The Twins formally have till March 30 — however ideally quicker — to discover a new shortstop.
Last wintry weather’s Major League Baseball lockout halted transactions for 99 days. For the Twins, it handiest took a few whirlwind days to signal best unfastened agent Carlos Correa to a three-year deal.
Well, it used to be in point of fact extra like a one-season affair. Correa made $35.1 million taking part in elite protection and forged hitting along with changing into a valued chief and mentor in the Twins’ clubhouse. But he lately informed El Nuevo Dia, a newspaper in his local Puerto Rico, that he’ll workout his 2022 opt-out to check out the higher unfastened agent marketplace as soon as once more.
He left the door open for the Twins, however he is made it abundantly transparent he desires a long-term, giant cash dedication. So must the Correa generation snuff out when the resolution turns into actual 5 days post-World Series, the Twins will want to in finding another choice to guide the infield.
“The reality is, this next month, there’s not much you can do outside of talking to your own players, in terms of other teams, or free agency obviously hasn’t even kicked off yet,” mentioned Derek Falvey, the Twins’ president of baseball operations. “So we’re going to have a Plan B, C, D, E and F for, probably, a lot of these things.”
Falvey added that the Twins already started their unfastened agent prep conferences thru the demise weeks of the season, as the Twins fell out of playoff rivalry with a number of weeks nonetheless to play. The participant workforce division ran thru all the shortstops on the marketplace, in addition to different attainable positions of want, and started forming a plan to deliver to the group’s homeowners.
Without a unfastened agent shortstop signing, the Twins will glance to avid gamers in the group. Jorge Polanco has important revel in at quick, having performed there for the Twins in 501 video games, together with a couple of this previous season. The consensus has been that Polanco flourished when he settled right into a 2d base position. But barring no main trends in the coming month, his go back to beginning shortstop turns out the in all probability end result.
Gio Urshela has made 43 appearances at shortstop thru 4 seasons, most commonly in 2021 with the Yankees. Urshela used to be the Twins’ 3rd baseman this 12 months, combining with Correa to fasten down the left aspect of the diamond. But there’s some query if the Twins will proceed their courting with Urshela in any respect, making an allowance for he is due a lovely really extensive elevate in arbitration this offseason, which might up his wage from $6.55 million to round $10 million.
“He finished in a really good spot. Obviously, he played really well down the stretch, and he was a great teammate, great person in here,” Falvey mentioned of Urshela. “All of those are conversations we’ll start to have as we get closer to November and December.”
Prospect-wise, it used to be at all times assumed Royce Lewis would ascend to be the Twins beginning shortstop via this level. But him lacking minor league ball in 2020 as a result of the pandemic after which tearing his ACL in 2021 necessitated the Correa transfer. The two proportion the similar agent, Scott Boras.
Lewis did make his MLB debut this season, filling in for Correa early in the 12 months when he took a pitch off his finger. He then transitioned to heart box to assist duvet for hobbling Byron Buxton however re-injured his knee in his first sport in that spot. That in the end ended in his 2d proper ACL surgical procedure, which means he would possibly not be to be had to start out 2023. But possibly an Urshela or Polanco may organize the first a part of the 12 months at shortstop till Lewis can go back.
Class AA prospect Austin Martin has performed some shortstop, even though Falvey certified him as extra of herbal heart fielder or 2d baseman.
Moving round Polanco or Urshela would open up some infield chances in different spots for the likes of Jose Miranda and Luis Arraez. Miranda had an unbelievable rookie 12 months at the plate, riding in 66 runs and smacking 15 homers. Arraez gained the American League batting identify at .316.
But each have been form of position-less. Miranda is normally a 3rd baseman. Arraez has at all times been a software participant however fascinated about simply the infield in 2022. Both ended up taking part in so much in the beginning base as a result of Miguel Sano’s knee damage that stored him out maximum of the 12 months. Falvey mentioned he for sure desires Miranda to proceed gaining revel in in each corners. Arraez may proceed to play a mixture of first, 2d and designated hitter.
“The DH rotation, playing some of that, was good for him physically and allowed him to kind of sustain through the course of the year,” Falvey mentioned. “…He’s willing and open to being flexible there, but obviously his bat is what’s significant here, and we want to keep him as healthy as possible, so I think that will all factor into it.”
The Twins drafted a shortstop, Cal Poly’s Brooks Lee, with the 8th general select final summer season.
“We’re really excited about even, this is getting ahead of ourselves a little bit, but what Brooks Lee did all the way through Double-A at the end of the year and watching him play shortstop,” Falvey mentioned. “… You can by no means in point of fact have too many just right center infielders. I feel the truth is a few guys finally end up taking part in in different spots. We’ve observed that over the years.
“The good teams around baseball, the teams that are still playing in these playoffs, are finding ways to maybe play a shortstop at second, at third, in other places. I don’t think it rules out anything on that front. We have to continue to be creative and think about ways to do that.”