The Minnesota Twins have struggled out of the gate in 2021, but have been very hot over the past seven games. The question as to whether they should be sellers or if they should keep the current pace has been debated greatly through the past few weeks.
If the Twins were to be sellers, the team could take advantage of a very deep roster and ship off some depth pieces that aren’t essential for the team’s success in the future. Numerous websites and analysts have talked about Jose Berrios, Nelson Cruz, and even Byron Buxton, but moving any of these players would include something drastic.
If Berrios and Buxton were to be traded, the Minnesota Twins as an organization would view the early season struggles of 2021 as a long-term issue, and the general thought around baseball is that isn’t the case.
A Nelson Cruz trade would make sense in a lost season, but as a clubhouse leader who could only be traded to the other American League teams, meaning a trade really wouldn’t bring back much in terms of value.
The way this team is built suggests that if the team were to be sellers, it wouldn’t be a key player like Cruz, Berrios, or Buxton, but rather an expendable player who was never supposed to last past 2021. This brings me to Andrelton Simmons.
Simmons was signed in the offseason to a one-year, $10.5 million deal, presumably as a one year stopgap while Royce Lewis was getting ready through one more year in the minors. He would play great defense, keep the team in competition, and be a solid veteran presence in the locker room. Welp, none of that has happened.
Royce Lewis was injured early, meaning the chances that he’s the team’s starting shortstop on Opening Day of 2022 are basically zero. Simmons was supposed to help keep the team in the playoff hunt this season, and while the team isn’t totally out of contention, that’s not thanks to Simmons.
His defense has been it’s usual reliable level, but his offense is the worst level that it’s been at in his entire career. His batting average and slugging percentage are both career lows, with less speed than he’s ever had.
He also hasn’t been a particularly good leader or clubhouse member either. Simmons was the first member of the team to get Covid-19, and has been at odds with his teammates over getting vaccinated.
This makes it seem like his trade value isn’t particularly high, but Simmons has the advantage of playing shortstop, a position where teams desperately need solid contributors. He’s still an extremely good defender, and with a league in desperate need of shortstops, the Minnesota Twins need to take advantage.
Looking around the league, teams that are attempting to contend like the Cincinnati Reds, the Oakland Athletics, and more could benefit from having Simmons as their shortstop. Even if he doesn’t start, he’s a really good depth piece who could be added for a low-level prospect.
Why does a deal like this make sense for the Twins? For starters, Simmons is a bit of a luxury for the Twins. If he was traded, Jorge Polanco could move back to short, Luis Arraez could start at second (when he returns), or Nick Gordon could finally get a real shot to show what he can do.
The team’s defense may falter a little bit, but if the Twins decide to sell, Simmons could fetch a prospect and cost the team very little in terms of long-term value. It just makes sense for him to be the first man out the door.