Baseball

Twins Notes: Middle Infield, Jeffers,

The Twins are receiving trade interest both in their upper-level middle infield prospects and in controllable players on their big league roster, writes Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. That’s not exactly earth-shattering news, given the manner in which teams covet affordable long-term pieces — particularly this offseason. Rosenthal still outlines a possibility of Minnesota moving someone like second baseman Luis Arraez in order to slide Jorge Polanco over to second base. Doing so could come as part of a trade package for a high-end shortstop (e.g. Trevor Story) or help in the rotation, with a free-agent shortstop then being brought in as a bridge to top prospect Royce Lewis.

We’ve written about the possibility of the Twins making middle-infield moves despite a clear hole here at MLBTR, and from my vantage point it doesn’t seem the Twins would even need to move Arraez to justify bringing in a shortstop upgrade if they wish. Polanco has never been a strong defensive shortstop, even prior to a pair of ankle surgeries, and would seem perfectly well suited to play the same super-utility role that was recently held by departing free agent Marwin Gonzalez. There are myriad avenues they could take, but a move at shortstop doesn’t seem outlandish for the Twins, even with Polanco in tow. He’s set to earn $4.33MM in 2021, $5MM in 2022 and $7.5MM in 2023 before the Twins have a pair of club options valued at $10.5MM and $12MM.

More out of Minneapolis/St. Paul…

  • The Twins announced earlier this week that catcher Ryan Jeffers underwent an offseason procedure to remove loose bodies from his right elbow. Phil Miller of the Minneapolis Star Tribune writes that the operation isn’t expected to delay Jeffers’ availability for the 2021 season, though, with manager Rocco Baldelli telling Miller and others that Jeffers is already nearly back up to speed. Jeffers, 23, jumped to the Majors to fill in for an injured Mitch Garver in 2020 and not only held his own but may have even cemented his spot on the 2021 roster. In 26 games, the 2018 second-rounder took 62 plate appearances and posted a .273/.355/.436 slash with three homers. Jeffers did skip Triple-A entirely due to the lack of a minor league season, though, so the Twins could conceivably add a veteran backup if the hope is to get him a bit more seasoning. Doing so would also afford Jeffers everyday reps rather than have him serve in a more limited role behind Garver.
  • Minnesota’s decision to release Fernando Romero yesterday (and Romero quickly signing with the Yokohama BayStars) was examined by The Athletic’s Dan Hayes, who reports that Romero didn’t draw much trade attention from MLB teams.  The Twins simply weren’t certain whether Romero would be able to pitch in the United States after visa issues prevented him from entering the country in 2020, and as president of baseball ops Derek Falvey said, “it felt like given all the circumstances around this year and going forward, plus his desired pursuit of Japan, it kind of felt like the best combination.”

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