What are the Minnesota Twins Waiting For?

MLB: Winter Meetings
Kyle Schwab-USA TODAY Sports

Before the start of the Minnesota Twins 2023-24 offseason, the organization made it clear that this winter would be more about saving money than it was about pushing the roster beyond the expectations set by winning a playoff series in 2023.

But that didn’t mean they were going to sit this offseason out. Sure, they weren’t going to be in on Shohei Ohtani or any of the other high profile free agents trying to find new homes. But that didn’t mean they entered the MLB offseason with no plan at all.

Multiple reports have released making clear the Twins are actively shopping veterans like Jorge Polanco and Max Kepler in the trade market, hoping for salary savings and a front to middle rotation starter, in return.

So when are the Minnesota Twins going to actually do something this offseason?

But it’s now mid-January and, so far, all we’ve seen is a Josh Staumont signing, a reliever with high upside and injury issues. Sound familiar? Oh, and some minor league deals including another pitcher, Hobie Harris, who they’ve liked for awhile.

So… what are the Twins waiting for? They know what they want to do and they know what they are looking for. Why haven’t see seent them do anything yet? I wish I had a magic answer for you but I’ve stopped trying to understand Derek Falvey’s way of thinking.

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What we do know is that Minnesota’s offseason will likely be dictated by how and if they move on from Kepler and Polanco. The MLB free agent market is moving slowly, but surely. There are still plenty of good middle infielders and corner outfielders available.

The 30-year-old Polanco had a 1.5 fWAR in 2023 and 1.8 fWAR in 2022. As of this weekend, there are more than a handful of free agent middle infielders with comparable or better 2023 fWAR than Jorge.

Middle Infield Free Agents Still Available

  • 35 y/o – Elvis Andrus (4.6 fWAR)
  • 28 y/o – Amed Rosario (2.9)
  • 35 y/o – Whit Merrifield (3.0)
  • 37 y/o – Brandon Crawford (2.6)
  • 31 y/o – Tim Anderson (1.5)
  • 32 y/o – Tony Kemp (1.5)
  • 33 y/o – Kolten Wong (1.5)
  • 32 y/o – Adam Frazier (1.3)

The same sort of things can be said about Max Kepler’s life in trade limbo, yet again this offseason. He’s also 30-years-old, though his fWAR is better; coming in at 2.0 or above each of the last three seasons, including 2.6 in 2023.

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Here are the outfielders still available on the free agent market. None of the corner outfielders are really on Kepler’s level. Even in the center field market; outside of Cody Bellinger, there aren’t really any outfielders left who are younger and more productive than Max, from an fWAR standpoint.

Outfield Free Agents Still Available

  • 28 y/o – Cody Bellinger (5.9 fWAR)
  • 33 y/o – Michael A. Taylor (3.2)
  • 35 y/o – Adam Duvall (2.9)
  • 34 y/o – Aaron Hicks (2.5)
  • 32 y/o – Joc Pederson (2.7)
  • 36 y/o – Tommy Pham (2.5)
  • 36 y/o – David Peralta (1.8)

Eventually, and it appears we are getting pretty close to that point, empty-handed teams that still need a solid starting 2nd baseman or even better corner outfielder will move on from a picked through free agency pool and move onto more legitimate trade conversations. And that’s where the Twins still hope to be waiting patiently.

The front office seems to know exactly what it wants for Kepler and Polanco. Until Spring Training gets closer and Falvine is forced to bring the asking price for Kepler and Polanco down, they’ve proven they will be willing to wait.

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It’s been well established that this Minnesota Twins regime will never be in a hurry, when it comes to offseason or trade deadline moves. What they’ve also shown us, however, is that they will almost always end up doing something. And when it comes to our favorite baseball team, late is almost certainly better than never.

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