Grading the Minnesota Twins’ first trade of the 2020 Season
By Otto Johnson
The Minnesota Twins made their first trade of the regular season, and while it’s not a big one, we still grade the deal regardless.
The Minnesota Twins are in first place in the AL central after a very good start to the season. Usually, when that’s the case, the team looks to make some additions to the roster to help them win more games in the chase for the playoffs.
The Twins made a move today that they think will help them in that chase when they acquired infielder Ildemaro Vargas for cash earlier Tuesday from the Arizona Diamondbacks. Vargas is a 29-year-old, switch-hitting, utility man with experience at every position except catcher, with most playing time coming at second base, shortstop, and third base.
Vargas does have a career slash line of .257/.287/.674 after a cold start to the 2020 season, and he was out of minor-league options. With the trade essentially complete, we break down the trade for both teams, grade the deal, and talk about how it’ll help the Twins going forward.
Arizona Diamondbacks receive: Cash
The motives for the Diamondbacks are pretty clear, as the Vargas was out of options and couldn’t be sent straight back down. The only part I don’t understand is why he didn’t get more playing time in Arizona.
Vargas was a stellar hitter at the Triple-A level, hitting .293 over all levels and hitting .326 at Triple-A specifically. The Diamondbacks are not a great team, so it doesn’t make sense to me why they’d give up on him after 126 games. Still, they got something for a player they didn’t have plans for Grade: C+.
Minnesota Twins receive: Ildemaro Vargas
Twins fans hoping for a splash will have to wait a little while longer, as the Twins first deal of the year brings back a guy who has been just fine at the major league level, but isn’t very much to write home about.
Vargas was never a highly touted prospect, as being the Diamondbacks No. 19 Prospect in 2017 was his best ranking, but his value comes from his versatility. Vargas can play at any infield position and play it well, and the switch-hitting ability means he can be in the lineup against any pitcher.
He reminds me of a lot of Ehire Adrianza with a little more talent and less speed and clutch-hitting ability. Both are switch hitters, both can play all over the diamond, both have okay hitting ability.
The Twins are probably hoping that with a little more time and attention, Vargas, who is almost two years younger than Adrianza, can help fill the utility void left when Adrianza and Marwin Gonzalez likely leave in free agency next year, but this only works if Vargas can stay on the major league roster.
If Vargas has to go through waivers, he’ll likely be claimed, but this is a low risk, medium reward for a Twins team that could be struck by more injuries at any moment. This is an unnecessary, but good deal. Grade: B.