One of the biggest improvements the Minnesota Twins made this offseason was structuring the team’s depth in a way that should help prevent any steps back due to an injury. That’s being put to the test right away, as the Twins are going to need to account for the loss of Jorge Polanco for at least the first week of the season.
It was revealed this week that Polanco will begin the season on the Injured List, and it’s unclear how much time he will miss. Polanco hasn’t played at all in Spring Training, and there was some hope that he’d be able to sneak in some time in late-March to get ready for the season.
That didn’t happen, and now Minnesota needs to rely on its carefully constructed depth to make up the difference righ away.
Polanco might be ready before the end of April, but there doesn’t appear to be a timetable set for his return.
Alex Kirilloff is also goin to missing the beginning of the season, but that’s a whole different ball of yarn we’ll pick at later. For now, let’s go over some ways the Twins can replace Polanco in the lineup and tread water while everyone waits for him to make his season debut.
The Twins brought in Solano for a few different reasons, but one of them was to help create offense against left-handed pitching. Polanco has struggled in that area throughout his career, but Solano is someone who can start at second against lefties instead of hoping for the best with Polanco.
Since 2019 Solano has batted .321 versus lefties, where Polanco has hit just .265 against lefties throughout his entire career.
Putting Solano at second also allows Rocco Baldelli to get creative with pinch hitting situations and strategize against an opponents bullpen knowing he has Polanco on the bench to come in against right-handed relief.
All of that is to say Solano was already in the plans for second base this season, even if how he’ll begin the season there wasn’t how the plan was drawn up. The blueprint was there to use Solano with Polanco healthy, and not a ton changes in that regard without him in the lineup. The difference now is finding ways to make up the days Polanco would have started while platooning with Solano at second.