Entering the 2020-21 Major League Baseball offseason, there were two big name shortstops pinned at the top of trade blocks in both Cleveland and Colorado.
The bigger name, Francisco Lindor, was just sent to the New York Mets on Thursday, along with Carlos Carrasco, for a high-end prospect return. The other, Trevor Story, is the next free agent shortstop domino expected to fall.
The Minnesota Twins have been linked to free agent shortstops like Marcus Semien and Andrelton Simmons by Darren Wolfson of KSTP (below) and others, so they’re clearly in the mindset of upgrading the middle infield.
Full trade, per sources:— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 7, 2021
To Mets: Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco.
To Indians: Amed Rosario, Andrés Giménez, Josh Wolf, Isaiah Greene.
That Story makes sense
The Twins clearly want a top-end shortstop and they could easily find that trading for Story makes more sense than what they will have to pay the best of the free agent bunch. Trevor Story is only under contract with the Colorado Rockies for one more season, at $17.5 million.
That doesn’t mean the Twins won’t be interested. It means flexibility.
Option A: Blockbuster Trade w/Extension
We know the New York Mets plan to extend Francisco Lindor, after trading for him. They have the market and they have the money, unlike Cleveland. Because of that, the Cleveland front office can demand more than if Lindor was just a New York rental.
With that being said, let’s look at what it took for the Mets to acquire Francisco Lindor.
Amed Rosario is a relatively young (25) replacement-level shortstop, with a few years of MLB experience. Andres Gimenez is an MLB-ready shortstop prospect (92nd overall in 2019) with 100+ at-bats of big league experience in 2020. Cleveland also reeled in two recent second round picks of the Mets, which are worth their weight in gold, too.
But that return was for Lindor AND Carlos Carrasco. For the Minnesota Twins to acquire Trevor Story, it’d likely take less. Like… one MLB top-100 prospect that we don’t really have room for + a middle-infield replacement, who once had a high ceiling?
Blockbuster Trade Pieces
Let’s say, non-specifically of course, Trevor Larnach (#77 overall MLB prospect in 2020) and Nick Gordon, a former first round draft pick who doesn’t look like he’ll ever be what the old Twins regime had hoped when they drafted him, could get the job done.
Here is the equality of that trade scenario, using baseballtradevalues.com.
Trevor Larnach is an MLB-ready top prospect who the Twins just don’t have room for. He plays corner outfield and hits missiles. Minnesota already has Alex Kirilloff, who’s scarily similar prospect type (but ranked higher – #24), Byron Buxton and Max Kepler in the outfield.
Guys like Brent Rooker and Larnach are only on stand-by… but nobody knows how long they will be waiting. I don’t think any of the names above are retiring anytime soon.
If you know that Story can be had for the right long-term deal, then a blockbuster like this makes too much sense for the Twins to pass up.
Option 2: Short Story
While I write this blog about trading for a blockbuster shortstop, let’s stop and remember that the Minnesota Twins are already hoping they have their future at SS covered, with Royce Lewis.
Of course, they’re not going to wait for Lewis at SS because it’s possible he’s better suited for another position. But since the Twins have Royce Lewis, who is about a year away from the MLB, Falvine might prefer Story on his current 1-year contract.
Taking Trevor as a one-year rental would create future flexibility and cheapen the trade cost. The problem however; a cheaper and shorter (library version) Story is not what the Rockies want. They obviously want blockbuster prospects back in a trade.
Don’t know until you ask
As the offseason days creep on, could the Minnesota Twins front office convince the Colorado Rockies to take a deal that centers around Brent Rooker (for example), if it means there’s no expected long-term commitment for Story in Minnesota?
If the Twins could find a happy medium there, they could keep their very top prospects in the system.
Whether it’s in free agency or via trade, the Twins have done very little this offseason and Spring Training is already coming fast. It’s time to pay up and improve the roster. This team can win a World Series if the front office is able to bring in a couple impactful pieces. Why not start with Trevor Story?
Enjoy this Trevor Story highlight reel while you salivate at the thought of a lineup featuring Donaldson, into Cruz, into Story (or something similar).
Cooper Carlson | Minnesota Sports Fan