On the heels of an early-morning free agent deal, here are three things for MLBTR readers to keep an eye out for:
1. What’s next for the Twins?
Minnesota shipped out their longest-tenured player yesterday by trading second baseman Jorge Polanco to the Mariners in exchange for right-handers Justin Topa and Anthony DeSclafani, top outfield prospect Gabriel Gonzalez and minor league righty Darren Bowen. The Twins also received $8MM cash as part of the deal, which president of baseball operations Derek Falvey indicated yesterday would be reinvested into the club’s payroll. The addition of DeSclafani to a rotation mix that already includes Pablo Lopez, Chris Paddack, Joe Ryan, Bailey Ober and Louie Varland makes another starting pitching addition less likely, though it’s possible the club could look to further bolster its pitching staff with a bullpen addition such as Ryne Stanek or Wandy Peralta.
Another option at the club’s disposal would be adding another hitter to the club’s mix. While another player in the infield mix would recreate the logjam cleared by the departure of Polanco, the Twins were rumored to be considering an addition at first base earlier this winter. Minnesota picked up veteran Donovan Solano last winter to complement lefty-swinging youngster Alex Kirilloff at first base, and a reunion could make some sense after Solano posted a solid 116 wRC+ in part-time duty last year. Another speculative target could be veteran slugger Adam Duvall, who has seen occasional time at first throughout his career and would also provide the club with another capable center fielder behind oft-injured star Byron Buxton.
2. Could Angels’ outfield logjam lead to a deal?
The Angels signed veteran outfielder Aaron Hicks to a one-year deal yesterday, adding a switch-hitting option to an outfield mix that lacked a surefire regular option alongside Mike Trout and Taylor Ward. With that being said, Hicks’s addition does complicate the club’s outfield situation from a roster building perspective. Former top prospects Jo Adell and Mickey Moniak are both out of options and must be passed through waivers before they can be sent to the minor leagues, meaning that as things stand the club figures to carry five full-time outfielders on its active roster to open the 2024 campaign.
While the departure of Shohei Ohtani could free up playing time at DH and Ward has made a cameo at the infield corners in the past, it’s possible that the best use of the club’s resources would be to deal either Moniak or Adell in order to free up space on the club’s bench for more versatile options while also potentially recouping value that better fits the club’s needs. The Guardians, White Sox, and Marlins are among the teams who could stand to upgrade their outfield corps in the run-up to Spring Training.
3. MLBTR Chat today:
As the month of January comes to a close, there’s plenty of boxes still unchecked on the offseason shopping lists of clubs all around the league. Are you wondering what’s next for your favorite team, or perhaps curious about what the market for a particular free agent looks like? If so, tune in this afternoon when MLBTR’s Steve Adams hosts a live chat with readers at 1pm CT. You can click here to ask a question in advance, and that same link will allow you to join in on the chat once it begins or read the transcript after its completed.