The decision to part ways with fan favorite Jorge Polanco isn’t something the Twins took lightly. There’s a respect for the 30-year-old second baseman that runs deep in Minnesota. He made it that way over the past decade-plus, signing with the organization as a 16-year-old out of the Dominican Republic and eventually turning himself into an unlikely face of the franchise.
Looking at the big picture, however, the Twins made the tough call on Monday when president of baseball operations Derek Falvey traded Polanco to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for starting pitcher Anthony DeSclafani, reliever Justin Topa, outfield prospect Gabriel Gonzalez, pitching prospect Darren Bowen, plus cash considerations.
It was an impressive haul for the Twins. Not only did they get a couple of pitchers that can help them immediately, they also got a couple of prospects that could help in the future. All for an aging player whose best days might be behind him.
The move made too much sense for the Twins without even considering the fact that Polanco was already viewed as expendable heading into this offseason. He resided in a Twins infield ripe with talented players, all of whom are younger than him, and it seemed like only a matter of time before he was forced to take a backseat.
“We think we have a really deep infield group,” Falvey said. “There’s a lot of bodies.”
Naturally, star shortstop Carlos Correa and star third baseman Royce Lewis get all the hype, and rightfully so. That doesn’t even begin to tell the full story for the Twins, though, as they have an excess of infielders more than capable of making an impact.
There’s a youth movement that includes new everyday second baseman Edouard Julien, who took the big leagues by storm as a rookie last season, top prospect Brooks Lee, who should be called up at some point next season, and former No. 5 overall pick Austin Martin, who will likely make an impact sooner rather than later.
All of those names were mentioned by Falvey when he discussed the organizational depth. It isn’t hard to see how Polanco was on the verge of getting phased out.
“We had a lot of conversations,” Falvey said. “There was a ton of interest in Polo.”
Why not sell high before his value potentially starts to drop off? That’s what the Twins decided to do in this scenario, and they were able to address a number of needs in the process.
“It doesn’t always come together like this,” Falvey said. “Ultimately, it came together in a way that allowed us to address the present and the future.”