The Minnesota Twins look to be very active in the 2021 offseason, which raises the question: Does it make more sense to trade Jorge Polanco or Eddie Rosario?
The offseason is officially here, and speculation on the Minnesota Twins trade market has come early in the 2021 offseason. While the Minnesota Twins’ main transactional focus remains bringing back Nelson Cruz, there are two players on the current roster who could be trade bait for the Twinkies; Eddie Rosario and Jorge Polanco.
Both Rosario and Polanco currently serve as the two longest-tenured Minnesota Twins and have been staples for the organization as it transitioned away from the Joe Mauer era and into the current era of the Bomba Squad.
Despite this, Rosario and Polanco’s names are tossed around by writers and fans alike as pieces to trade to let in the players of the future. With a plethora of star prospects in the outfield and at shortstop, will this cause the Twins to trade either of their long time starters?
Of the Twins’ Top 30 prospects on MLB.com:
- Five of them are outfielders with an estimated time of arrival to the Bigs listed for 2021 (or 2020)
- Three of them are infielders that play shortstop who might be ready for the Majors next season.
With so much talent ready to come up, this begs the question: Who makes more sense to trade; Jorge Polanco or Eddie Rosario? Let’s dig in.
Contract Status with the Minnesota Twins
Rosario and Polanco’s contract statuses differ greatly from each other. The Minnesota Twins signed a five-year extension with Polanco prior to the start of the 2019 season that would keep him from free agency until the 2023-24 offseason.
Polanco also has $17.33 million remaining on his contract. Eddie Rosario is in his last year of arbitration with the Twins before free agency, and is projected to earn $12.9 million for 2021 (one of the biggest issues in trading Rosario).
For teams that would be interested in either player, Polanco would certainly attract more offers for the Minnesota Twins based on contract alone. Polanco’s contract is cheaper, lasts longer, and is very team friendly in value. If a team was to look at this factor alone, Polanco would be FAR more likely to be traded than Rosario.
Organizational Depth of the Minnesota Twins
As I mentioned earlier, the Twins have many prospects who might be Major League ready throughout the 2021 season. This potentially includes top prospect and former No. 1 overall pick Royce Lewis, who is poised to be one of the best shortstops (if not the best) in Minnesota Twins history.
On top of that, the Twins also have Alex Kirilloff and Trevor Larnach, two highly-touted outfield prospects that could easily fill into the role of an everyday left fielder. All three look ready to make some kind of impact in 2021.
Unfortunately, with Polanco and Rosario holding their positions full-time right now, it’s hard to say how much playing time Lewis, Kirilloff and Larnach would be able to get. If the Minnesota Twins were to give less playing time to any of these three prospects due to keeping Rosario and/or Polanco, it would make more sense to keep Rosario for one season rather than Polanco for three.
That way, Lewis would be called up sooner to prove why he was worthy of being drafted number one overall back in the 2017 MLB Draft. And in case Kirilloff and/or Larnach don’t quite catch fire when they are first called up to the Bigs, the veteran Rosario is there to hold the position another full year until they are ready.
All organizational depth considered, it would make much more sense for the Minnesota Twins to trade Jorge Polanco instead of Eddie Rosario.
Long term health issues for the Minnesota Twins
Fortunately for both Rosario and Polanco (and the Twins), they have been fairly healthy players for the majority of their careers so far. They were the top two Minnesota Twins in games played for 2020, and they have both played in over 400 games for the Twins since 2017.
With that being said, Polanco did miss half of the 2018 season for the Minnesota Twins due to an 80-game PED suspension after he tested positive for Stanozolol. Rosario isn’t clean when it comes to PED suspensions either.
Rosario received his first PED suspension in the minors in 2013 that were related to pain killers he was taking. Rosario again tested positive in early 2014, when he received a 50 game suspension from MLB. Since then, Rosario has never tested positive for PEDs and has proven himself a clean player in MLB.
Take away their missed playing time due to PED use, Polanco and Rosario are both durable players when it comes to their health. They are able to stay on the field throughout the majority of a 162 or 60 game season, and that makes them highly valuable on the trade market.
Who makes more sense to trade overall for the Minnesota Twins?
Taking these three factors into account, the Minnesota Twins would get a lot more value back if they decided to trade Jorge Polanco instead of Eddie Rosario this offseason. Polanco is on a very team-friendly contract, Royce Lewis is about ready for his MLB debut, and Polanco has proven to have the stamina to play pretty close to an entire 162 game season.
On the flip side, as we’ve talked about, Rosario would be much harder to trade and wouldn’t net a lot of value back. Let’s see if the Twins can find a team to get a deal done for Jorge Polanco this offseason.