MINNEAPOLIS — The range continues to be sizzling for the very lively Twins, who addressed their want for right-handed outfield depth by buying former Gold Glove-winning heart fielder Michael A. Taylor from the Royals on Monday in change for Minor League relievers Evan Sisk and Steven Cruz.
Taylor does not present an influence, as he had a .670 OPS in 2022, however his position is essential as right-handed insurance coverage for Byron Buxton, whose harm historical past has been well-documented. Taylor needs to be an instantaneous depth improve over teenager Gilberto Celestino, who posted a .615 OPS whereas compelled into appreciable motion (122 video games) final season.
Twins obtain: OF Michael A. Taylor
Royals obtain: RHP Steven Cruz (Twins’ No. 28 prospect), LHP Evan Sisk
Taylor is within the remaining 12 months of a two-year, $9 million contract and supplies the Twins with a right-handed possibility to combine and match in heart subject if Buxton had been to go down, with the left-handed hitting Joey Gallo and Nick Gordon additionally within the fray. Considering how a lot the Twins wish to platoon, Taylor’s .722 profession OPS in opposition to lefties could possibly be a big consideration, at the same time as a corner-outfield possibility or late-game defensive substitute when Buxton is wholesome.
This deal additional crowds an already packed outfield scenario, with Buxton, Gallo, Gordon, Max Kepler, Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach, Matt Wallner, Celestino, Taylor and even Kyle Farmer serving as potential choices to roam the grass. With Luis Arraez having been traded away, Kirilloff and Gallo might issue extra closely at first base — although that would negate Gallo’s defensive worth — whereas a number of might rotate by means of at DH.
With the Twins doubtlessly needing bullpen depth, they may nonetheless search to deal from this outfield depth as properly, with Kepler’s identify having continued to look in trade rumors all through the offseason.
One factor is evident, although: In its present kind, between Buxton, Kepler, Gallo and Taylor, this has the potential to be one of many Twins’ greatest defensive outfields in nearly any configuration, with 4 Gold Gloves between them and Kepler’s exemplary Statcast metrics within the subject. That could possibly be a boon specifically to Joe Ryan and Tyler Mahle, who generate larger than common charges of fly balls.
On paper, it is a depth transfer that will not be massively distinguished on the nationwide radar — nevertheless it has the potential to be a vital one for the Twins. Consider that Celestino, Jake Cave and Mark Contreras mixed for 585 plate appearances final season as a result of Twins’ outfield accidents, or that Cave, Celestino and Rob Refsnyder mixed for 397 plate appearances in 2021.
Due to the well being concerns for Buxton and the pockmarked harm histories of Kirilloff and Larnach, the outfield depth has performed an outsized position in current Twins historical past — and Taylor might deliver some veteran stability there.
In change, the Twins dealt a pair of unpolished aid prospects in Cruz and Sisk, each of whom had intriguing potential within the excessive Minors however struggled with their management.
Cruz, at 6-foot-7 with an enormous fastball, peaked at Double-A Wichita, however he struggled with walks. Sisk was one of many Twins’ extra intriguing bullpen choices at Triple-A St. Paul on account of his sidearm left-handed supply with an excessive crossfire movement — however his large strikeout charge was additionally dampened by management points and really pronounced platoon splits. He was initially acquired within the JA Happ cope with the Cardinals on the 2021 Trade Deadline.