As the Minnesota Twins continue to bide their time and wait for a deal to materialize that helps improve the roster, players who used to call Target Field home are finding work elsewhere.
Free agents like Sonny Gray and Kenta Maeda landed deals almost as soon as the market opened after the World Series. We all knew Gray was a goner, and he backed that up by signing a $75 million deal with the St. Louis Cardinals. Maeda was more of a surprise to see leave, bolting to the Detroit Tigers on a $24 million deal.
Both contracts felt like ones the Twins could have matched if they wanted to, or if they weren’t handcuffed by a reduced payroll. Concerns over lost future revenue is what the front office is using as an excuse to not make any big moves this winter, and it’s starting to look like there won’t be any notable splashes at all.
It’s more than just recent Twins players finding work elsewhere in the league, though.
Angels sign Miguel Sano and Aaron Hicks to low-risk deals
Out west, the Los Angeles Angles were busy adding a pair of former Twins starters to its 2024 plans.
Last week the Angels signed Miguel Sano to a minor league deal, while adding Aaron Hicks to the major league roster on Monday.
Both Sano and Hicks had their moments with the Twins, but neither managed to stick around for very long. They have similar tracks, as they were looking like important pieces of a future core but ended up getting replaced by players Minnnesota thinks will be better suited.
Sano’s power hitting hasn’t really been replaced, but Royce Lewis now occupies his place at third base. Things are a little more dicey over at first, with an injured Alex Kirilloff potentially being who the Twins trot out, but there’s a chance that Edouard Julien gets enough experience there to take over the job.
Hicks was more cleanly replaced in centerfield. Despite his injury-plagued career, there aren’t any Twins fans who would trade Byron Buxton for Hicks. The former first round pick looked like the real deal early in his career during Spring Training but that never really translated to regular season success. He showed flashes after getting traded to the New York Yankees, but was DFA’d last season before landing with the Baltimore Orioles.
To his credit, Hicks found a way to contribute a bit to the Orioles postseason run, as short-lived as it was.
Hicks is better positioned to try and make an impact with the Angels. He’s not outright stealing anyone’s job in the outfield, but adds some interesting depth. Sano has more work to do, getting just a minor league deal but it’ll be one well worth the price if he can recapture some of the power he showed while with the Twins.