The Twins are reportedly planning to reduce payroll into the $125-140MM vary — beneath the approximate $154MM mark at which they opened the 2023 season. That has naturally led to commerce hypothesis involving a handful of veteran gamers on the roster.
Max Kepler and Jorge Polanco are maybe Minnesota’s most fascinating sensible commerce candidates. Set for respective $10MM and $10.5MM salaries, they’re every above-average regulars who would clearly be of curiosity to different groups. Whereas they’re each viable prospects, it’d maybe be a better promote for the entrance workplace to half with Kyle Farmer. He’s not as impactful offensively and has solely spent one yr within the Twin Cities — in distinction to Polanco and Kepler, career-long members of the group who’ve been with the staff for greater than a decade.
It’s considerably stunning that Farmer continues to be on the roster. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz initiatives the utility infielder for a $6.6MM wage in his last season of arbitration. That made him a non-tender candidate. Dan Hayes of the Athletic wrote two weeks in the past that Minnesota was exploring commerce choices on Farmer, which appeared to recommend they may merely transfer on in the event that they didn’t line up a swap earlier than final Friday’s non-tender deadline.
That didn’t find yourself being the case. Now that Minnesota has tendered Farmer a contract, he’s set for a payday that would land within the $6-7MM vary. That doesn’t preclude the entrance workplace from persevering with to discover commerce choices. Minnesota’s infield depth nonetheless results in questions on how they need to proceed.
Royce Lewis and Edouard Julien had wonderful showings within the last few months. Lewis has clearly claimed the on a regular basis third base job as long as he’s wholesome. Julien is stretched defensively at second base however hit .263/.381/.459 by his first 408 MLB plate appearances. Polanco is without doubt one of the higher bat-first center infielders within the league. Even when the Twins needed to get Julien extra at-bats because the designated hitter, a beginning infield of Alex Kirilloff, Polanco, Carlos Correa and Lewis has important upside.
Everybody in that group other than Julien has a notable damage historical past as nicely. The entrance workplace absolutely feels higher about it if it’s backed up by a utility participant of Farmer’s caliber. On the identical time, there’s an argument the Twins have greater wants. They may search for a right-handed hitting first base/DH to enrich the lefty-swinging Kirilloff and Julien. Sonny Grey’s anticipated free agent departure thins the rotation. They might must re-sign or exchange Michael A. Taylor given the probability they’ll must handle Byron Buxton’s reps in heart discipline.
Farmer, acquired from the Reds final offseason, had a strong yr. His .256/.317/.408 batting line over 369 plate appearances was league common. The righty-swinging Farmer produced a .289/.352/.430 displaying when holding the platoon benefit, a pleasant increase for a Minnesota staff that was much better towards right-handed pitching general. Farmer began 20+ video games at every of second base, third base and shortstop.
Swap-hitting Willi Castro provides related defensive versatility. He has impartial platoon splits for his profession however was fairly a bit extra productive towards right-handers this previous season. Whereas Castro might play a utility function, he’s seemingly an offensive downgrade from Farmer — notably towards southpaws.
That the Twins didn’t non-tender Farmer signifies they’re not going to easily give him away. The entrance workplace feels there’s some quantity of surplus worth. The commerce provides for one season of a 33-year-old utilityman projected for a near-$7MM wage aren’t going to be overwhelming. A dreadful free agent center infield class works in Minnesota’s favor considerably by limiting the alternate options for groups in want, nevertheless it’s not going to end in a dramatically higher prospect return. The first motivation of a commerce from the Twins’ perspective would nonetheless be about reallocating wage.
Is that worthwhile for Minnesota? Ought to they deal Farmer to open some spending room whereas recouping a mid-tier prospect?
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