12:15pm: Story has already turned down at least one nine-figure offer from a team that wanted him to change positions, tweets MLB Network’s Jon Heyman. Story’s strong preference has been to remain at shortstop — a desire that the Twins can clearly accommodate if they’re comfortable with Story’s price tag.
12:30am: The Twins have completed a whirlwind series of trades over the past 36 hours, shipping out Mitch Garver, Josh Donaldson, Isiah Kiner-Falefa (briefly acquired for Garver) and prospect Chase Petty (their top pick from last summer’s draft) while acquiring Sonny Gray, Gio Urshela, Gary Sanchez and a pair of pitching prospects. It’s a dizzying gambit, but it’s quite likely that Minnesota is only getting started. That frenzy cleared roughly $41MM from the Twins’ books, and their 2022 payroll is at a projected $94MM presently — about $40MM shy of their franchise-record.
One area the Twins could look to spend some of the money saved in that Donaldson swap is back at shortstop, where they briefly filled a need via the acquisition of Kiner-Falefa before sending him to the Yankees in tonight’s Donaldson blockbuster. To that end, Dan Hayes of The Athletic reports that the Twins have been in touch with the representatives for free-agent shortstop Trevor Story.
That Kiner-Falefa’s time with the Twins proved to be only a day was surely music to the ears of Story’s agents. The Yankees had made clear that they planned to eschew a big-name signing at shortstop, instead preferring a more short-term bridge to top prospects Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza. The trade of Kiner-Falefa not only gives the Twins a potential opening at shortstop — though it should be noted that Urshela can handle that position if needed — but also freed up some additional money to spend.
Looking past the $94MM projected on their 2022 books, the Twins only have about $39.5MM in guarantees on the 2023 ledger. They’ll quite likely pick up the $12MM option on the newly acquired Gray, but even still, that leaves ample room for another weighty salary — particularly since Minnesota will have a fairly light arbitration class in 2023. By the time 2024 rolls around, the Twins have less than $20MM in guaranteed money on the books. Again, that number will jump due to arbitration and, more notably, the $10MM and $10.5MM options they hold on Max Kepler and Jorge Polanco. Even with those contracts, a Story-sized salary could easily be accommodated.
The 29-year-old Story had something of a disappointing season overall, as an elbow issue impacted him at the plate and dragged down his throwing ability in the field. That said, Story’s .251/.329/.471 slash and 24 home runs in 595 plate appearances were still solid, and he has a track record of strong production on both sides of the ball. Dating back to 2018, he’s a .281/.348/.532 hitter with 107 home runs and 85 steals in 2166 plate appearances. Hitters who call Coors Field their home tend to have pronounced splits that draw the ire of skeptics, but Story has been about 17% better than league average with the bat since ’18 even after weighting for his home park (117 wRC+).
Defensively, Story’s 2021 was something of a mixed bag. Both Defensive Runs Saved (+9) and Ultimate Zone Rating (+3.6) felt he was characteristically strong with the glove, but Statcast’s Outs Above Average pegged him at a career worst mark of minus-7. Outside of that one OAA mark, though, Story has a sterling defensive reputation and the gaudy metrics to match. He ranks seventh in all of Major League Baseball, regardless of position, with 69 Defensive Runs Saved dating back to 2016. His 15.4 UZR in that time isn’t quite so dominant but still ranks 41st among all big leaguers, and OAA feels he’s been a strong defender outside of 2021 (+18 dating back to 2016).
As previously alluded to, Minnesota needn’t necessarily feel obligated to make a big splash at shortstop. Urshela can man the position at a satisfactory level, and they have minor leaguer Jose Miranda, who exploded into top-100 prospect territory with a massive .344/.401/.572 showing between Double-A and Triple-A in 2021. Miranda is knocking on the door to the big leagues as it is, and his best position is widely considered to be third base. That said, there’d be little harm in getting him a further look in the Majors, and the depth afforded by having each of Urshela, Story, Polanco, Miranda and Luis Arraez would be enviable.
Whether Story ultimately lands in Minnesota, the Twins will apparently be involved in the bidding to an extent. The largest free-agent contract the Twins have ever given out was Donaldson’s four-year, $92MM contract, and Story could well topple that mark this winter, wherever he signs. With Donaldson off the books, Byron Buxton signed to a seven-year/$100MM contract and a generally clean payroll slate after the ’23 season, Minnesota can afford to make a splash on just about any free agent that’s left on the market. That doesn’t make them any kind of lock to ultimately sign Story or another big-ticket free agent, but the Twins are making things interesting after laying largely dormant prior to the lockout.
Is Dipoto the Twins new GM?
Now, I see why Josh Donaldson and Isiah Kiner-Falefa were traded to the Yankees and acquiring Urshela to play third base. Now, they have more payroll available to land a good shortstop like Story.
Yeah, Yankees took on $50M to get IKF as a SS instead of paying the same AAV for Story…… kind of weird depending on what they have up their sleeve. I’m curiously and very impatiently awaiting.
Yankees don’t need a long term SS, they have 2 prospects that will be up in a year.
Yeah, I hope you’re right, I do. But we had our future C in Sanchez, our future 3B in Andujar, our future SS in Torres, future C again in Seigler, future CF in Florial…..Etc. my point is, it doesn’t work out as planned for future more often than not. This just seems like a very expensive, long pathway to a stopgap when they could’ve picked up Villar(?) or someone similar.
It’s pretty important to bring on some prospects unless you’re ok with a $400 million payroll.
This trade tells me that Story has not been interested in a short term deal, otherwise, the Yanks could have done just that. From the Twins perspective, signing Story to a long term deal seems like an unusual risk given that they could have had JD for 2 more seasons and IKF for 3 for much less than what Story would get on a 4-6 yr contract.
From the Yanks perspective, unless you’re dealing for Contreras for C you now have below average bats at the 8 and 9 in the lineup
Yeah, Stud, I agree that’s exactly what Cashman is looking at – CBT impact again. JD is 2-years and out. Story is 5 years at least. Cash is aiming for defense at SS (IKF), and for the big bat at 1B (Olson or Freeman). I think Story has always been plan B or C or whatever. I think Correa was always plan absolutely never-in-this-lifetime.
I too believe Cashman already has a deal lined up in Chicago.
i’d rather have falefa. his next 3 years could all be the best of his career. can’t rule out 15hr 15/20sb and close to a 300 avg. all while playing a great ss and could play other positions.
story on the other hand has started his regression and will be moving away from coors. as a GM i don’t want any part of story unless it’s a friendly deal, and it won’t be. story could easily crap out once he dots his “big” contract.
Because Story looks so awesome away from Coors Field. Come on man the Twins can have that guy. Half way through the season we’ll be hearing how disappointed the Twins are that Story doesn’t seem to have any life left in his bat. He’ll be exactly what they traded away but will cost about $20 million more. There wasn’t one of these SS worth what they’re getting or going to get not one. $30 million a year being passed out to good not great players is insane. Not one of these guys are a special talent. I’m glad the Yankees have had the guts to roll the dice on one of their many SS prospects panning out.
Mystery: No doubt, I’m with you there. But, essentially, we just spent $35M to get IKF. I’m looking at the overall picture of who we could acquire for that $35M, which would’ve been Story plus Olson, and our team is exponentially better now, instead of 2024.
Again, its $35M now for IKF and we have a strong SS in 2023-‘24 (maybe), or we have a strong one now. As for Story…..: Man what a misconception, hear me out – Story’s power was [better] away from Coors, plus, his HR overlay at Yankees stadium would’ve [improved by a margin of 100%] at home! Bro, that’s……a lot. And his defense is still top-tier, he’s top 5 in the game right now and we are looking to win right now. I would take that for $12M/year less than IKF.
I think Cashman is trying to fill 1B first with Olson/Freeman and Story (or whomever) was always plan B, if the big guns at 1B didn’t work out for whatever reason.
I’m with you on your analysis, and don’t quite get what Cashman has done. If Donaldson has a gentle aging curve for the next two years and maybe plays 125 games per year, then it may end up working, but it’s a lot of ifs and a lot of money to spend. I don’t really think they are going to spend big at IB. But it’s also clear they wanted to be done with Sanchez.
Away from Coora numbers tend to be overblown. Traditionally most hitters hit better at home, so looking at a player of Story’s caliber shouldn’t boil down to “he can’t hit outside Coors”. Remember, Arenado was talked about thr same way and he had a pretty good season for the Cards.
Arenado’s wRC+ dropped by 15 points…
Agree with you guys, I guess the trade makes definitely more sense if they were able to land Story. Agree with Dodgerfan 83 as well, I guess that Yankees feel they have their future SS in the organization already.
His career road numbers are really concerning to me.
That said the Twins are definitely making things interesting.
Somehow Falvey doesn’t recognize that coors field has made Story a star.
Lots of players have better home stats vs road stats
Go have a look at Story’s home and away splits they’re horrendous and anyone who claims otherwise is kidding themselves.
Go look at ANY Rockies player, and you will find significant splits. It comes with playing at Coors half your games. Its not a permanent condition.
Story goes from a megastar to, well, Urshela (.271/.316/.428/.744) away from Coors
Sanchez, with his lack of Def, has been nearly unplayable away from Yankee Stadium over his career, and especially the last few seasons (.182/.280/.396/.676 on Road 2018-21)
Having both in a new park would be a make or break gamble a team like the Twins do not seam best suited to make
Arenando had worse splits and it worked out. Coors has a noticeable impact on players power numbers, but for you to believe that the field is the only reason the player is as good as he is isn’t a great argument.
Have your wRC+ drop 15 points is, “working out”?
.322/.376/.609/.985 – Home 2013-20
.263/.322/.471/.793 – Road 2013-20
.255/.312/.494/.807 – 2021
Arenado hit just like his career Road numbers in his first season in StL
So using your very handy example there, Story should be expected to be roughly a .241/.310/.442/.752 hitter for a new team
And if you’re paying what Story is asking for just to get a second Urshela type hitter…
Teams will be buying road Story. Great glove, meh bat. That’s not a $30 million per year guy.
A pillow contract might be beneficial for both parties, and if Story will accept a pillow contract, I’ll take him on the Angels.
Agreed. His glove plus his road numbers would be an improvement over our current options.
And with the AL West and NL West having similar ballparks, I think his road numbers are a really good indicator of his production here.
Hands off, Twinkies!
This is Twins Territory!!!!
I just despise all this. Not only did they make a trade to make the evil empire a better team but they have done all this just to go after a player who is only a superstar at Coors field. The only way they can afford him is to dump half the team’s payroll and their pitching is still horrible even during an offseason with great free agent pitching options.
Falvey is cracked.
The Twins are nothing if not compliant and accommodating when it comes to the Yankees. Both on and off the field.
I don’t understand Sanchez unless he’s their DH but Donaldson is getting older and has an injury history despite 21. Despite a knack for clutch hits, his production is down too. Like all teams, wait until the Twins are done. I actually like their moving forward financial flexibility.
I don’t hate it from the Twins side as I do realize it was mostly a “salary dump” and I’m not trying to taunt Twins fans. But from a Yankees perspective, Sanchez may go on to rake elsewhere but he’s a lost cause in NY. Urshela long ago stopped being the “shiny new toy”.
In a nutshell, for picking up about $12-14M/yr or so extra for the next couple of years, the Yanks massively upgraded 3B and SS on very short term deals leaving flexibility in place. That sneaky ole’ Cash!
And once again, though some in Yankee Nation may not like it as much as I do, I thank the Twins on all of our behalfs.
You’ll have to excuse my friend as that sounds a bit harsh…. He means to finish with “and for that we thank you!”
Thank you. I forgot my manners entirely.
John Rocker fan club
Donaldson will more than likely miss a good portion of the year with injuries no reason to pay him to do nothing. All players have greater splits at home, but people overlook how the altitude adjustment can hamper players. Theres a reason every year the Rockies start off strong then tailspin and the altitude adjustments fatigues all their players.
I don’t think Yankee fans would be concerned if Donaldson misses some games. Not a big deal.
But what if it’s 40-60 games a year? Is that still “not a big deal”?
Donladson has played a boat load more games in 2021 & in the prior 3 years than Urshela so I have no idea what all this injury talk is about. Looks like the Yanks added durability on top of everything else.
Let’s give it up for my man, Steve Adams, throwing down the 2AM report info on Trevor Story though, right? [Crowd Applauds]
[Crowd chant] Steve, Steve, Steve, Steve, Steve
(That one guy) Adaaaaaaams!
Well, since we’re brown nosing, I’d like to extend our gratitude to the entire MLBTR staff for the relentless reporting over the last few days. I’m sure it’s been hectic on their end but they have not let the quality of their articles slide, even if we had to wait on a few “More to come.”s.
Jermaine Polacios will soon be Twins SS.
Twins finally woke up?
Comp pick as he rejected qualifying offer. Surprised the twins would want to lose a pick
They’ve done it before: Ervin Santana, Donaldson.
Twins could also swing a trade with Oakland for one of their starters. Take on Elvis Andrus too. Twins don’t need a long-term SS with Royce Lewis and Austin Martin in the wings.
Neither Royce Lewis nor Austin Martin will play everyday shortstop in the major leagues and nobody knows that better than the Twins deep thinkers. Lewis isn’t going to hit enough to be a regular in the big leagues and Martin doesn’t have the glove for shortstop. Minnesota has more up their sleeves for sure.
I’ve already read that Martin will be a corner OF if his bat cooperates.
I like this. A little unexpected plot twist to the last minute hot stove action.
Yeah where’s Trader Jerry? He must be helping the Seahawks FO negotiate a trade for Deshaun Watson.
I expect they give lewis a shot.. why not its cheep the season is blah.. they don’t have enough pitching to carry the post season..
The trade they just made only makes sense if they make a big splash with that 50 million dollars they saved. Sure Donaldson is probably in his decline but Sanchez is pretty mediocre and Urshela was probably just a product of a juiced ball. Dishing out a big deal to replace Donaldson with Story would make that trade look way better.
Story or bust. I’m burning all my gear if they sign th trash can banger
Twins would be much better with “trash can banger” than Story.
This Story I didn’t hear at Bedtime.
Trade makes no sense from a Yankee standpoint. An aging, no longer what he was defensively, overpaid, ok offensive player… a great field no hit (over his career) ss and a horrible hitting part time catcher… for a power(bad defensive, no avg) catcher and an excellent decent hitting 3b… but the kicker is the extra commitment in time and $ the Yankees made… does this trade make Yankees better? Nope
It certainly improves the defense. Biggest problems are 1) below average offense at C and 2) Torres back at SS late in games if you pinch hit for IKF. Adding a Freeman, Olsen or even Rizzo doesn’t fix those issues.
On Josh being on the IL for 40-60 games…
Who doesn’t it make sense for again?
Everyone is commenting like it is a done deal. So what that the Twins have interest in Story. It is not like they are the only team. What if the Twins cap is 25 mil a year and then the Royals (or some other team) offers 30 mil? All this says is the Twins have interest in him.
The Twins owner knows he can’t go back to the fans and have another rebuild. So they’re doing a semi-push to contend which looks good.
The problem is not so much the White Sox in that division as their rebuild has very probably peaked – the problem is that Cleveland is coming out of a ‘rebuild on the fly’; while the Tigers and Royals had years-long rebuilds and will not be the punching bags they were when the Twins won the ALC. Add that the Twins team was based on slamming the juiced baseball (they set a team HR record a few years ago) and truth be told they may still have trouble staying out of the ALC cellar in 2022.
And today shall be another fun day of baseball signings and trades.
Too bad none of them can pitch…
I have difficulties imagining the Twins signing Story long term.
But they certainly have freed up enough money to pay a small fortune to Story or Correa or Grienke or someone else for an expensive one year contract.
Not a bad thought. Either f those SS might want a more stable 2022-2023 off season to seek a better contract.
On the surface the Twins won here just on the salary dump. Maybe Sanchez resurrects his career getting out of New York. Urshela is not a bad pick up. It depends a lot on the what the Twins do with the freed up salary.
I like Donaldson. In that park and lineup I can see Donaldson’s offense get a bit of a bump. The Yankees seem to need their DH to rest guys and keep them healthy and that could be a long jam this year. Stanton and Donaldson may be getting their fair share out of the gate there.
I don’t like any trade with the Yankees. They always get the better of the deal. Sanchez has been dreadful the last few years and his defense has never been good. Urshela is OK but nothing to write home about. Donaldson was a great defensive 3B, a team leader on a team with a lot of Mauer clone statues (that’s one thing Rosario provided) and a solid hitter but was injured too much. I’d rather have John Patrick Murphy or whatever his name was than Sanchez.
Why story? If you’re gonna have a hated player like Sanchez on your team you might as well make the splash and get Correa too
I really don’t understand what the brain trusts are doing in MN. The trades on a whole seem to make a lot of sense until you decide to over spend on Story. No way should the Twins be looking at doing a long term deal for Story. Spend the money on pitching. With Ursula, Miranda, Lewis, Polanco, Arraez they have plenty of infield options. Maybe Sanchez and Sano can do 1B/DH combo as Sanchez as a catcher shouldn’t be an option.
I think they just want to hit homeruns and hope for the best.
Twins obviously have a plan, good plan, I’m not so sure.
Yeah yeah, the Twins and Phillies and Mets may be making all sorts of moves to improve their team, but never forget my Marlins signed Shawn Armstrong.
I don’t understand the reasoning to get Story but if MIN wants to have such an albatross contract, by all means, go ahead.
:> 9 figure offer from a team that wanted him to change positions
It’s okay if I pretend this was the White Sox, right? Even though we all know the first half of that sentence makes it impossible…
I’m thinking it’s the jays
I’ve shown interest in Diane Lane for a number of years and nothing has come of it. It has been my experience that the deals the Twins make are covered in shadows and are rarely known in advance. Trading Garver, getting Gray, trading Donaldson–no early inklings on any of those. As I recall, the pitching rumors swirled around Cueto, not Gray.