Twins are about to learn whether the Manuel Margot gamble was worth the cost

After trading for him over the offseason, the Twins are going to find out if the Manuel Margot trade pays off.
Chicago White Sox v Minnesota Twins
Chicago White Sox v Minnesota Twins / Brace Hemmelgarn/GettyImages

One of the more surprising moves of the offseason was when the Minnesota Twins flipped a Top 25 prospect to acquire Manuel Margot from the Los Angeles Dodgers.

It wasn't that steep of a price -- Noah Miller is ranked 26th in the Dodgers farm system -- rather it was the cost absorbed internally that made some scratch their heads at the move. The Twins offset most of Margot's contract to the point where they're only on the hook for $4 million after getting $6 million back from Los Angeles. Minnesota still added to the payroll, though, something that the team seemed unwilling to do in any meaningful way and could have saved that money while not boxing out a top prospect.

The biggest loser of the Margot trade was Austin Martin, who seemed to be in line for an Opening Day roster spot until the deal happened. Martin was projected to platoon centerfield with Byron Buxton and provide insurance in the event of an injury happening.

Instead, the Twins purchased Margot as an insurance policy over Martin and we're about to see if that ends up paying off.

Twins trading for Manuel Margot is finally being put to the test

Buxton left Wednesday's win over the Chicago White Sox with right knee soreness, and it seems like a stint on the IL is in his future. Even of the injury isn't serious and the results of the MRI come back negative, the Twins would be wise to pump the brakes on Buxton's season and preserve the oft-injured superstar for the long haul.

That would mean the Margot insurance policy kicking in, which so far hasn't seemed like that great of a deal.

Margot has been pretty bad so far this season. He's hitting an abysmal .182/.270/.255 with an OPS that is dramatically lower than where his career mark has been. What's troubling about this isn't just the fact that Margot isn't hitting well, rather that his offense was the sales pitch for why he was acquired.

The Twins could have brought back Michael A. Taylor to fill the same role he did last season, but it was Margot's superior offensive skills that ended up being a tiebreaker.

While Margot struggles, Taylor is hitting .253/.301/.293 with the Pirates and sustaining the success the Twins doubted he could. It's something that makes the trade sting even more, and that's before considering how Minnesota stepped on its own toes in terms of a perfect in-house plan.

All we heard over the offseason was how the team had enough talent to withstand the $30 million payroll cut ownership made. Yet, Martin was passed over in favor of Margot when it might end up that he serves as Buxton's replacement anyway.

Martin was better offensively for the Twins and was having a much bigger defensive impact than Margot, who has regressed this season. If Buxton hits the IL then it's expected that Martin will get recalled and added back to the 26-man roster, but the fact that things have to be this complicated just further highlights how easy everything could have been.

That being said, there's hope that Margot can turn things around with increased playing time. He was a .281/.341/.420 hitter against left-handed pitching for a .761 OPS when the Twins acquired him, and if he can get back to that level of production then there's no question the insurance policy was worth it.

A lot of that involves hoping and wishing things will get better, which has been a losing strategy for the Twins. Finding an insurance policy for Buxton was the right move, but we're about to find out if they ended up getting the right one.

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