While reading “3 Third Baseman Trades that Could Provide the Twins a Productive Bat” posted by Nate Palmer, I got a very interesting idea. The first trade he proposed is one for Rafael Devers, which got me thinking…
The Minnesota Twins are in a unique place where depth isn’t quite a concern anymore. If healthy, the Twins have six or so guys on the 40 man roster that could compete for the fifth spot in the rotation, and a crowded outfield littered with guys vying for the corner outfield and bench spots.
The looming issue now is trying to wade through the marshes and finding the guys that can be impactful. It is make or break years for guys like Alex Kirloff, Trevor Larnach, and Gilberto Celestino, all of which are entering arbitration soon. If you take a step down, you’re welcomed by the likes of Matt Wallner and maybe Royce Lewis, who should be given an opportunity. Then there’s also the question that arose when the Twins handed out a one year, 11 million dollar contract to Joey Gallo. It almost feels certain that the Gallo deal will force Max Kepler out of Minnesota. Kepler and Gallo are defensive difference makers but both are offensive liabilities. Keeping both will pry valuable innings away from the aforementioned players, and the plus defense Byron Buxton offers in centerfield mitigates the necessity for strong corner outfield defense.
One name that has been floating around trade rumors is Luis Arraez. Although reports are connecting him to being involved in a deal for starting pitching, I believe one wouldn’t be too far fetched to think that he could be involved in a deal for a big name hitter. The 2022 American League Batting Champion might have reached his peak value. There’s no question about what kind of hitter he is. Arraez will slap the ball all around the field, and he will get on base frequently. However 2022 unveiled a flaw in his game. When not being the designated hitter, Arraez was primarily penciled in at first and second base with an occasional appearance at third base. The Minnesota Twins have a second baseman, Jorge Polanco. The Minnesota Twins also might have their guy in first base, that being Alex Kirloff, who might be forced out of the outfield. So where would Arraez play? Since the departure of Nelson Cruz in 2021 as part of the Joe Ryan trade, Rocco Baldeli has utilized the designated hitter role as a way for guys to get at bats without being in the field, almost acting as a mini rest day of sorts. The designated hitter role could also be reserved for Byron Buxton, who hit there in 35 games in 2022.
Arraez has entered his arbitration years and also has some concern about his ability to stay healthy. He has been placed on the injured list five times since 2020. A growing concern is his knees, which has caused 2 of his five trips to the injured list, with Covid-19, a concussion, and a right shoulder strain rounding out the other three. With La Regadera only getting older, his knees will continue to get worse, trust me.
With Max Kepler and Luis Arraez on the “chopping block,” we can start to look for trades. One name that has been floating around recently has been Rafael Devers of the Boston Red Sox (thanks to Nate Palmer for the idea).
The Red Sox do not have the best track record recently when it comes to retaining talent. They traded Mookie Betts and David Price to the Dodgers in 2020. They traded Andrew Benitendi exactly a year later to the Royals in 2021. Then in 2022 they lost Xander Bogaerts to free agency and ultimately to the Padres. One similarity that can be drawn from all three moves is that they got paid once they left Boston. Betts signed a 12 year, 365 million dollar contract with the Dodgers. Benintendi received 8.5 million dollars in 2022 from the Royals. Bogaerts just signed a 11 year, 285 million dollar deal with the Padres. Rafael Devers will probably be the next homegrown talent to walk beyond the Green Monster, seeing as he will garner a contract somewhere in the twenty plus million dollar range.
The Twins receive: Rafael Devers
The Red Sox Receive: Luis Arraez, Max Kepler, A Player to be Named Later
Why It Works for the Twins
Getting rid of Arraez and Kepler would be beneficial to the Twins long term. Devers would become the starting third baseman which would force Miranda to slide over to first base, where he played 77 games in 2022. First base would probably become Miranda’s long term home anyway, with reports stating the Twins front office has questions with his defense.
Why it Works for the Red Sox
Unlike the Twins, the Red Sox do have some questions when it comes to outfield depth. Enrique Hernandez has centerfield tied down, while Alex Verdugo (who was acquired in the Mookie Betts trade) will start in left. Max Kepler would replace, funnily enough, former Twin Rob Refsnyder in defending Pesky's Pole. Kepler’s plus defense would bode well in Fenway Park’s spacious and tricky right field. Kepler might also see an increase in offensive production playing in the American League East, which is very left-handed hitter friendly.
The Red Sox were plagued with a -52 runs differential in 2022. They would benefit highly from a guy by the likes of Luis Arraez. Heck, any team would. Arraez would give the Red Sox a great presence in the designated hitter role and could allow Trevor Story to return to short while Arraez splits time at second with Christian Arroyo.
If the Twins do make this trade, a 300 plus million dollar contract might make more sense.
Would y’all take this trade? What would you change?
Sorry for the long post.
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Mitch Haniger, formerly of the Seattle Mariners, is one of the better OF free agents available this offseason. The 31-year-old possesses a career 123 OPS+ and bats right-handed, traits that are desperately needed in the Twins outfield arrangement. The Twins currently have five corner outfielders, all of which bat left-handed.