The Twins have reinstated center fielder Michael A. Taylor from the 10-day injured list, the team announced. To open up a spot on the 28-man roster, outfielder Jordan Luplow has been designated for assignment.
Taylor had been on the IL with a hamstring strain since September 3. Willi Castro covered center in his stead, with Andrew Stevenson making the occasional start (in addition to some late-game appearances as a defensive replacement). Castro has hit well over the last two weeks, posting an .827 OPS in 56 trips to the plate, and Stevenson boasts a plus glove, but the Twins will be happy to have their regular center fielder back in the lineup. Not only is Taylor a Gold Glove winner, but he is enjoying his best offensive campaign in years. The 32-year-old has an OPS above .700 for the first time since 2017, and his 99 wRC+ is just shy of league average. The righty was hitting especially well before his hamstring injury took him down, slashing .257/.318/.574 with 10 home runs since the All-Star break.
Meanwhile, Luplow was also hitting well with the Twins, so his DFA comes as a bit of a surprise. In 26 games, he had a .751 OPS and a 111 wRC+, with a particularly impressive 13.2% walk rate. However, nearly all of his production came against left-handed pitching. Facing southpaws, he was rocking a .927 OPS, while against righties that number was a meager .473. It’s understandable why Minnesota did not want to guarantee a roster spot to a player with such drastic splits, especially with the switch-hitting Castro also on the roster. Still, the fact that the Twins chose to keep Stevenson instead of Luplow suggests they’re prioritizing defense over offense on their bench.
This is the third DFA of the season for Luplow, who began the campaign with Atlanta. He was DFA’d by the Braves and claimed off waivers by the Blue Jays in April. The 29-year-old played only seven games for the big league team in Toronto, spending most of his time in the organization at Triple-A. He was DFA’d again in August and claimed by the Twins, with whom he played 26 games at the MLB level.
With the trade deadline long since passed, the Twins will have to put Luplow on waivers in the coming days. If he is claimed, he would not be eligible to join his new team’s postseason roster, but he could help a contending team in need of a right-handed bat over the final two weeks of the season. The team that claimed him would only have to pay the remaining portion of his $1.4MM salary – approximately $104K. If he clears waivers, Luplow will have the option to reject an outright assignment in favor of free agency, although he is just shy of the five years of service time required to reject the assignment without forfeiting the remainder of his guaranteed salary.