It’s one of the most important offseasons in recent memory for the Minnesota Twins, and already the front office has been put in a complicated situation.
After winning the AL Central for the ninth time, and winning a playoff game for the first time since 2004, the expectation for the Twins is that the team will seriously compete for a World Series next season. Pitching is a strength, stars like Carlos Correa are locked in, and Minnesota has a ton of young talent ready to explode and usher in the next generation.
Minnesota’s response that was to make the first move of the offseason slashing the payroll by about $20 million. A lot of that had to do with the uncertainty about television revenue next year, which is the most boring reason to tap out of hot stove season before it even begins.
The Twins will still make moves, but the front office will have to get creative in order to make them happen. Cost-cutting is a buzzword that will get tossed around a lot this offseason, and part of that might involve trading guys like Christian Vazquez to free up money and roster space.
Pros and cons of trading Christian Vazquez
We’ve heard all about Jorge Polanco and Max Kepler as trade chips for the Twins — both in terms of adding value back and cost-cutting — but Vazquez is a guy who doesn’t seem too far behind.
The main benefit of trading Vazquez would be the potential for saving some money on the contract he’s still owed. Vazquez has two years and $20 million left on his deal, and that’s money the Twins would probably like to have back and spend elsewhere to improve the roster.
If Vázquez is traded, it also opens up a roster spot for a young player who has made some waves at St. Paul.
Jair Camargo was a player the Twins went out of their way to protect from the Rule 5 Draft, which might be a sign of how the team sees him factoring into the future. Moving Vazquez would mean Camargo could slide into the backup catcher role and split time behind the plate with Ryan Jeffers.
It’s essentially what Vazquez is doing now, but it’d be much cheaper and would be a continuation of the Twins youth movement that help revitalize the roster last year.
Of course, it’s not as easy as simply trading Vazquez and freeing up payroll.
Aaron Gleeman pointed out a potential pitfall in the plan while talking about a Vazquez trade earlier this week. If the Twins move him, there’s a chance the team will have to eat at least part of the $20 million left on his deal in order to finesse a trade.
Vazquez is an elite defensive catcher but he didn’t have the best year offensively, something that hurts his value on the market. He’s also a year older than he was when the Twins tacked on the third year of his contract to seal the deal while pursuing him last offseason. All of that combines to create a situation where the Twins might not actually be getting that much money back by trading him, which begs the question of if it’s just better to keep him if they’re going to have to pay for him.
Among potential trades the Twins can make, one involving Vazquez doesn’t seem to be high on the priority list. It’s certainly something to consider and keep an eye on, though.