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  1. After the Minnesota Twins signed Carlos Correa to a three-year deal that included opt-outs after each of the first two, it became beyond clear it was a one-year pact for a guy who fell into their lap. How they handle things this offseason remains to be seen, but can they win with a stopgap option? Image courtesy of Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports Earlier this offseason I touched on a belief that the Minnesota Twins would open 2023 with Jose Iglesias as their starting shortstop. Even had I not been told from a front office source that “someone like Jose Iglesias” would be their eventual target, the fit just makes too much sense. Carlos Correa signed a $35.1 million deal with the Twins, giving him the largest average annual value for a Major League Baseball infielder. He’s going to get paid a boatload on a long-term deal this winter, and while the Twins should be in the running, their offer almost certainly will not be the largest. If they aren’t going to pay on the devil they know, then paying on the devil they don’t such as Trea Turner or Dansby Swanson makes even less sense. Entering the stopgap category, knowing that Royce Lewis will be back midseason, Austin Martin has shown well in the Arizona Fall League, and Brooks Lee was their first-round pick this past year, the options are whittled down even further. In this vein, the Twins should be expected to connect with a veteran who can do a bit of everything while not commanding a substantial price tag. Again, enter Jose Iglesias. After splitting time with the Los Angeles Angels and Boston Red Sox a season ago, Iglesias signed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Colorado Rockies for 2022. He will be 33 years old in 2023 and has played 1,096 games across his Major League career. Iglesias has familiarity with the AL Central division having spent a career-most five seasons with the Detroit Tigers, and he’s played 28 games at Target Field. Unlike Andrelton Simmons a year ago, Iglesias doesn’t represent a one-sided player for Derek Falvey and Thad Levine. Simmons was brought in to shore up the left side of an infield defense that was poor. Iglesias owns a decent .701 career OPS and his .279 batting average reflects an ability to get himself on base. He’s a far cry from the .956 OPS posted during the 2020 season, but there’s offensive ability here where Simmons had none. Iglesias is not an on-base stalwart without generating base hits, however. He owns just a .319 career OBP and his 502/173 K/BB suggests that while he may strike out a bit less, he’s certainly not choosy enough to draw free passes either. If there’s a redeeming quality to his game, it’s in the well-roundedness while also presenting cost certainty. Defensively, FanGraphs defensive runs saved (DRS) don’t view Iglesias particularly well. Last season he posted an abhorrent -22 mark in just shy of 1,000 innings. This season, in equivalent sample size, Iglesias tallied -4 DRS. Maybe Colorado’s shifting and positioning was more beneficial than that of the Angels or Red Sox, but it’s certainly a step forward year-over-year. By Statcast’s outs above average (OAA) metric, Iglesias has never been anything worse than average and his 14 OAA career high came as recently as 2019 with the Cincinnati Reds. Realistically, Iglesias should give Minnesota an opportunity to include a trusted veteran that isn’t a black hole in either facet of the game, while also not blocking Lewis from his eventual return. Iglesias can also play the hot corner and second base down the stretch, and his years of experience could benefit a Twins team looking for a silent leader that routinely does their job. It’d be hard to get excited about Iglesias as the alternative to Correa, but given what the worst-case scenario could be, this is far from it. View full article
  2. Earlier this offseason I touched on a belief that the Minnesota Twins would open 2023 with Jose Iglesias as their starting shortstop. Even had I not been told from a front office source that “someone like Jose Iglesias” would be their eventual target, the fit just makes too much sense. Carlos Correa signed a $35.1 million deal with the Twins, giving him the largest average annual value for a Major League Baseball infielder. He’s going to get paid a boatload on a long-term deal this winter, and while the Twins should be in the running, their offer almost certainly will not be the largest. If they aren’t going to pay on the devil they know, then paying on the devil they don’t such as Trea Turner or Dansby Swanson makes even less sense. Entering the stopgap category, knowing that Royce Lewis will be back midseason, Austin Martin has shown well in the Arizona Fall League, and Brooks Lee was their first-round pick this past year, the options are whittled down even further. In this vein, the Twins should be expected to connect with a veteran who can do a bit of everything while not commanding a substantial price tag. Again, enter Jose Iglesias. After splitting time with the Los Angeles Angels and Boston Red Sox a season ago, Iglesias signed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Colorado Rockies for 2022. He will be 33 years old in 2023 and has played 1,096 games across his Major League career. Iglesias has familiarity with the AL Central division having spent a career-most five seasons with the Detroit Tigers, and he’s played 28 games at Target Field. Unlike Andrelton Simmons a year ago, Iglesias doesn’t represent a one-sided player for Derek Falvey and Thad Levine. Simmons was brought in to shore up the left side of an infield defense that was poor. Iglesias owns a decent .701 career OPS and his .279 batting average reflects an ability to get himself on base. He’s a far cry from the .956 OPS posted during the 2020 season, but there’s offensive ability here where Simmons had none. Iglesias is not an on-base stalwart without generating base hits, however. He owns just a .319 career OBP and his 502/173 K/BB suggests that while he may strike out a bit less, he’s certainly not choosy enough to draw free passes either. If there’s a redeeming quality to his game, it’s in the well-roundedness while also presenting cost certainty. Defensively, FanGraphs defensive runs saved (DRS) don’t view Iglesias particularly well. Last season he posted an abhorrent -22 mark in just shy of 1,000 innings. This season, in equivalent sample size, Iglesias tallied -4 DRS. Maybe Colorado’s shifting and positioning was more beneficial than that of the Angels or Red Sox, but it’s certainly a step forward year-over-year. By Statcast’s outs above average (OAA) metric, Iglesias has never been anything worse than average and his 14 OAA career high came as recently as 2019 with the Cincinnati Reds. Realistically, Iglesias should give Minnesota an opportunity to include a trusted veteran that isn’t a black hole in either facet of the game, while also not blocking Lewis from his eventual return. Iglesias can also play the hot corner and second base down the stretch, and his years of experience could benefit a Twins team looking for a silent leader that routinely does their job. It’d be hard to get excited about Iglesias as the alternative to Correa, but given what the worst-case scenario could be, this is far from it.
  3. Going into this offseason, the Minnesota Twins are going to face a serious decision at the shortstop position. Carlos Correa can, and will, opt out of his contract following the World Series. It is then on the organization to decide their next move, and they’ve provided some context as to what we should expect from there. Image courtesy of Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports Derek Falvey and Thad Levine made arguably the biggest splash of their tenure leading the Twins when they inked Carlos Correa to a deal last offseason. Ultimately, after pawning Josh Donaldson off on the New York Yankees, Correa fell in their laps. Minnesota had substantial money to spend, and a need that he could fill. This offseason, that same reality remains true, but Correa should have suitors willing to pay him Francisco Lindor money. It’s probably unlikely that the Twins are one of them. So, where does that leave a team waiting on Royce Lewis’ eventual return? It’s a big gamble to believe Lewis, coming off a second ACL surgery, will be the same player. However, his debut provided enough excitement to suggest he can hold down the position. Isiah Kiner-Falefa was who this front office targeted initially, before Correa, and that would have been a defense-only option that ultimately filled the void. Now facing a similar scenario, the front office will need to navigate a path forward. Despite the position being arguably one of the most important on the diamond, there are not a ton of options this winter. That is unless you want to play in the deep end of the pool. Trea Turner, Dansby Swanson, and Correa are going to be the top tier, but from there it’s quite a drop-off. Minnesota would seem an unlikely landing spot for Chicago White Sox Tim Anderson. He’s not a good defender, and a long-term deal there doesn’t make much sense. They could opt for an Ehire Adrianza reunion, but Jermaine Palacios would probably have been a better option before he was DFA’d and claimed by the Tigers. Both Elvis Andrus and Aledmys Diaz check the veteran box with some offensive upside, but it’s hard to envision either being an ideal fit for the Twins. Andrus provided production in just a limited sample, and Diaz hasn’t held down a single position in years. With external options waning and one name still yet to be discussed, things keep coming back to Jose Iglesias. The well-traveled veteran is coming off a one-year deal with the Colorado Rockies. He’s never been more than a league-average hitter, outside of the 2020 outlier with the Baltimore Orioles, but he does hit for a solid average. Defensively Iglesias has rated poorly from a Defensive Runs Saved standpoint, but has been roughly even when it comes to outs above average. As a whole, he’s the ideal type of player to operate in a stopgap role. There should be little reason Minnesota would need to pay handsomely for Iglesias. He made just $5 million last season in Colorado, and likely could be had for a similar amount in his age-33 season. Iglesias has been a reliably healthy option for years now, and could certainly hold down the fort until Lewis is ready to make his return. There’s no reason to suggest that Iglesias would be a big move for Minnesota, and if anything, it’d likely be received somewhat poorly. Coming off Correa though, the only way to lessen the blow is by re-upping on a new deal or swinging big on one of the other top two options. Going the stopgap route at shortstop could allow the Twins more funds to hand out elsewhere, however. Ultimately, there are not a ton of options on the free agent market. It doesn’t make much sense for Minnesota to swing a trade for a shortstop, and if they aren’t paying Correa, it’s odd to think they’d spend on someone else. Iglesias is where I’d put the highest odds at this point, especially considering the lack of internal options. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- See where Jose Iglesias ranks among free-agent shortstops according to Cody's article from yesterday. View full article
  4. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine made arguably the biggest splash of their tenure leading the Twins when they inked Carlos Correa to a deal last offseason. Ultimately, after pawning Josh Donaldson off on the New York Yankees, Correa fell in their laps. Minnesota had substantial money to spend, and a need that he could fill. This offseason, that same reality remains true, but Correa should have suitors willing to pay him Francisco Lindor money. It’s probably unlikely that the Twins are one of them. So, where does that leave a team waiting on Royce Lewis’ eventual return? It’s a big gamble to believe Lewis, coming off a second ACL surgery, will be the same player. However, his debut provided enough excitement to suggest he can hold down the position. Isiah Kiner-Falefa was who this front office targeted initially, before Correa, and that would have been a defense-only option that ultimately filled the void. Now facing a similar scenario, the front office will need to navigate a path forward. Despite the position being arguably one of the most important on the diamond, there are not a ton of options this winter. That is unless you want to play in the deep end of the pool. Trea Turner, Dansby Swanson, and Correa are going to be the top tier, but from there it’s quite a drop-off. Minnesota would seem an unlikely landing spot for Chicago White Sox Tim Anderson. He’s not a good defender, and a long-term deal there doesn’t make much sense. They could opt for an Ehire Adrianza reunion, but Jermaine Palacios would probably have been a better option before he was DFA’d and claimed by the Tigers. Both Elvis Andrus and Aledmys Diaz check the veteran box with some offensive upside, but it’s hard to envision either being an ideal fit for the Twins. Andrus provided production in just a limited sample, and Diaz hasn’t held down a single position in years. With external options waning and one name still yet to be discussed, things keep coming back to Jose Iglesias. The well-traveled veteran is coming off a one-year deal with the Colorado Rockies. He’s never been more than a league-average hitter, outside of the 2020 outlier with the Baltimore Orioles, but he does hit for a solid average. Defensively Iglesias has rated poorly from a Defensive Runs Saved standpoint, but has been roughly even when it comes to outs above average. As a whole, he’s the ideal type of player to operate in a stopgap role. There should be little reason Minnesota would need to pay handsomely for Iglesias. He made just $5 million last season in Colorado, and likely could be had for a similar amount in his age-33 season. Iglesias has been a reliably healthy option for years now, and could certainly hold down the fort until Lewis is ready to make his return. There’s no reason to suggest that Iglesias would be a big move for Minnesota, and if anything, it’d likely be received somewhat poorly. Coming off Correa though, the only way to lessen the blow is by re-upping on a new deal or swinging big on one of the other top two options. Going the stopgap route at shortstop could allow the Twins more funds to hand out elsewhere, however. Ultimately, there are not a ton of options on the free agent market. It doesn’t make much sense for Minnesota to swing a trade for a shortstop, and if they aren’t paying Correa, it’s odd to think they’d spend on someone else. Iglesias is where I’d put the highest odds at this point, especially considering the lack of internal options. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- See where Jose Iglesias ranks among free-agent shortstops according to Cody's article from yesterday.
  5. Going into this offseason the Minnesota Twins are going to need a replacement for a couple of backup infielders. Both Marwin Gonzalez and Ehire Adrianza are free agents, and I’d expect the Twins to move on from both. They served key roles on the active roster however, so seeking out a replacement will be necessary. Marwin was signed under the premise that his 2017 was repeatable, and had they know it was a trash idea, Minnesota likely would’ve looked elsewhere. Adrianza was a glove first guy that performed up to that distinction when getting run with the Twins. In finding an alternative, Rocco Baldelli will need a player that can be an asset when filling in. The reality is that Minnesota has some serious issues when things go awry on the dirt, and we saw that with both Josh Donaldson and Luis Arraez in 2020. Having a backup plan there is a must going into a new season. Marwin and Ehire posted a .606 and .557 OPS respectively, so aside from occupying space, them being in the game was a serious negative. I don’t know that I’m hung up on any one person for their replacements, but there’s definitely a profile I’d like to see. Marwin brought an outfield ability to the utility role, but that should be less necessary with the readiness of Alex Kirilloff and the combined emergence of Jake Cave and LaMonte Wade Jr. To me, the Minnesota utility man has to be able to play both second and third base while also owning a productive bat. Traditionally second base hasn’t been a position of immense offensive production, but that’s shifted in recent years. There are some truly exceptional offensive two-baggers in the game and carrying that profile to a position that needs to contribute offensively at the hot corner, is a very good thing. I don’t want to live in a world where the Twins are sans Donaldson or Arraez for consistent stretches, but they need to be better prepared if they are. So, what are some names to consider? This is actually a decent free agent class if you’re shopping in the middle. It’s not especially noteworthy at the top however, and that could create some additional competition around the mean. Regardless, there’s some names I’d be more than happy to see wearing baby blue at Target Field. Jurickson Profar The former top prospect will be 28 in 2021. He has arguably the most positional flexibility of anyone in the group and that presents a lot to like. He posted a .793 OPS with the Rangers in 2018 and was at .771 this season for the Padres. He’s hardly been the elite prospect that he was billed, but there’s legit power and on-base skills here when he’s going good. If the Twins see a way to unlock another level in what should be his prime, a solid commitment wouldn’t be shocking. Tommy La Stella Traded to the Athletics during the 2020 season, La Stella enters the open market coming off a second straight strong season. His .819 OPS followed an .832 mark as a first time All Star in 2019. He’s primarily played second base but has 84 starts at the hot corner as well. The power potential isn’t a huge draw here, but he did launch 16 dingers in 80 games during 2019. Jose Iglesias A number of years ago Iglesias struck me as an ideal candidate to be the Twins shortstop. He’s a strong defender there and it’s been the only role he’s played since 2015. It remains to be seen whether the downgrade in role is one he’d agree to, but there’s also a good option to spell Jorge Polanco when needed. The .956 OPS in 39 games with the Orioles this year is a definite outlier however, and Minnesota would need to be convinced they’re getting above the .700 career mark. He’s probably a boost on Ehire while being Marwin or worse. Asdrubal Cabrera This one would definitely be just a one-year deal as he’ll be 35 in 2021. Cabrera has been around for a while, having just completed his 14th year in the majors. He won a ring with the Washington Nationals a season ago and took over as the primary second basemen from former Twins great Brian Dozier. Cabrera is more second basemen than he is third but can play both roles. What I like here is that the offensive floor is pretty safe. He’s probably not going to post much lower than a .750 OPS and you’ve got a chance for him to scratch near .800. There’s power, there’s some walks, there’s something to like. Jedd Gyorko I’m not going to write him up as the Brewers have an affordable team option and it’d make little sense for them not to use it coming off the season he just had. For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  6. Jorge Polanco is currently the acting Minnesota shortstop. In 664 innings at shortstop in 2018 he was worth -1 DRS with a -3.9 UZR and a 1.4 RngR. Those numbers are all far better than the abomination he was during just 406 innings at short in 2016, but they are a step backward from the 2017 version of Polanco. Whether one understands defensive metrics or not, Minnesota’s current shortstop has a poor arm and limited range. Playing deep in the hole is hardly an option, and it leaves the infield's most important position significantly exposed. The good news is that Polanco profiles as an average to above-average second basemen. His arm would play just fine there, and range factor is less demanding on the right side of the diamond. It’s a role he had essentially been pushed into during the latter part of his minor league career, and only moved back to short as the Twins already had Brian Dozier manning second. When addressing their needs this offseason, I’d imagine the Twins would prefer not to punt on middle-infield defense entirely. Whether at second base or at shortstop, some sort of glove-first player makes sense. The only other option would be to choose some sort of middle-ground type player, with a bat-first emphasis, keeping Polanco where he is and banking on Royce Lewis being adept defensively for that role beginning in 2020. Obviously when considering which path to choose the market factors come into play as well. There are only something like eight available shortstops while there is nearly double that number at second base. In trying to put some pegs into holes, here’s how I see some of those names categorized. Gloves- Manny Machado (SS) Jose Iglesias (SS) Freddy Galvis (SS) D.J. LeMahieu (2B) Ian Kinsler (2B) Logan Forsythe (2B) Bats- Jordy Mercer (SS) Asdrubal Cabrera (2B) Brian Dozier (2B) Daniel Murphy (2B) Daniel Descalso (2B) Josh Harrison (2B) Of the 12 names above, it’s worth immediately ruling a handful out. Manny Machado is a pipe dream, and while the Twins have the money to sign him, there will be no shortage of suitors and plenty more sexy landing spots. Brian Dozier’s time has probably come and gone with the organization, and Daniel Murphy should be both expensive and a significant fielding liability. Each of the remaining nine names presents some intrigue though, so individually they’re worth a look. Jose Iglesias- The former Detroit Tigers shortstop is probably the cream of this crop in the field. While his DRS numbers don’t jump off the charts, he has a strong arm, solid range, and plays a well above-average shortstop. At just 28 years old he would give Minnesota the ability to sign a multi-year deal and feel pretty good about it. Freddy Galvis- A relatively similar player to Iglesias, Galvis separates himself a bit with his stick. He’s hit at least 12 homers each of the past three years and there’s plenty of gap power here. He’s a strong defender as well and will be just 29 next season. He’s also a strong bet to land a multi-year deal. D.J. LeMahieu- Coming off a second straight Gold Glove, the former Rockies second baseman is as sure as it gets in the field. He led MLB second basemen in DRS last season and locks down the right side of an infield. Obviously, his numbers are going to tumble away from Coors, but the question is to what extent. He’ll probably be looking for a bit more than he ends up being worth, but at 30 years old, more quality play should be ahead. Ian Kinsler- Divisional familiarity is at play here after Kinsler spent four seasons with the Tigers. He’ll turn 37 during the 2019 season, and obviously isn’t the player he once was. Struggling to hit much at all last season, he still earned a Gold Glove with his exceptional defense. There’s still some power at the plate and it comes with some on-base ability. Logan Forsythe- Minnesota is obviously familiar with this name, as he was swapped for Brian Dozier down the stretch. Forsythe can play an above average second base, and the defensive upgrade over Dozier was more than apparent. He hasn’t hit for two years, but he could be a decent buy-low target in his age 32 season. Jordy Mercer- Stuck in the middle ground of average on both sides of the game, Mercer has an OK bat and a mediocre glove. He’s not someone you really want to employ at short but isn’t going to hit to the extent of moving positions. There’re on-base skills here too, and he has shown some pop in previous seasons, but this signing would come with plenty of uncertainty. Asdrubal Cabrera- Nothing short of terrible in the field last year, Cabrera has become all bat at this point of his career. He’ll be 33 for his next team and is coming off a .774 OPS in 2018. He wasn’t good for the Phillies down the stretch but posted an exception .817 OPS with the Mets in 98 games to start the year. You’re asking a lot from Polanco in going this route, but maybe the offense makes up for it? Daniel Descalso- Splitting between second and short last season for the Diamondbacks, Descalso was better on the right side. He’s a good contact hitter who doesn’t strike out a ton. While walks haven’t been his game either, Descalso may be a late-developing prime player. The .762 OPS since 2016 far surpasses the .648 OPS in six big league seasons prior. Josh Harrison- Leaving the Pirates for the first time in his big-league career J-Hay is headed for untested waters. He’s been a jack of all trades most seasons but played solely second base last season. He’s average at worst in the field, and hovering around a .700 OPS is a fair expectation. You do worry about him never having played more than 143 games in a season, and there’s nothing he does exceptionally well. In trying to figure out where the Twins might turn it’s not an either-or proposition. Certainly, they could bring in some middle infield depth, but there’s only one starting spot open. Polanco is going to be placed aside of whomever is inserted into the lineup and that makes it critical to get this right. As a long-term play Jose Iglesias seems the best fit to me. He won’t be cheap, but you can’t expect him to break the bank either. Galvis strikes out a bit too much for a lineup filled with them, and Iglesias brings a slightly better form of defense. He can be inserted at shortstop for the next three years, and there then is no pressure for Royce Lewis needing to stick in that spot. Shoot for three years at $25 million and call it a day. Should Minnesota be looking for just a short-term answer to this equation I think the bat-first mentality comes into play a bit more. On a one-year deal, age goes out the window and you’re staring at a trio of Kinsler, Forsythe, and Cabrera. I don’t think you can realistically employ Polanco and Cabrera up the middle without very negative results, and you probably should aim a bit higher than what Forsythe projects as. Welcome Ian Kinsler back to the division. Even at his worst offensively there’s both power and on-base skills to utilize. He’s just two years removed from an .831 OPS and he should be available at less than $10 million for a single season. We’re still a way out from seeing how the Twins plan to address this situation, but it’s one of the most interesting and critical of the entire offseason.
  7. With the Minnesota Twins fully focused on the 2019 Major League Baseball season at this point, their goal currently is to construct the best roster to challenge the reigning AL Central Champion Cleveland Indians. Having a literal boatload of cap space there’s plenty of money to be spent this offseason. Needing to address the infield, specifically up the middle, it’s a tale of two types for Derek Falvey and Thad Levine. Do they love the glove, or not?Jorge Polanco is currently the acting Minnesota shortstop. In 664 innings at shortstop in 2018 he was worth -1 DRS with a -3.9 UZR and a 1.4 RngR. Those numbers are all far better than the abomination he was during just 406 innings at short in 2016, but they are a step backward from the 2017 version of Polanco. Whether one understands defensive metrics or not, Minnesota’s current shortstop has a poor arm and limited range. Playing deep in the hole is hardly an option, and it leaves the infield's most important position significantly exposed. The good news is that Polanco profiles as an average to above-average second basemen. His arm would play just fine there, and range factor is less demanding on the right side of the diamond. It’s a role he had essentially been pushed into during the latter part of his minor league career, and only moved back to short as the Twins already had Brian Dozier manning second. When addressing their needs this offseason, I’d imagine the Twins would prefer not to punt on middle-infield defense entirely. Whether at second base or at shortstop, some sort of glove-first player makes sense. The only other option would be to choose some sort of middle-ground type player, with a bat-first emphasis, keeping Polanco where he is and banking on Royce Lewis being adept defensively for that role beginning in 2020. Obviously when considering which path to choose the market factors come into play as well. There are only something like eight available shortstops while there is nearly double that number at second base. In trying to put some pegs into holes, here’s how I see some of those names categorized. Gloves- Manny Machado (SS) Jose Iglesias (SS) Freddy Galvis (SS) D.J. LeMahieu (2B) Ian Kinsler (2B) Logan Forsythe (2B) Bats- Jordy Mercer (SS) Asdrubal Cabrera (2B) Brian Dozier (2B) Daniel Murphy (2B) Daniel Descalso (2B) Josh Harrison (2B) Of the 12 names above, it’s worth immediately ruling a handful out. Manny Machado is a pipe dream, and while the Twins have the money to sign him, there will be no shortage of suitors and plenty more sexy landing spots. Brian Dozier’s time has probably come and gone with the organization, and Daniel Murphy should be both expensive and a significant fielding liability. Each of the remaining nine names presents some intrigue though, so individually they’re worth a look. Jose Iglesias- The former Detroit Tigers shortstop is probably the cream of this crop in the field. While his DRS numbers don’t jump off the charts, he has a strong arm, solid range, and plays a well above-average shortstop. At just 28 years old he would give Minnesota the ability to sign a multi-year deal and feel pretty good about it. Freddy Galvis- A relatively similar player to Iglesias, Galvis separates himself a bit with his stick. He’s hit at least 12 homers each of the past three years and there’s plenty of gap power here. He’s a strong defender as well and will be just 29 next season. He’s also a strong bet to land a multi-year deal. D.J. LeMahieu- Coming off a second straight Gold Glove, the former Rockies second baseman is as sure as it gets in the field. He led MLB second basemen in DRS last season and locks down the right side of an infield. Obviously, his numbers are going to tumble away from Coors, but the question is to what extent. He’ll probably be looking for a bit more than he ends up being worth, but at 30 years old, more quality play should be ahead. Ian Kinsler- Divisional familiarity is at play here after Kinsler spent four seasons with the Tigers. He’ll turn 37 during the 2019 season, and obviously isn’t the player he once was. Struggling to hit much at all last season, he still earned a Gold Glove with his exceptional defense. There’s still some power at the plate and it comes with some on-base ability. Logan Forsythe- Minnesota is obviously familiar with this name, as he was swapped for Brian Dozier down the stretch. Forsythe can play an above average second base, and the defensive upgrade over Dozier was more than apparent. He hasn’t hit for two years, but he could be a decent buy-low target in his age 32 season. Jordy Mercer- Stuck in the middle ground of average on both sides of the game, Mercer has an OK bat and a mediocre glove. He’s not someone you really want to employ at short but isn’t going to hit to the extent of moving positions. There’re on-base skills here too, and he has shown some pop in previous seasons, but this signing would come with plenty of uncertainty. Asdrubal Cabrera- Nothing short of terrible in the field last year, Cabrera has become all bat at this point of his career. He’ll be 33 for his next team and is coming off a .774 OPS in 2018. He wasn’t good for the Phillies down the stretch but posted an exception .817 OPS with the Mets in 98 games to start the year. You’re asking a lot from Polanco in going this route, but maybe the offense makes up for it? Daniel Descalso- Splitting between second and short last season for the Diamondbacks, Descalso was better on the right side. He’s a good contact hitter who doesn’t strike out a ton. While walks haven’t been his game either, Descalso may be a late-developing prime player. The .762 OPS since 2016 far surpasses the .648 OPS in six big league seasons prior. Josh Harrison- Leaving the Pirates for the first time in his big-league career J-Hay is headed for untested waters. He’s been a jack of all trades most seasons but played solely second base last season. He’s average at worst in the field, and hovering around a .700 OPS is a fair expectation. You do worry about him never having played more than 143 games in a season, and there’s nothing he does exceptionally well. In trying to figure out where the Twins might turn it’s not an either-or proposition. Certainly, they could bring in some middle infield depth, but there’s only one starting spot open. Polanco is going to be placed aside of whomever is inserted into the lineup and that makes it critical to get this right. As a long-term play Jose Iglesias seems the best fit to me. He won’t be cheap, but you can’t expect him to break the bank either. Galvis strikes out a bit too much for a lineup filled with them, and Iglesias brings a slightly better form of defense. He can be inserted at shortstop for the next three years, and there then is no pressure for Royce Lewis needing to stick in that spot. Shoot for three years at $25 million and call it a day. Should Minnesota be looking for just a short-term answer to this equation I think the bat-first mentality comes into play a bit more. On a one-year deal, age goes out the window and you’re staring at a trio of Kinsler, Forsythe, and Cabrera. I don’t think you can realistically employ Polanco and Cabrera up the middle without very negative results, and you probably should aim a bit higher than what Forsythe projects as. Welcome Ian Kinsler back to the division. Even at his worst offensively there’s both power and on-base skills to utilize. He’s just two years removed from an .831 OPS and he should be available at less than $10 million for a single season. We’re still a way out from seeing how the Twins plan to address this situation, but it’s one of the most interesting and critical of the entire offseason. Click here to view the article
  8. MINNESOTA TWINS – DANNY SANTANA Coming into 2014, Danny Santana had a lot to prove. He was an easy choice to be added to the Twins 40-man roster following 2013, but his shortstop defense was more than shaky. He has great speed and range and a very strong arm, but struggled most with routine plays. Offensively, his speed helps him to hit for average and he has extra base pop. However, he seemingly has an allergy to walking. So, in early May, shortly after he was a surprise call up to the Twins (he had played just 24 games in AAA), he found himself playing, and learning, centerfield. Before long, he was the Twins new starting centerfielder. Not only did he represent himself well in the field, he put up better offensive numbers with the Twins than he had at any level of the minor leagues. Although he didn’t walk much, he showed a good ability to take quality at-bats, swinging at strikes. He even showed surprising power. In 2015, he is being moved back to shortstop, where he remains a question mark defensively. Many also wonder whether he’ll be able to put up numbers anywhere near what he did as a rookie. Can he hit for average? Will he learn to take a few more walks? Can he maintain the power he showed in 2014? I have a feeling that the projections regarding Santana will be as polarizing as any Twins player. So, here are the projections of our Twins Daily writers: Seth – .284/.317/.423 (.740) with 38 doubles and 6 HR. Nick – .260/.300/.380 (.680) with 30 doubles and 5 HR. Parker – .270/.320/.400 (.720) with 32 doubles and 10 HR. John – .273/.319/.381 (.700) with 30 doubles and 6 HR AL CENTRAL SHORTSTOP Opponent – Player – 2015 Age – 2014 Statistics Chicago – Alexei Ramirez – 33 - .273/.305/.408 (.713) with 35 doubles, 15-HR Cleveland – Jose Ramirez – 22 - .262/.300/.346 (.646) with 10 doubles, 2-HR Detroit – Jose Iglesias – 25 - .303/.349/.386 (.735) with 16 doubles, 3-HR (2013 stats, missed 2014) Kansas City – Alcides Escobar – 28 - .285/.317/.377 (.694) with 34 doubles, 3-HR AL CENTRAL SHORTSTOP RANKINGS #1 – Alcides Escobar – Kansas City #2 – Danny Santana – Minnesota #3 – Alexei Ramirez – Chicago #4 – Jose Ramirez – Cleveland #5 – Jose Iglesius - Detroit NOW IT’S YOUR TURN Give it some thought and then go to the comments section below and post two things. First, make your statistical projection for Danny Santana in 2015. Second, how would you rank the AL Central shortstop? Of course, then discuss with the rest of the Twins Daily community. Finally, check back throughout this next week as we’ll do these same things for each of the positions. PREVIOUS PREDICTIONS, PROJECTIONS AND RANKINGS Kurt Suzuki Joe Mauer Brian Dozier Trevor Plouffe
  9. Today we complete our projections, predictions and rankings for the Minnesota Twins infield by considering shortstop Danny Santana. My sense is that Santana might be the most polarizing in the series. We all know his 2014 rookie season with the Twins surpassed anything he had done in his seven minor league seasons, and he did it at a new position. What is in store for him in 2015?MINNESOTA TWINS – DANNY SANTANA Coming into 2014, Danny Santana had a lot to prove. He was an easy choice to be added to the Twins 40-man roster following 2013, but his shortstop defense was more than shaky. He has great speed and range and a very strong arm, but struggled most with routine plays. Offensively, his speed helps him to hit for average and he has extra base pop. However, he seemingly has an allergy to walking. So, in early May, shortly after he was a surprise call up to the Twins (he had played just 24 games in AAA), he found himself playing, and learning, centerfield. Before long, he was the Twins new starting centerfielder. Not only did he represent himself well in the field, he put up better offensive numbers with the Twins than he had at any level of the minor leagues. Although he didn’t walk much, he showed a good ability to take quality at-bats, swinging at strikes. He even showed surprising power. In 2015, he is being moved back to shortstop, where he remains a question mark defensively. Many also wonder whether he’ll be able to put up numbers anywhere near what he did as a rookie. Can he hit for average? Will he learn to take a few more walks? Can he maintain the power he showed in 2014? I have a feeling that the projections regarding Santana will be as polarizing as any Twins player. So, here are the projections of our Twins Daily writers: Seth – .284/.317/.423 (.740) with 38 doubles and 6 HR. Nick – .260/.300/.380 (.680) with 30 doubles and 5 HR. Parker – .270/.320/.400 (.720) with 32 doubles and 10 HR. John – .273/.319/.381 (.700) with 30 doubles and 6 HR AL CENTRAL SHORTSTOP Opponent – Player – 2015 Age – 2014 Statistics Chicago – Alexei Ramirez – 33 - .273/.305/.408 (.713) with 35 doubles, 15-HR Cleveland – Jose Ramirez – 22 - .262/.300/.346 (.646) with 10 doubles, 2-HR Detroit – Jose Iglesias – 25 - .303/.349/.386 (.735) with 16 doubles, 3-HR (2013 stats, missed 2014) Kansas City – Alcides Escobar – 28 - .285/.317/.377 (.694) with 34 doubles, 3-HR AL CENTRAL SHORTSTOP RANKINGS #1 – Alcides Escobar – Kansas City #2 – Danny Santana – Minnesota #3 – Alexei Ramirez – Chicago #4 – Jose Ramirez – Cleveland #5 – Jose Iglesius - Detroit NOW IT’S YOUR TURN Give it some thought and then go to the comments section below and post two things. First, make your statistical projection for Danny Santana in 2015. Second, how would you rank the AL Central shortstop? Of course, then discuss with the rest of the Twins Daily community. Finally, check back throughout this next week as we’ll do these same things for each of the positions. PREVIOUS PREDICTIONS, PROJECTIONS AND RANKINGS Kurt Suzuki Joe Mauer Brian Dozier Trevor Plouffe Click here to view the article
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