The Twins are adding outfield depth and have reportedly agreed to the acquisition. Michael A. Taylor from divisional rivals the Royals. minor league reliever Evan Sisk And Stephen Cruz Return to Kansas City.
Taylor has spent the past two years with Kansas City. Initially signed for a one-year, $1.75MM guarantee during the 2020-21 offseason, Taylor has impressed the Royals’ brass with stellar outfield defense. The center fielder has proven perfectly suited to the expansive Kauffman Stadium and an organization that places a premium on defense. He secured his first career Gold Glove in 2021 and a $9 million expansion later that season covering the 2022–23 campaign.
During the first season of his new two-year contract, Taylor continued his generally stellar defensive play. He pitched just over 1000 innings in center field, and his defensive run saves allowed 19 runs better than average in the most demanding position among outfielders. It’s the second year in a row that DRS has rated him a +19, a metric that makes him the most valuable defensive outfielder in the game. Since the beginning of 2021, no center fielder has recorded more than 21 total DRS. Miles Straw It was far behind Taylor’s cumulative +38 mark.
Statcast rated him an above-average center fielder last season, but he wasn’t very enthusiastic. Its Outs Above Average metric posted a +5 last year after Taylor rated more than 14 points above average the previous season. Straw narrowly edged him over two years on that basis, but Taylor still confirms second place in the position going back to the start of the 2021 season.
Byron BuxtonDefensively, he’s one of the few outfielders equal to or better than Taylor. He has no chance to top the league in cumulative defensive metrics, but injuries have kept him off the field. Buxton has thrown 955 innings in center field over the past two years, fewer than Taylor has reached in each individual season. He suffered a right hip strain in each of the past two seasons and missed several months in the second half of 2021 after a no-hit pitch fractured his left hand. Buxton also suffered a right knee injury last season that required season-ending surgical treatment after the Twins dropped out of playoff contention.
The All-Star outfielder displays MVP-level upside when healthy and will undoubtedly remain Minnesota’s starting center fielder. But he’s passed 100 games only once a season, so it’s understandable the Twins want to bolster their depth behind him. Gilberto Celestino Despite being the best reserve option last year, he only hit .238/.313/.302 with a pair of homers in 347 at-bat appearances. Celestino is a great defender, but not to Taylor’s level. With a minor league option season still to go, the 23-year-old can now open the season at Triple-A St. Paul as he has jumped on the depth chart.
right field Max Kepler He’s athletic enough to handle center field if need be, but there’s no guarantee he’ll make the roster on Opening Day. Minnesota has a number of left-handed outfielders, which increased their chances of trading in that group to cover other areas like first base and the bullpen. Kepler, who is the oldest in the group and has the least club control, would be the most direct candidate for such a move.
The Twins traded outfielders despite seemingly being in the black, but Taylor’s right-handed bat should help balance them out. He posted below-average overall offense throughout his career, posting .241/.296/.381 lines over nine big league seasons. Except for a solid .271/.320/.486 with the Nationals in 2017, he’s been a lower-order hitter every year. I’d expect him to be a bit better when it comes to platoon advantage, but regardless of pitcher dexterity. Taylor has a career line of .257/.310/.412 against left-handed pitchers and .235/.290/.369 marks against righties.
Strikeouts were a major issue for the 31-year-old. He recorded a career-high 29.4 percent of his punches at the plate while walking at a meager 6.9 percent. To his credit, Taylor made some progress in that department last season. His 23.9% strikeout rate was a personal low, just a few percentage points above the league record. It looks like he made some sacrifices in terms of impact, as his 32.3% hard contact percentage last season was his career low.
Taylor obviously wouldn’t be expected to deliver much offensive impact. He did some lineup balancing, joining Celestino as the only right-swinging outfielder on the 40-man roster. More importantly, he will provide manager Rocco Baldelli with a quality defensive option when needed off the bench or if Buxton misses time.
That’s a cheap extra for the Twins, which Taylor will have to pay $4.5MM next season before becoming free agent. The projected salary in Minnesota, calculated by Roster Resource, is $155 million. That would be a franchise record for opening the club in the $134 million range last year. The Twins have been fairly quiet this offseason until the calendar turns to 2023, but they have re-signed. Carlos Correaupset Luis Araez for pablo lopez And we’ve got Taylor in just a few weeks with potential customers. Minnesota will likely continue to scour the market for upgrades, at least near the margin, as it battles the Guardians and White Sox in the Central AL.
Meanwhile, the Royals are sending veterans for future help following a 65-win season. Taylor looked like one of the better candidates for a trade on the roster as an impending free agent. Kansas City initially set up some pretty significant requests, and reportedly are targeting his right-hander. Josh Winder Talking to the Twins. Minnesota was hesitant, and the team eventually veered with a pair of minor leaguers.
In April, Sisk, 26, entered the pro ranks as a 16th round pick by the Cardinals in 2018. JA Hap to St. Louis. Sisk, a left-handed reliever, is a double-a Wichita and St. We split the season between Paul. He pitched 63 innings in 50 games, posting a stellar 1.57 ERA and punching 29.8 percent of opposing batters. But he also walked opponents an astounding 11.4 percent and showed scattershot control during his time in the minors.
The same goes for Cruz, who is 6-foot-7 right-handed. Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2017, he threw 192 1/3 frames over five minor league seasons. Cruz spent the entire 2022 season with Wichita, displaying a high strikeout, high walk approach similar to Sisk’s. The 23-year-old fanned 28 percent of his opponents but walked nearly 14 percent of his opponents. Baseball America wrote last season that Cruz could touch triple digits and own a slider in the low 80s that gives him a chance to carve out an MLB bullpen spot if he can hone his strike throw better.
Neither Sisk nor Cruz are on the 40-man roster. Both players were left open in the Rule 5 draft this offseason. They will give the Kansas City player development staff a pair of upper-level bullpen potential along with a clear ability to miss the bat. Both pitchers could make an appearance at some point in 2023. Cruz qualifies as a minor league free agent if he isn’t added to the 40-man roster by next offseason.
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