Minnesota Twins: What Royce Lewis’ second ACL tear means for the Twins
The Minnesota Twins are in first place in the American League Central. The team is finally getting healthy, with their top two starters, Joe Ryan and Sonny Gray return this week. Things were looking up, at least until the Twins released the news that Royce Lewis had tore his ACL:
Curses aren’t real. I don’t believe in them. But after seeing Jordan Balazovic, Alex Kirilloff, and Lewis all suffer serious injuries (Lewis twice now) and watching an infamous 18 consecutive playoff losses, it’s hard to feel optimistic.
What should the Minnesota Twins do now that Royce Lewis is out for another year?
This injury in particular is an absolutely devastating one. Lewis partially tore the same ACL he tore last year. It’s going to be brutal to have him miss all of this year and the start of next year, especially considering how hot he started the season, both in Triple-A and in the Majors.
For the Twins, this doesn’t hurt too much in 2022. Lewis was going to be a great utility player this year, down the stretch run, and in the playoffs, but Carlos Correa is the man at shortstop. The Twins don’t need him this year. Next year is the big issue.
Lewis will be out likely through June next year, meaning the Twins will be without one of their top young players to start the season. Even more concerning, Carlos Correa is here, but at the end of the year, it’s assumed across the league that Correa will opt out of his three year, $105 million deal.
Correa has said that he enjoys it here, and he will definitely consider sticking around. An opt-out and an extension is a real possibility, and it’s the clear answer to solve the team’s biggest problem:
Unfortunately, if Correa doesn’t re-up here, this leaves a massive hole in the Twins lineup with no quick fix. The Twins front office built for 2023 to be their contending season, and you can’t contend without a stud shortstop (Just look back at the shortstops for the last ten World Series Winners).
There aren’t a lot of in-house options. Lewis is out for two months, and after two surgeries, there’s no guarantee he’ll return there. Jermaine Palacios is a very good defender, but he’s not a very good hitter. Spencer Steer and Austin Martin don’t look like they belong at short. Jorge Polanco and Nick Gordon can’t start every day there for over two months. It’s tough in free agency too.
In the shortstop market, Correa is joined by Trea Turner, Xander Bogaerts, Dansby Swanson, but it’s unlikely that if Correa doesn’t come back that any of those other three would head to Minnesota. That leaves the Twins with options like Didi Gregorius, Jose Iglesias, Aledmys Diaz, and Chris Owings and honestly none of them are acceptable options.
The Minnesota Twins will have a really tough decision coming up this offseason. Things are fine for now, for sure. This injury won’t kill the Minnesota Twins in 2022. But it will absolutely cause some problems in the future.