It's been twelve days since the Minnesota Twins signed Carlos Correa, pushing the team from the edge of rebuilding into full-on contender mode, but the team has done everything but rest since the deal was completed.
First came the news of the team's trade for Pablo Lopez, a move that undoubtedly hurt the team's chemistry a bit by sending away one of the franchise's most beloved players, but with a good starter and more as the return, it seemed passable. Today's news further secured the team's push for contention.
The deal sees the Twins secure one of their last remaining major needs (a right-handed batter) with a player that will be a good fit here in terms of ability and style of play. With this in mind, now feels as good a time as any to offer up a grade for the deal.
Minnesota Twins get: Michael A. Taylor
At first glance at his stats, Michael A. Taylor might not feel like the perfect fit for the Twins. He's not a great hitter, he strikes out a ton, and doesn't offer much in terms of power, but he does fill a couple gaping holes in the Twins roster.
First, he's a right-handed hitter. When the Twins DFA'd Kyle Garlick to make room for Carlos Correa, this meant that there were only two right-handed outfielders on the roster in Byron Buxton and Gilberto Celestino. With Celestino likely to start the season at Triple-A, they needed help (especially considering how two of the teams outfielders almost have to be platoon hitters).
Taylor fills that role. Throughout his career, he has been much better against lefties (.257/.310/.412) than righties (.235/.290/.369). Likely even more important than that though, he is an excellent defensive center fielder.
Taylor won a Gold Glove in 2021 and put together an impressive 3.2 bWAR last season through his skill defensively. This won't matter as much at the start of the year, but with Max Kepler, Joey Gallo, and Nick Gordon best used in the corners and Gilberto Celestino still in need of seasoning defensively, he will be a capable replacement in the semi-likely event that Byron Buxton is injured.
Lastly, Taylor also provides a little bit of speed. While he only stole four bases in 2022, the team has very few base stealers on the roster, and Taylor certainly is more capable than most of this group. All in all, Taylor is the perfect cheap addition to the roster
Kansas City Royals get: LHP Evan Sisk and RHP Steven Cruz
In order to get Taylor, who hits free agency after this year, the Twins had to part with two realitively low-profile prospects that most Minnesota Twins fans won't know. With that being said, the Royals shouldn't be too unhappy with their return.
Evan Sisk was one of the players I wanted to see in the majors at the end of last season, and even though he didn't quite make it, I'm a big fan of his potential. The side-arming lefthander posted a 1.57 ERA, a 1.016 WHIP, and struck out a whopping 76 batters in 63 innings between Double and Triple-A last season.
He doesn't have great stuff, and his control is still extremely questionable (4.1 BB/9), but he's just about MLB ready and a good pickup for the rebuilding Royals, who need as many relievers as possible with several likely to hit the trade market soon.
Steven Cruz is the highlight of this deal though. Ranked as the Twins No. 28 prospect by MLB.com prior to the deal, Cruz's calling card is his fastball that often touches triple digits with the power from his 6'7" frame.
Despite his impressive first pitch, Cruz is a very one dimensional pitcher. He's 23 (will be 24 in June), and his only other pitch is a slider (which could use work). To make matters worse, his control is nightmarish, as he walked a stunning 35 batters in 56 innings at Double-A last season. His ceiling is extremely high, but his floor makes him more of a lottery ticket than future star.
Minnesota Twins trade grade for Michael A. Taylor deal
Overall, this deal feels like a good one for the Twins. Taylor fits several key needs and boosts the team's depth in several different ways. He's likely not going to be here very long, but he's a great fit for a team who's depth has been a disaster.
As for what they're giving up, this deal is a good one for the Royals while also being a great one for the Twins. Taylor doesn't move the needle much for the Royals and they're able to pick up a pair of lottery tickets for him while the Twins add quality depth for two pitchers with no clear path to the majors. This is a sneaky good deal for Minnesota.