Twins should trade: Kyle Farmer
When the Twins tendered Kyle Farmer, the idea seemed to be they were doing so with the intention of trading him. He wasn't going to come cheap, as his pre-arbitration salary projection was around $6.6M but the team ended up settling at $6M that includes and extra $250,000 if he gets let go.
There's a $6.25M mutual option for next season, which could end up being important if he ends up in trade talks. The infield market is thin, as we've gone over, and having Farmer potentially under contract for more than one season is the type of thing that adds to his value.
Farmer is also a really good utility player, capable of playing all over the field. He falls into the same bucket as Jorge Polanco does in terms of there potentially being too many mouths to feed. The infield logjam impacts him but so does the presence of Willie Castro and Nick Gordon on the roster. Both players essentially equal the value of Farmer's contract, and present a classic two-for-one situation that makes Farmer's contract feel out of place in the payroll.
Then again, the Twins might have viewed his arbitration settlement as a free agent signing and chalked up the money spent to retain him the same they would have bringing in an external candidate. Just like Polanco, the Twins don't need to trade Farmer and would be perfectly fine having him do what he does best again next season. His pricey salary and the glut of talent at the positions he plays seems to suggest his best value might be what he can help bring in on the trade market.
Twins should trade: Another top prospect (if needed)
That shouldn't prevent them from sweetening the deal with someone else, if needed. The idea is to get better right now, and that might cost mortgaging part of the future but the good news is the Twins farm system remains respectably deep.
Walker Jenkins and Brooks Lee should be the only untouchable prospects -- everyone else is worth a conversation if it means landing the right starter. If, for instance, the Marlins wanted to trade Jesus Luzardo for Polanco and a prospect, that's worth exploring. Same thing with Logan Gilbert out in Seattle, the Twins can't afford to let a trade for a frontline starter fall apart because of its death grip on top prospects.
Emmanuel Rodriguez might not be far behind in the 'Do Not Trade' group, but some of the top pitchers in the Twins system could be used as currency to acquire someone ready to replace Sonny Gray right now. David Festa and Marco Raya are two of the top pitching prospects Minnesota could dangle, but it would need to be in the right deal. The Twins front office is still seeing stars after getting rocked by two bad trades back in 2022, one that saw them trade top prospects in splashy moves that didn't pan out.
Tyler Mahle needing Tommy John surgery was a plot twist and Jorge Lopez forgetting how to pitch after being named an All-Star was also a bad break. If the Twins moved prospects, though, swapping out future pitching talent for someone truly impactful now -- like a Luzardo, Gilbert or Corbin Burnes -- feels a bit different than what happened with Mahle or Lopez. It wouldn't be a short term rental like Gray, it would be an investment in the future the same way waiting for one of those pitching prospects to pan out would be -- only the payoff would come a lot sooner.