6:00 p.m. Left-handed Ivan Sisk And right Steven Cruz They will return to Kansas City, according to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand (Twitter link).

5:58 p.m. The Twins are getting a center fielder. Michael A. Taylor In a trade with the Royals, as Jeff Passan and Kiley McDaniel of ESPN. It adds a high-level protection option to the back Byron Buxton As a fourth outfielder in Minnesota.

Taylor spent the last two years in Kansas City. Originally signed to a one-year, $1.75MM guarantee through the 2020-21 season, Taylor impressed the Royals’ best outfield defense. The center fielder proved to be a perfect fit for the expansive Kauffman Stadium and for an organization that prioritizes defense. In the year He won his first career Gold Glove in 2021 and received a $9MM extension at the end of that season that covers the 2022-23 campaign.

In the first season of his new two-year deal, Taylor continued his typically good defensive play. He has over 1,000 innings pitched, with runs saved and 19 more than the average home fielder. It was the second year in a row that DRS posted a run rating of +19, making him the defending champion of the tournament by far and away. Since the start of 2021, no other midfielder has scored more than 21 total DRS – second most. Myles Straw Behind Taylor’s total +38 mark.

Statcast wasn’t all that enthusiastic about Taylor’s performance last season, though, ranking him as an above-average center fielder. His above-average strikeout rate saw Taylor hit 14 more runs last year than he averaged last season. Straw narrowly edged out his two-year streak at that point, but Taylor will still make sure he’s second at the position heading into his 21st season.

In fact, Buxton is one of the few outfielders in the game who is as good or better defensively than Taylor. He hasn’t had the same opportunity to top the league in total defensive metrics, but injuries have sidelined him a fair amount over the last two seasons. Buxton has pitched 955 innings in center field over the past two years, fewer than Taylor has accomplished in each season. He has strained his right hip in each of the last two seasons and missed two months in the second half of 2021 after spraining his left hand on a hit-pitch. Buxton also played through a right knee injury last season, requiring season-ending surgery after the Twins fell out of the playoffs.

The All-Star outfielder projects MVP-caliber when healthy and clearly remains Minnesota’s starting center fielder. He’s only hit 100 games in a season once, but it’s understandable that the Twins will want to bolster their outfield depth behind him. Gilberto Celestino He was the top backup option last year, but he hit just .238/.313/.302 with one home run in 347 plate appearances. Celestino is a quality defender but not at Taylor’s level. With a minor league option year remaining, the 23-year-old has jumped up the depth chart and could open the season at Triple-A St. Paul.

Right fielder Max Kepler He’s athletic enough to man the middle infield if needed, though there’s no guarantee he’ll be on the upcoming Opening Day roster. Minnesota has several Left-handed hitting outfielders On the roster, it raises the possibility of dealing with that team to address other areas, such as first base or the bullpen. Kepler would be the most direct candidate for such a move as the oldest player in the squad and the player with the least amount of control at the club.

Although Taylor’s right-handed bat helped balance things out, the Twins traded for the outfield. He posted below-average total offensive numbers throughout his career with a .241/.296/.381 line over nine big league seasons. In the year In 2017, he hit .271/.320/.486 strong against the Nationals. Although he was projected to be a bit better when holding the platoon advantage, that was the case regardless of the pitcher’s arm. Taylor holds a .257/.310/.412 career line against left-handed pinch hitters, compared to a .235/.290/.369 left-handed mark.

The 31-year-old’s main concern is a stroke. He was struck out in 29.4% of his trips to the plate while walking a measly 6.9% of the time. To his credit, Taylor took a small step forward in that department last season. His 23.9 strikeout percentage last year was a personal low, just a few percentage points higher than the league mark. He appears to have sacrificed quite a bit in the way of impact to do so, with his 32.3% hard contact rate last season representing a career low.

Taylor obviously isn’t expected to provide much offensive noise. He brings some lineup balance, joining Celestino as the only true swinging outfielder on the 40-man roster. More importantly, he gives manager Rocco Baldelli a quality defensive option off the bench or, if necessary, when Buxton misses time.

It’s a reasonable raise for the Twins, who will take on Taylor’s $4.5MM salary this coming season before he hits free agency at the end of the year. That brings Minnesota’s projected payroll up to $155MM, as calculated. Directory resource. That would mark a franchise record, with the club opening last year in the $134MM range. The Twins were quiet this offseason until the calendar flipped to 2023, but they were re-signed. Carlos Correareversed Luis Arez b Paul Lopez And prospects and now bring Taylor in a few weeks. Minnesota figures to continue to scour the market for upgrades, at least around the perimeter, as they battle with the Cubs and White Sox in the AL Central.

The Royals, meanwhile, are sending a veteran off the back of a 65-win season for future help. Taylor looks to be one of the better trade candidates on the roster as a free agent. Kansas City has set a very important question early on, it has been reported Targeting Right-wing Josh Winder First conversations with the twins. Minnesota faltered and the sides eventually headed to a pair of minor leagues.

More to come.

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