Twins offseason trade block: 4 veteran players most likely to be shopped

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By revealing plans to cut payroll in 2024, the Minnesota Twins created reason to speculate about trading their higher-salaried players. With a roster currently projected to cost $120 million, and The Athletic reporting they expect to have an Opening Day payroll in the $125-140 million range, any moves to add veteran players via trades or free agency would likely require trading veterans away.

But which ones? The process of elimination removes most of the guesswork needed. Only seven Twins players project to earn more than $5 million in 2024. Two of them, Carlos Correa and Byron Buxton, have long-term contracts with full no-trade protection. Another is Pablo López, who just signed a four-year extension during the first month of a breakout season.

Correa, Buxton and López aren’t going anywhere, which leaves four players as obvious answers to the “which veterans could the Twins trade?” question. Here they are, along with thoughts on the pros and cons of trading each player, what value they could yield in return and the domino effect their exits would have on the rest of the Twins’ roster.

Kyle Farmer, SS/3B/2B

Kyle Farmer was tendered a contract by Friday’s deadline for arbitration-eligible players, which means some team will pay him a projected $6.6 million salary for 2024. But will it be the Twins? They’d love to keep Farmer, a well-liked veteran with a league-average 98 OPS+ who made 20-plus starts at each of three infield spots, but that’s a hefty price tag for a bench player on a team lowering payroll.

Last offseason, the Twins traded reliever prospect Casey Legumina for Farmer and paid him $5.6 million, so what’s changed? First, their payroll is expected to drop, meaning cuts must come somewhere. Beyond that, Farmer was initially brought in as a placeholder shortstop, which is no longer needed with Correa signed through 2028.

Farmer’s value as a player hasn’t really changed. He’s now 33 instead of 32, and also a year removed from playing shortstop regularly, so teams with an opening there may have a bit more skepticism about him being able to handle a starting job. But he was solid at shortstop, third base and second base for the Twins, and did his best hitting in the second half, including a huge playoff homer.

Ideally, the Twins would simply bring back Farmer in the same role, keeping in place the depth that proved so important last season, but for $6.6 million he’s a luxury item that may not fit their self-imposed budget. That salary means other teams won’t be clamoring to acquire him either, but similar to Gio Urshela at $9 million last offseason, the Twins should be able to get a lower-level prospect.

Christian Vázquez, C

Ryan Jeffers’ disappointing 2022 season put the Twins in the market for a new No. 1 catcher and they signed free agent Christian Vázquez to a three-year, $30 million deal. Jeffers responded with a breakout age-26 season, leading all MLB catchers with an .858 OPS and

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Twins offseason trade block: 4 veteran players most likely to be shopped 2023-11-20 12:54:09

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