez could go to 3rd base and continue being a spark plug for the offense with slightly less than average defense (same as Urshela). Kiriloff could move to the outfield to backfill Kepler with serviceable defense and a more consistent bat, and Miranda can get a lot more playing time as a super utility player. 
     

    I still am all for going in on two upgrades for the rotation like Montas and perhaps Martin Perez. I like going after sleepers for relief pitching like Matt Moore from Texas and Daniel Bard from Colorado.  We should not be afraid to trade Austin Martin, SWR, Jordan B, Blaine Enlow or a few other prospects to get this done.  

    We will lose Correa most likely this off-season.  These kinds of moves actually give us a chance against the Yankees. If the team can stay healthy, but we do need another elite bat like Devers to make a run against teams with elite pitching. 

    I do love reading the trade offers where the Twins get rid of junk for other teams stars. Why in the world would Boston want that package? What good is Urshela and Sano to them besides two guys required to be on their 40?  Sure they could keep Kepler and Steer and cut Sano and not offer Urshela a contract next year, but then why take them in the first place.

    Also as of right now Martin, SWR, Enlow and Jordan B aren't getting you the top guys, maybe even if you offered them all up in the same trade. And probably nobody would want to take on that many guys required to be on the 40 this year and next.

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    I mentioned the value of trading Polanco during Spring Training, and I was destroyed on this site. He does, I feel have the most value and we have the future batting champ looking for a position on this team. But, in reality, a players value is set at whatever another team is willing to give you for them. The Twins do not take advantage of 'years of control' as other teams do. We look to trade guys once we know we can't re-sign them, and so does the rest of the league.

    We will get either nothing at the deadline, or bargain basement "project" players that will not help any kind of run. Can we trade our front office? Wait never mind, who would take them?

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    29 minutes ago, Kipp35 said:

    I mentioned the value of trading Polanco during Spring Training, and I was destroyed on this site. He does, I feel have the most value and we have the future batting champ looking for a position on this team. But, in reality, a players value is set at whatever another team is willing to give you for them. The Twins do not take advantage of 'years of control' as other teams do. We look to trade guys once we know we can't re-sign them, and so does the rest of the league.

    We will get either nothing at the deadline, or bargain basement "project" players that will not help any kind of run. Can we trade our front office? Wait never mind, who would take them?

    The front office that traded for Ryan? The one that won the division two of the last three years, and is leading this year? That one?

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    9 hours ago, Minny505 said:

    Maybe I'm wrong, but I suspect that if you offered the Phillies, Mets, Marlins, Astros, or nearly any other contending team, Kepler, Miranda, or Kirilloff, every one of them would offer up a better package for Kirilloff or Miranda. 

    Some will prefer Kepler if they more value OF defense, but that's it. Most will want the better bats.

    In fact, trading Miranda or Kirilloff to the Phillies for pitching may be on the table. I assure you, they have no interest in Kepler and they are very much in contention.

     

    Sellers are always looking for pitching and buyers are always looking for pitching AND bats.  Strong chance some contender looks at Kepler the way the Braves looked at Rosario a year ago.  With Adam Duvall out for the year that team COULD be the Braves.  Of course they're not likely inclined to give up arms that could help us down the stretch.

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    On 7/29/2022 at 6:25 PM, dxpavelka said:

    Sellers are always looking for pitching and buyers are always looking for pitching AND bats.  Strong chance some contender looks at Kepler the way the Braves looked at Rosario a year ago.  With Adam Duvall out for the year that team COULD be the Braves.  Of course they're not likely inclined to give up arms that could help us down the stretch.

    Completely agree. And those veteran OFers got next to nothing in return. I do think Kepler is more valuable as a trade chip than any of them, but it's likely not enough to get anything of value for that would help in 2022 or 2023, if ever.

    Just ask yourself...if you had a great trade offer on the table and that offer is the same, could be prospects or vets, provided you give that offering team one of: Miranda, Kirilloff, or Kepler. Even for a team leading the division going into August, you are trading Kepler 100% of the time.

    To me, that is the definition of trade value. 

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    On 7/29/2022 at 3:55 PM, Mike Sixel said:

    The front office that traded for Ryan? The one that won the division two of the last three years, and is leading this year? That one?

    Take a look at the division they are winning/leading. Calm down. We would NOT be leading another division in baseball. Come back to throw this in my face when we win a playoff game...

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