5:58 PM: The Twins gain Fielder status Michael A. Taylor In trade with the royal family, according to ESPN’s Jeff Bassan and Kelly McDaniel. It will add an advanced defensive option behind it Byron Buxton as a fourth outfielder at Minnesota.
Taylor has spent the past two years in Kansas City. Initially signed to a one-year, $1.75 million guarantee over the course of the 2020-21 season, Taylor Nahas has impressed the Royals with his stellar defense on the field. The lightweight quarterback has proven a perfect fit for Kaufman’s wide outfield and defense-focused organization. He earned his first career Gold Glove in 2021 and was awarded a $9 million extension covering the 2022-23 campaigns late that season.
During the first season of that new two-year deal, Taylor continued his excellent defensive play. He scored just over 1,000 runs of center field work, with the defensive save tying him for 19 points better than a middle defender in the most demanding position on the field. It was the second year in a row that DRS rated him at +19 points, making him far and away the most valuable defensive player in the game by that metric. Since the start of 2021, no other positional player has tallied more than 21 total DRS – with second place Miles Straw Well behind Taylor’s cumulative mark of +38.
Statcast wasn’t entirely enthusiastic about Taylor’s work last season, though it also rated him as an above-average quarterback. The Outs Above Average metric put Taylor at +5 runs last year after rating him 14 times above average the previous season. Straw narrowly beats him over two years by that metric, but Taylor still holds the number two spot dating back to the start of the ’21 season.
Buxton, of course, is one of the few outfielders in the game who is as good or better than Taylor defensively. He hasn’t had the same opportunity to jump to the league lead in cumulative defensive metrics, however, and injuries have kept him off the field a fair amount in the past two seasons. Buxton has fielded 955 runs over the past two years, fewer than Taylor has reached in each individual season. He has strained his right hip in each of the past two seasons and missed two months in the second half of 2021 after breaking his left hand in a hit-by-pitch. Buxton also played through a right knee injury last season, which required surgical repair at the end of the season once the Twins were out of playoff contention.
The All-Star player shows the MVP-caliber upside when healthy and will still clearly be Minnesota’s starting quarterback. He’s only once topped 100 games in a season, so it’s understandable that the Twins would want to fortify their depth of field behind him. Gilberto Celestino He was the reserve’s top choice last year, but he only batted 0.38/.313/.302 with a pair of home runs in 347 trips to the plate. Celestino is a good defender, but not at Taylor’s level. With a minor league option year left, the 23-year-old could open the season at the Triple-A St. Louis Cardinals. Paul now that he’s jumped on the depth chart.
Right fielder Max Kepler Athletic enough to handle center field if need be, though there’s no guarantee he’ll be on the roster until Opening Day. Minnesota has a number of The batting players are left-handed In the list, which increases the possibility of dealing with them from that group to address other areas such as the first base or database. Kepler, as the oldest player in the group with the least amount of club control left, would be the most obvious candidate for such a move.
The Twins traded for an outfielder despite this apparent redundancy, though Taylor’s right-handed batter would help balance things out. He posted below-average overall offensive numbers throughout his career, hauling a .241/.296/.381 streak over parts of nine big league seasons. Aside from showing a solid .271/.320/.486 with the Nationals in 2017, he has been an under-par hitter in every year of his career. This was the case regardless of whether the shooter’s hand was used, although it would have been expected to be slightly better when holding the platoon advantage. Taylor holds a career streak of .257/.310/.412 against left-handed, compared to a mark of .235/.290/.369 against right-handed.
Strikes were the 31-year-old’s primary issue. He hit 29.4% of his career trips to the plate while walking at a paltry 6.9% average. To his credit, Taylor took it a step further in that department last season. The strike rate of 23.9% last year was personally low, just two percentage points above the league mark. He appears to have sacrificed a bit in the way of impact to do so, as his 32.3% hard contact rate last season is the lowest number of his career.
It is clear that Taylor will not be counted on to provide much attacking jolt. He did bring some balance to the lineup, joining Celestino as the only right swinger on the 40-man roster. More importantly, he would offer coach Rocco Baldelli a quality defensive option either off the bench or if needed should Buxton waste time.
It’s an affordable addition for the Twins, who will pick up the $4.5 million owed Taylor over the next season before reaching free agency at the end of the year. That puts Minnesota’s projected payroll at $155 million, according to the calculation list resource. That would be a franchise record mark, with last year’s club opening in the $134 million range. The Twins had a fairly quiet off-season until the calendar flipped to 2023, but they’ve re-signed Carlos Correaflipped over Louis Araz to Pablo Lopez New Horizons has now brought Taylor in a matter of weeks. The Minnesota Personals continue to scour the market for promotions, at least around the margins, as they battle the Guardians and White Sox in the AL Central.
Meanwhile, the Royals are charging a veteran for future help in the wake of a 65-win season. As an imminent free agent, Taylor looked like one of the better trade candidates on the roster. Kansas City has reportedly placed a rather significant order first targeting right hand Josh Winder In initial conversations with the twins. Minnesota refrained and the two sides eventually switched to a pair of junior officers.
More is coming.
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