The Jorge Polanco Trade is Falling Apart from All Ends

Jorge Polanco, Seattle Mariners at Minnesota Twins
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

This offseason the Minnesota Twins were handed payroll constraints by the Pohlad family that should be seen as embarrassing on every level. Operating within those constraints, Derek Falvey needed to decide on Jorge Polanco’s future. Looking to generate value, with some being immediate, it’s now clear the front office struck out.

Both Jorge Polanco and Max Kepler were available from the Minnesota Twins starting lineup this offseason. While Rocco Baldelli would have found a way to pencil either in, and he’s glad Kepler is there, the salaries of each made them movable commodities under the constraints presented by ownership. Ultimately it was Polanco sent to the Seattle Mariners for a return that has since gone belly up.

Minnesota Twins’ return for Jorge Polanco falling apart

From the get go, any move including Jorge Polanco would be required to do a couple of things. The Twins knew they needed some major league value in exchange, and the dollars being swapped with contracts had to be something close to net-neutral. Falvey wound up targeting Justin Topa for now, Gabriel Gonzalez (and Darren Bowen) for the future, and eating Anthony DeSclafani as a throw-in.

It was unlikely that DeSclafani would be anything reliable as he has had a recent litany of injury issues, but working as the fifth starter was still the hope, when he was acquired. That went belly-up before spring training ended, when it was announced he needed surgery.

Topa was supposed to be a solid get for an already good bullpen, but a knee issue has kept him off the roster all season. On Tuesday, it was announced that he was being transferred to the 60-day injured list to make room for former Tampa Bay Rays closer Diego Castillo, meaning Topa will probably never pitch for the Twins this season.

Related: Remember When Edouard Julien was Bad at Defense? Those Days are Over.

Initially, it was suggested that Topa was dealing with a minor knee issue. Then, an MRI revealed he had a 25% tear of the left patellar tendon. He received a platelet-rich plasma injection, but is immobilized while using crutches and won’t resume throwing for another month.

With the severity of Topa’s injury, the injection is simply a first-step move in hopes that a surgical procedure doesn’t follow. Of course, had that been the decision from the get go, his season would be over. Ultimately there is still a decent chance that is the final outcome anyway.

Falvey did well to acquire a top-100 prospect, in Gabriel Gonzalez, and he’s now the only chance that the Twins have at the entire deal going sideways. Gonzalez is hitting .265 with a .775 OPS with Cedar Rapids (High-A).

Topa anchoring the bullpen for Baldelli would have been nice to see, but any more setbacks will delay that being a reality until 2025. The former Mariners reliever is under team control through the 2026 season.

On the other end of the trade, Polanco has been a mess for the Mariners, hitting .195 with a .595 OPS before finding his way to Seattle’s inured list, where he sits now. So at least this deal is falling apart all all ends and sides and everywhere in between. Not just for the Twins…?

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