Last week, Jon Heyman dropped a little nugget of info in an article for FanRag Sports that the Twins had a brief pursuit of Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias. This is rather interesting considering the Twins already have Jorge Polanco as their starter with Eduardo Escobar, Ehire Adrianza, and Danny Santana all jockeying to be the backup, so why would the Twins show interest in yet another shortstop?
Well, keep in mind what Derek Falvey and Thad Levine attempted to do all winter: trade Brian Dozier. Correct, Dozier is a second baseman, but realistically Polanco’s future position is also second base. A Dozier trade would have opened up the position on the other side of the bag for the trio above, or for Iglesias as Heyman mentioned.
For those that don’t know, Iglesias is a fantastic (though not quite an Andrelton Simmons-level) defender that has also added in an acceptable level of offense throughout his short career. Though he doesn’t walk much or demonstrate much power, Iglesias did hit .300 or better in his first two seasons as a major league starter. He did struggle last year though, hitting just .255/.306/.336 with a .642 OPS (and a horrid 73 wRC+), but he also dazzled with the glove and thus put together his best season according to FanGraphs’ version of WAR. I’m sure the Twins were hoping for a bit of a rebound in 2017 if they were to acquire him.
Ultimately those trade talks went nowhere, but I feel that it along with the acquisitions of Jason Castro and Ehire Adrianza show that Falvey and Levine are stressing an improved defense for this upcoming season. After all, the pitching has been horrid for years now and that goes beyond the pitchers themselves, so I’m sure the braintrust is starting to build a foundation by tackling the cheapest facet of the game. The outfield should be fine with Byron Buxton in center flanked by Max Kepler and Eddie Rosario, the right side of the infield is fine with Joe Mauer and Dozier, and catcher is set with Castro. The only defensive question marks reside with Miguel Sano at third and Polanco at short, but on the flip side their bats are strong enough that they should cancel out their struggles with the glove. It’ll be interesting to see if future transactions throughout the season will follow the same strategy.