What happens if the Twins trade Jorge Polanco?

Everyone has talked about a potential deal, but what will it look like once it happens?
Division Series - Minnesota Twins v Houston Astros - Game One
Division Series - Minnesota Twins v Houston Astros - Game One / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages

Most of the Minnesota Twins offseason plans remain lightly sketched in pencil, but one thing feels like it's pretty much set in stone. Jorge Polanco is the most valuable currency the team has and it's starting to sound increasingly likely that he's traded this winter.

The Twins need to find a way to replace Sonny Gray, who left to sign a deal with the St. Louis Cardinals in free agency. A reduced payroll complicates matters, and takes the Twins out of the running for one of the top pitchers on the market like Blake Snell and Yoshinobu Yamamoto.

Perhaps they'll shock the world like they did with Carlos Correa, but it's not likely.

A far more realistic route is using Polanco to acquire starting pitching in a trade. Max Kepler and Kyle Farmer are also viewed as top trade chips who could be used to help land a replacement for Gray, which sounds like what the Twins have in mind in terms of a target.

Either way, Polanco getting traded has been the most consistent conversation around the Twins this offseason. Something that hasn't been as widly discussed, or perhaps considered, is what happens after a trade goes down.

What happens if the Twins trade Jorge Polanco?

We know at least part of the fallout will involve a starting pitcher being added to the rotation. Ideally it's someone like Logan Gilbert who can slot in as thunder to Pablo Lopez's lightning, with Joe Ryan following as a solid No. 3 starter.

Another question is what happens around that, specifically when it comes to replacing Polanco's production in the lineup. He's one of the better defensive second baseman in the league and his bat has always managed to come through when the team needed it.

When the offense was slumping during the summer, Polanco helped provide a spark and he remained one of the more consistent hitters the Twins had. Trading him for starting pitching solves one problem, but will the team create a sitution like what we saw with Luis Arraez last season?

Minnesota traded Arraez to Miami for Pablo Lopez, which worked out phenomenally in making pitching a strength. It was also a deal that fans frustratingly pointed to as the Twins offense went ice cold during stretches of the season while Arraez legitimately looked like he might finish with a .400 average.

Every Twins fan would trade Arraez for Lopez again if given the chance, but at the time the biggest part of the gamble was that Minnesota didn't have a way to replace his production. Alex Kirilloff was coming back from an injury and Jose Miranda was being moved over to third.

Joey Gallo and Donovan Solano ended up platooning to add depth but that lack of production ended up being the true price paid for Lopez.

That isn't the case with Polanco, who the Twins can trade for pitching and not have the same gap that existed when trading Arraez. Eduoard Julien is the natural successor for Polanco, even though his glove leaves a lot to be desired. Austin Martin is also expected to be the next young Twins prospect to make the leap as part of the youth movement and he figures to factor in as well. There's also Yunior Severino, a power-hitter who the Twins protected from the Rule 5 Draft this year by giving him a spot on the 40-man roster.

Lest we forget Brooks Lee is in the pipeline and expected to get called up soon, and there's always the Hail Mary option of moving Royce Lewis over to second if all else fails.

The point is, unlike when the Twins traded Arraez there's logjam of depth at second base to fill in for Polanco. That doesn't make trading him any easier to stomach, as he's a fan favorite like Arraez was and is still one of the team's best players.

Minnesota can afford to deal him to strengthen the pitching staff, though, and doing so might end up creating an even better long term situation for the roster.

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