The Twins have contacted the Royals this offseason about the potential for buying a middle fielder Michael A. Taylor, stories Dan Hayes of the Athletic. However, Hayes provides that Minnesota was “discouraged” by Kansas City’s request for a right-hander Josh Winder in return. There is not any indication that conversations between the golf equipment are nonetheless ongoing.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported final month that Kansas City was making Taylor obtainable in commerce. Minnesota is the primary recognized workforce to have checked in with Royals GM JJ Picollo and his workers relating to the defense-first outfielder. Even if talks did not advance particularly far, Kansas City’s ask for Winder suggests they’re not less than opening conversations relating to Taylor with a lofty objective. That may be very true for an intra-divisional opponent just like the Twins.
Winder, 26, is without doubt one of the extra extremely regarded pitchers within the Minnesota group. While he entered professional ball with little fanfare as a Seventh-round select of VMI, he put himself firmly on the radar popping out of the canceled 2020 minor league season. Winder pushed his common fastball velocity up a number of ticks into the mid-90s over the previous 12 months and excelled over 10 begins at Double-A Wichita to begin the 2021 marketing campaign. He struggled in a four-start look with Triple-A St. Paul to finish that season however however entered 2022 as one of many higher prospects within the Twins’ system.
Baseball America slotted the 6’5″ hurler sixth within the Minnesota system heading into final season, calling him a possible mid-rotation starter. Winder broke camp with the MLB membership and made his first 15 massive league appearances. He made 11 begins and got here out of the bullpen 4 instances, working to a 4.70 ERA by means of 67 innings. His 16.4% strikeout fee and 35% grounder share had been every markedly under common, though he continued his career-long observe file of pounding the strike zone.
While it wasn’t a resoundingly profitable debut effort, Winder confirmed sufficient promise to consider he might nonetheless play a long-term rotation position within the Twin Cities. He blended 4 pitches with regularity, led by a 94 MPH fastball and mid-80s slider. Winder has lengthy had above-average or higher management and held his personal towards left-handed batters final season. Even if he by no means misses sufficient bats to succeed in the mid-rotation upside some prospect evaluators had forecast, he is an upper-level depth arm who might carve out a back-of-the-rotation spot as quickly as this 12 months.
Minnesota optioned Winder on a pair events final 12 months. That exhausted his first of three possibility years but additionally means he fell shy of accruing a full 12 months of service time. He’s controllable for not less than one other six seasons and extra assignments again to St. Paul might push his free agent trajectory again additional. He will not qualify for arbitration till after the 2024 season on the earliest.
It’s not stunning the Twins would not relinquish six-plus years of Winder’s providers for Taylor, who is simply below contract for the 2023 marketing campaign. Minnesota might see every of Sonny Gray, Tyler Mahle and Kenta Maeda depart through free company subsequent offseason. That’d depart them with Joe Ryan, Bailey Ober, Chris Paddack and unproven youthful arms like Winder, Simeon Woods Richardson and Louie Varland to vie for rotation spots as issues stand. The long-term uncertainty has led the Twins to entertain commerce potentialities with the Marlins about probably including a controllable starter like Pablo Lopez to the combo.
While one season of Taylor’s providers is not prone to convey again Winder, he ought to have an honest quantity of enchantment on the commerce market. The veteran outfielder has had a productive two-year run in KC after spending the majority of his profession with the Nationals. Taylor has lengthy been a below-average offensive participant because of swing-and-miss issues, however he is one of many sport’s preeminent outfield defenders.
The 31-year-old (32 in March) has performed upwards of 1000 innings in middle discipline in every of the final two years. He’s been a stellar match for spacious Kauffman Stadium, with Defensive Runs Saved estimating he is been 19 runs higher than a median middle fielder in each seasons. His cumulative +38 DRS is head and shoulders above the remainder of the league on the place, with Myles Straw checking in second at +21 runs. Statcast has been somewhat extra conservative however nonetheless pegged Taylor as +19 runs over the previous two seasons, tied with Harrison Bader for second behind Straw.
While whether or not Taylor’s actually the league’s greatest defensive outfielder or “merely” within the high handful is debatable, it is clear he is an elite gloveman. That drives his worth, as he carries a modest .249/.304/.357 line in slightly below 1000 plate appearances as a Royal. To his credit score, Taylor has tamped down on the large strikeout charges of his time in Washington, with final season’s 23.9% strikeout share solely a pair factors worse than the league common. He’s needed to sacrifice some arduous contact to place the ball in play extra steadily, posting the 2 lowest remoted energy marks of his profession the final couple of seasons.
Even as a bottom-of-the-lineup kind, Taylor’s a priceless participant. He’s additionally making simply $4.5MM in 2023, that means he ought to be capable of match on nearly any membership’s payroll ledger. Minnesota eyed him as a fourth outfielder as potential damage insurance coverage behind Byron Buxton and a right-handed bat to combine into an outfield that skews very left-handed. Yet he might enchantment to different golf equipment as extra of an on a regular basis middle discipline possibility, notably given the market shortage on the place. The free agent middle discipline market is barren sufficient that the Red Sox agreed to phrases with Adam Duvall — who’s 34 and has been largely a nook participant all through his profession — to play up the center. Trade potentialities are equally sparse, notably for the reason that Pirates have remained agency on their request Bryan Reynolds.
That all makes Taylor a probably attention-grabbing commerce candidate. The Royals’ discussions with the Twins counsel they are not ready to maneuver him with out getting a robust return. That appears unlikely to come back from Minnesota, though groups just like the Marlins, Dodgers, Rangers and Rockies might examine in as they proceed to hunt out assist on the place.