2022 Minnesota Twins Offseason Positional Preview: Shortstop

Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Marcus Semien exits the field after the sixth inning at Target Field against the Minnesota Twins. (Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports)
Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Marcus Semien exits the field after the sixth inning at Target Field against the Minnesota Twins. (Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Minnesota Twins enter the 2021 offseason with numerous questions across the board, and with a large number of positions with major question marks, it’s not so easy for Twins fans and writers to make real predictions at what could happen.

With that being said, we’re going to give it our best at breaking down each position on the roster and what to do this offseason, breaking down major questions, possible free agent additions, prospect call ups, trade options, and a prediction on what the position will look like when the 2022 season begins in roughly five months.

Our next Minnesota Twins positional preview focuses on the most uncertain spot: shortstop.

We moved through catcher and first base last week, with second base coming a couple days ago, but now it’s time to break down the most uncertain position on the entire roster: shortstop. The Twins enter 2022 with a gaping hole at the position with more than a few potential options to cover the position.

Prospects Royce Lewis and Austin Martin still seem to be too raw to be Opening Day starters, and with no true shortstops on the roster, we’re in for an interesting trip in the free agent market. Let’s see how it’s looking so far.

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Minnesota Twins second base Jorge Polanco hits a three run home run against the Kansas City Royals in the first inning at Kauffman Stadium. (Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports) /

Who’s currently on the Minnesota Twins Roster?

Jorge Polanco/Nick Gordon: We lumped both Jorge Polanco and Nick Gordon together here because they are the only players on the major league roster with shortstop experience in the bigs. Neither profiles best as a full-time shortstop at this point, so let’s hope that neither player is forced to play a large chunk of games there in 2022.

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Minnesota Twins infielder Royce Lewis celebrates in the dugout after hitting a solo home run. (Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports) /

Top Minnesota Twins Minor League Shortstops

Royce Lewis: Both of the Minnesota Twins top two prospects are shortstops, but we’ll start with the one who is most likely to be the answer here. Selected first overall in 2017, Royce Lewis has dealt with multiple injury setbacks but still flashes the ability to be the Twins’ guy in the future.

He’s got elite speed, a strong arm, some power potential, and can get on base at a good clip, but the only question is whether or not the injuries have taken too much of a toll. If he’s healthy for Spring Training and the Twins don’t sign a big name free agent, he’ll likely make his big league debut in 2022.

Austin Martin: The other half of the Twins’ elite prospect duo, Austin Martin was picked fifth overall out of Vanderbilt as one of the best college hitters in the draft with a smooth swing, power potential, and excellent batting average and on-base skills. His first season in the minors saw flashes of those skills, but it was more of a solid season than anything spectacular.

There also was the question raised as to whether or not he’ll stay at shortstop. Martin could very easily end up in center field, especially if Byron Buxton gets moved. Similar to Lewis though, we’ll likely see him in the majors by the end of 2022.

Wander Javier: One of my favorite players in the minors, Wander Javier is third in line at the shortstop position. He’s got stellar power, a good arm and glove, and solid speed, but he strikes out too much and struggles to get on base. He’s got potential still, but he isn’t likely to make the big leagues in 2022 (and could be stolen in the Rule 5 draft this offseason).

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Could Trevor Story be a fit at shortstop for the Minnesota Twins? (Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports) /

Free Agent and Trade Targets for the Minnesota Twins to Consider

Marcus Semien: The free agent the Twins tried desperately to get last year should be at the very top of their wishlist again in 2022. Although Marcus Semien will be far more expensive than he was last year, he still makes a lot of sense as a free agent target.

If the Twins can get Semien on a monster one year deal (1 year, $25 million), they’re right where they want to be. It gives Lewis and Martin another year to develop and gives the Twins a legitimate star duo up the middle for 2022.

If they add him on a massive contract (4 years, $104 million), they’re not going to have as much money for the future (or spending money for this year). He’s not likely to take that short-term deal, but if he does, it’s a good one for the Twins.

Trevor Story: Trevor Story is probably the best big name fit in Minnesota. Story put together his worst season since 2017 last year, and his splits away from Coors Field are a cause for concern, but his excellent defense and history make him worth the risk.

Story would be a better fit than Carlos Correa or Javier Baez because he is most likely to take a one or two year prove it deal to show what he can do outside of Colorado. If the Twins can get him for 1 year at $20 million, the offseason will be at least a partial success (Pitching is still mandatory).

Chris Taylor: If you think about what Chris Taylor does, no player makes more sense for a long-term deal than Chris Taylor. Taylor second base, shortstop, third base, and all three outfield spots. The Twins could sign him for 2021 with the plan for him to be the primary shortstop and then have him as a top utility man going forward.

He has tons of playoff experience, would be much cheaper than the other options and could be signed long-term without taking away future playing time from young prospects. Something like a 4 year, $64 million deal would be very enticing to Taylor.

Andrelton Simmons: Listen, before you get up in arms, just know I hate this idea. But it makes sense and is definitely something the team would do. The Twins need a lot of help on the mound. If the team opts for a one-year with a low cost option to hold the position, an Andrelton Simmons return would make sense.

He can’t be as bad as he was last year, and he already has been in the system for a year. It’s a not what the fans want at all, but if the Twins enter a rebuild, no one should be surprised if Simmons is in a Minnesota Twins uniform next year.

Jean Segura: A name that has been floated around as a possible trade candidate for quite a bit, Jean Segura is one of the best shortstops available for a trade. Segura has been remarkably consistent on offense and defense and is on a contract that pays $14.85 million in 2022 with a team option for 2023.

If Lewis is ready, they can jettison him for only $1 million. He has a full no-trade clause, but if that could be waived, the Twins would add a solid shortstop on a good deal (that doesn’t tie up the books in the future). To top it all off, the Phillies farm system is very weak, so he wouldn’t take much to acquire.

Predictions for Next Year’s Minnesota Twins Shortstop Room

I hate that I’m going to say this, but I don’t see the Twins changing too much. The team seems to be moving closer to trading Buxton and entering a retooling phase, so I kind of expect Andrelton Simmons back for another year. If not Simmons, Jose Iglesias is an option or Jorge Polanco could move back to short.

Next. Minnesota Twins: 3 Top Free Agents for the Twins to Consider. dark