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Position Player Depth, What is it Good for?

A look at some bench options for the 2024 season

Division Series - Minnesota Twins v Houston Astros - Game Two Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

The Twins are coming off a season where their depth was crucial. Now, entering the off-season, they have some decisions to make and potential holes to fill. Parallel to this conversation is MLB Trade Rumors’ yearly Non-Tender Candidates. Let’s take a look at who may be leaving the Twins and potential replacements.

Potential Departing Depth

Donovan Solano: Twins Free Agent

  • Signed for $2 million, Solano logged the most innings of anybody at 1B while playing some 2B and 3B as well. He had one of the best years of his career with a 1.2 WAR.

Kyle Farmer: Twins Non-Tender Candidate

  • Farmer is predicted to earn $6.6 million next season. Farmer had a very good season while serving as the essential backup at SS, while splitting time at 2B and 3B (and even logging a couple innings at LF and 1B).

Michael A. Taylor: Twins Free Agent

  • Perhaps an equal to Buxton’s defense, Taylor was an absolute necessity this season, setting a career high in home runs (21) while playing his age-32 season. He earned $4.5 million and only cost two replacement-level pitchers.

Nick Gordon: Twins Non-Tender Candidate

  • Gordon is essentially Castro-lite (while two years his senior). Same positions, can steal some bases, and is only projected to earn $1 million in 2024. Unfortunately, he is coming off a lost season, is out of options, and looked terrible when he was on the field.

Potential Non-Tendered Replacements

Dominic Smith: Nationals Non-Tender Candidate

  • Smith plays 1B and is projected to earn $4.3 million. He has shown glimpses over the last several years and is only 28 years old.

Garrett Hampson: Marlins Non-Tender Candidate

  • Hampson primarily plays SS but has played all over the diamond and can steal some bases. He is 29 years old and projects for $1.3 million next season.

Jorge Mateo: Orioles Non-Tender Candidate

  • Mateo has stolen 30+ in back-to-back seasons and grades out as a solid SS. He also logged a decent number of innings playing CF this past season. He is 28, with an estimated salary of $2.9 in 2024.

Trent Grisham: Padres Non-Tender Candidate

  • Grisham grades out as a solid CF and has been very durable the last three years. He will likely put up double-digit home run and stolen base numbers while earning a projected $4.9 million in his age 27 season.

Santiago Espinal: Blue Jays Non-Tender Candidate

  • Capable of playing around the infield (2B, 3B, SS), Espinal isn’t the most exciting player but plays his role well. He is projected to earn $2.5 million in his age 28 season.

Nicky Lopez: Braves Non-Tender Candidate

  • Lopez has always had enormous promise (including a 6 WAR season). He provides very little power but can steal double digit bases and plays above-average defense around the infield. He is still only 28 and projects for a $3.9 million salary in 2024.

Ramon Urias: Orioles Non-Tender Candidate

  • Another infielder who plays his role well, Urias can play around the infield (other than SS), is a righty, and is projected to earn $2 million next season.

Connor Joe: Pirates Non-Tender Candidate

  • With decent strikeout and walk numbers, Joe is a solid candidate to fill a bench. He hits right-handed, can play 1B and the corner outfield, and is slated to cost around $2 million next year (plus, he has two options remaining).

Solano, Farmer, and Taylor cost the Twins just under $12 million in 2023 but were extremely valuable. Coming into the offseason, you are charged with the task of replacing them* for less than $15 million. Of the players mentioned, which four do you sign?

*requirements: a backup SS, someone who can take the bulk innings in CF, a RH 1B, and a utility type player (bonus for stolen bases)