How did the Twins steal a top 100 prospect from Mariners in Jorge Polanco trade?

The Twins did VERY well with one part of the trade that sent Jorge Polanco to Seattle.
Wild Card Series - Toronto Blue Jays v Minnesota Twins - Game Two
Wild Card Series - Toronto Blue Jays v Minnesota Twins - Game Two / Stephen Maturen/GettyImages

Today is a somber day for the Minnesota Twins and their fans. Jorge Polanco spent 10 seasons with the organization and was the model of excellence throughout his tenure. With the news last night that Polanco was traded to the Mariners, it was a reminder that baseball is still a business after all and the one constant in the sport is change.

The writing was already on the wall when the decision to exercise Polanco's $10.5 million option for 2024 wasn't a slam dunk after a pair of injury riddled campaigns. Even after Minnesota did go ahead and retain him, Polanco had been the subject of trade rumors throughout the offseason given the Twins' crowded infield and the possible need to shed more payroll.

With just two years of contractual control where Polanco was set to make real money ($10.5 million in 2024 and then $12 million on his club option for 2025), it was fair to wonder if the Twins would be able to get a sizable return for him especially given his recent injury history. As it turns out, those worries were unfounded because Minnesota did very well for themselves.

Getting Gabriel Gonzalez in the Polanco trade is a huge win for the Twins

While getting Gabriel Gonzalez in the move is the headliner, the rest of the guys the Twins got are not slouches. Justin Topa had an excellent year in Seattle's bullpen in 2023 and should provide Minnesota with some nice depth there. Darren Bowen is a college draftee who had a solid first full season in the minor leagues and who possesses the athleticism to have even more upside than he has shown. Even Anthony DeSclafani has shown flashes of excellence recently as a starter assuming he can get past his elbow issues from last year. Seattle throwing in some cash is just icing on the cake.

However, that Minnesota was able to get all of those guys PLUS Gabriel Gonzalez, who the fine folks at MLB Pipeline ranked as the #79 prospect in baseball going into 2024, is remarkable. At just 20 years old, Gonzalez posted an .837 OPS across two levels of the minor leagues last season and his approach at the plate is beyond his years. He still needs to learn how to drive the ball consistently, but he has the ceiling of an All-Star corner outfielder that hits for average and power with a cannon of an arm.

All of that for two years of Jorge Polanco. Yes, Polanco had a lot of value to the Twins both in measurables and immeasurables. The reality, though, is that he has struggled to stay healthy the last couple of years and at 30 years old, it is likely that his best days are behind him. To get a potential outfielder of the future PLUS multiple arms to fill out Minnesota's pitching staff is a no-brainer.

That said, hopefully Jorge kills it in Seattle because he does deserve only the best in least until he has to face off against the Twins.

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