It has become abundantly clear that the Minnesota Twins do not intend on getting involved in free agency, at least not the high end of it.
The only additions the team has made so far are low-risk gambles like Josh Staumont and Bubba Thompson. Both have intrigue but neither really moves the needle or does much to fill any of the voids that still exist on the roster.
Namely, the Twins need to find a replacement for Sonny Gray at the top of the rotation. Pablo Lopez is the team's ace, but he needs a Robin to his Batman which is something the Twins don't currently have. Chris Paddack will be a nice addition to the rotation but he's not a frontline starter, and neither is Joe Ryan who feels more like a No. 3 starter.
That's where a trade comes into play, something that has been teased all winter without any payoff. Minnesota will almost certainly make a move, something Rocco Baldelli is betting on, but the question becomes who should the Twins trade and who needs to stay?
3 players the Minnesota Twins should trade and 2 they should keep
Twins should trade: Jorge Polanco
We're not really breaking any new ground here by suggesting the Twins need to trade Jorge Polanco, but the lack of movement so far suggests the front office might need a reminder.
Minnesota has historically waited out the market and landed on its feet. That seems to be the strategy here with Polanco, as the slow free agent market combined with a small pool of infield help bodes well for the Twins finding great trade value. The question is how long is too long to wait for a deal?
Already Twins fans are bracing for the possibility that this could be an extended situation. The rumor mill has been quiet when it comes to Polanco with no signs of that changing. We've also been prepped for Polanco possibly still being on the roster when Opening Day rolls around, which seems like a failure even if having him in the lineup objectively makes the Twins better.
The logjam of infielders is what seals the deal for Polanco, as it's truly a matter of when not If he gets dealt. Brooks Lee, Austin Martin, and Junior Severino can all play second, with Edouard Julien occupying that space now. What the Twins can't afford to do is hang onto Polanco so long that it starts to ding his value, as front office will likely be much more inclined to offer a bigger deal now when putting together their rosters than after things are set and it's apparent that the Twins have no place for him in the lineup.
Maybe that's reading too far into it, but the longer Minnesota waits to make a deal the more frustrating the lack of movement becomes.
Twins should keep: Brooks Lee
Let's not overthink this one, which is something that's starting to happen with Brooks Lee. The arrival of Walker Jenkins bumped Lee out of the top spot in the Twins prospect rankings, but the hype around him is still there. He's been the best prospect in the farm system since he was drafted back in 2022, and last year saw him rise all the way to Triple-A St. Paul where he started to prove he might be Major League-ready sooner than expected.
There's a very decent chance that Lee gets called up this season, but the calls to trade him as part of a deal that brings back a Sonny Gray replacement are a bit misguided. One of the key hangups seems to be his future positional value, as the entire left side of the infield is spoken for.
Royce Lewis is going to be playing third for the foreseeable future, with Carlos Correa manning shortstop. Even second base gets tricky, as Edouard Julien needs to be in the lineup, although he can easily be moved to DH (or first base) since Lee is better defensively.
There's room for Lee in the infield, and the Twins should trade him before seeing what they have. That's something the team can afford to do and should do, especially with how well the youth movement worked last year. Lee's trade value is being amplified by the glut of talent Minnesota has coming up, but it shouldn't be misconstrued as a reason he needs to be dealt when there might be other options that allow the Twins to have their cake and eat it too.