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Twins not motivated to make salary-dump trades, could keep Jorge Polanco into next season

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Photo credit:Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports
Thomas Hall
5 months ago
The Minnesota Twins might not be as inclined to serve as a trade partner for the Toronto Blue Jays as many believed previously.
At the start of the off-season, it appeared several Major League Baseball organizations – including the Twins – would be forced to reduce payrolls due to uncertainty regarding their regional broadcasting contracts with Diamond Sports Group, the parent company of Bally Sports.
But many things have changed since then.
Most notably, Amazon announced plans Wednesday to partner with DSG as part of a restructuring agreement, allowing them to remain operational and emerge from bankruptcy. Before matters proceed, though, the plan must receive approval from the bankruptcy court – a hurdle still yet to be cleared.
Diamond’s 2024 portfolio currently includes the rights for nine MLB clubs, including the Detroit Tigers, Miami Marlins, Kansas City Royals, Milwaukee Brewers, Tampa Bay Rays, St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds, Los Angeles Angels and Atlanta Braves – all of whom are expected to receive their entire rights fees.
The Twins, whose contract with DSG expired at the end of last season, remain a free agent for the 2024 campaign, while the Texas Rangers and Cleveland Guardians are waiting to gain additional clarity on whether each of their broadcasting contracts will be honoured. All three clubs are said to be discussing restructured deals with the network.
In the meantime, none possesses the cost certainty necessary to spend in free agency or make a significant splash via trade, which has played a massive role in dictating this off-season’s snail-like pace.
As The Athletic’s Dan Hayes wrote Friday, the Twins are willing to wait for the market to develop even with the start of spring training less than a month away. And since their regional broadcasting and streaming situation remains cloudy, they’re in no rush to pull the trigger on trades involving infielders Jorge Polanco, Kyle Farmer and outfielder Max Kepler.
Polanco, whose contract includes a $10.5 million salary in 2024 and a $12.5 million club option for ’25, would be an ideal trade target for the Blue Jays, given his bat-first profile and defensive versatility across the infield. But as Hayes notes, the Twins seek MLB-ready contributors rather than prospects. So, they likely won’t have much interest in a package centred around young infielders such as Damiano Palmegiani, Addison Barger or Leo Jimenez.
If that price isn’t met, Minnesota’s front office appears prepared to dig its heels in, meaning the 30-year-old switch-hitter could open this spring still a part of the organization and could stay put leading up to Opening Day, too.
That’s certainly not what Toronto’s brass wants to hear. Still, judging from general manager Ross Atkins’ recent media availability, it’s fair to assume he’s also grown frustrated at the lack of trade activity this winter – not just with the Twins but across the entire industry.
“On the postion-player front, there just aren’t a ton of players available [in free agency], but some of them still are,” Atkins said during his Zoom call on Jan. 3. “I think the other factor is teams are less willing to trade away talent from their systems and trade away players from their major league roster than they have been say, five to 10 years ago.”
Similar to the Twins, the Blue Jays also feature a surplus of infielders after signing Isiah Kiner-Falefa last month, which, in some respects, has made Santiago Espinal redundant. Plus, a wave of infield prospects is knocking at the door in Buffalo, including Orelvis Martinez, Otto Lopez (out of options), Palmegiani, Barger and Jimenez.
Ideally, Atkins would likely prefer to attach a few of those names alongside Espinal in a deal that sends Polanco the other way, adding another layer of third-base depth with Matt Chapman departing in free agency. At the moment, however, that trade route doesn’t appear feasible.
Things can shift between now and the club’s spring training opener on Feb. 24, and management is well-positioned to continue waiting – both in free agency and on the trade front. But there’s no denying this has been one of the most trying and toughest off-seasons to predict in recent years.
Where it goes next is anyone’s guess.

ARTICLE PRESENTED BY BETANO

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