Taylor doesn’t provide an impact bat, as he had a . 670 OPS in 2022, but his role is significant as the right-handed insurance for Byron Buxton, whose injury history is well documented. Taylor should be an instant upgrade to depth over the youngster Gilberto Celestino615 OPS while forcing a big hit (122 games) last season.
Twins receive: Michael A. Taylor
Members of the royal family receive: RHB Stephen Cruz (Twins probability number 28), LHP Ivan Sisk
Taylor was in the final year of a two-year, $9 million contract that offers the Twins the option of right-handers to mix and match at center field if Buxton is relegated, with left-handers Joey Gallo and Nick Gordon also hitting left-handers in the fray. Considering how impressive the Twins are joining the platoon, Taylor’s .722 career OPS against left fielder could be an important consideration, even as a cornerback option or defensive replacement late in the game when Buxton is healthy.
The deal further mobilizes an already packed outfield position, with Buxton, Gallo, Gordon, Max Kepler, Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach, Matt Wallner, Celestino, Taylor and even Kyle Farmer serving as potential options to roam the turf. With After Luis Araz was tradedKirillov and Gallo could take more at first base—though that would negate Gallo’s defensive value—while several of them could take turns at DH.
With the Twins potentially needing bulls-deep, they could still seek deals from that outer depth as well, with Kepler’s name still popping up in trade rumors throughout the tease.
One thing is clear, though: In its current form, between Buxton, Kepler, Gallo, and Taylor, this will likely be one of the Twins’ best defensive pitches in almost any configuration, with four gold gloves between it and Kepler’s perfect statistical metrics. in the field. This can be a boon in particular for Joe Ryan and Tyler Mahley, who generate above-average averages for flyballs.
On paper, this is a deep move that wouldn’t be terribly prominent on the national radar — but it could potentially be very significant for the Twins. Consider Celestino, Jake Cave and Mark Contreras combined for 585 games last season due to the twins’ outfield injuries, or Cave, Celestino and Rob Revsnyder combined for 397 games in 2021.
With Buxton’s health concerns and the injury-plagued history of Kirilloff and Larnach, depth of field has played a huge part in the Twins’ recent history – and Taylor could bring some veteran stability there.
In contrast, the Twins handled a pair of undrafted relief opportunities in Cruz and Sisk, both of whom had interesting potential in the high minors but struggled with their control.
Cruz, at 6-foot-7 with a huge fastball, peaked at Double-A Wichita, but struggled with walks. Sisk was one of the Twins’ more intriguing bullpen options at the Triple-A St. Louis Cardinals. Paul due to his left-handed delivery with intense crossfire action – but his great strike rate was also hampered by control issues and very obvious platoon splits. Originally acquired in a JA Happ deal with the Cardinals at the 2021 trade deadline.
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