Minnesota Twins expansion candidate: Luis Arraez – Twins

Minnesota has multiple items on the off-season checklist, including finding a shortstop, upgrading the offense and adding to the bullpen. It is also the time of year when teams can approach players for long-term extensions. The Twins have kept their payroll tidy for years and now it’s time to take advantage of the organization’s flexibility.

Summary 2022: Minnesota originally drawn Luis Arraez back in 2013, so the 2022 season was his ninth season in the Twins organization. As a potential player, Arraez showed signs of the type of hitter he had become at the big league level. In nearly 370 minor league games, he hit over .330 and reached base 38.5% of the time. His limited strength and lack of defensive skills dropped him in the ranks of prospects, but his hit tool has followed him throughout the organization.

During the 2022 season, he appeared in over 125 games for the first time in his career, helping him qualify for many of the season-ending accolades he received. His first half was stellar as he hit .338/.411/.445 (.856) en route to his first All-Star Game selection. There were struggles in the second half as he battled through injuries. In 60 games, his batting average dropped to .289 with a .715 OPS. It was clear he wanted to stay on the field to fight for the batting title and he held onto it Aaron Judge of achieving the Triple Crown.

In addition to his All-Star Game performance, Arraez has been honored with multiple awards since the end of the season. He became the inaugural winner of the Silver Slugger for utility players as he defeated Shohei Ohtani for the honor. At Twins Daily, Arraez defeated Carlos Correa for team MVP honors. He was also the only Twins player to receive votes for the AL MVP as he finished 13th overall.

Current contract: Arraez first qualified for arbitration in 2022, having accumulated enough service time to be designated a Super-Two player. He made $2.125 million last season and the Twins have team control over him through the 2025 season. MLB Trade Rumors expects Arraez to earn $5 million this season through the arbitration process. He’s starting to get expensive, and this might be the best time for the Twins to lock him up for a long time.

Contract proposal: The Twins control Arraez through his 27-year season, so the front office must decide what value he brings to the team in his late 20s and early 30s. The 25-year-old already lacks a defensive home while battling multiple injuries throughout his career. The Twins will have younger and cheaper options with similar skills when Arraez is no longer under team control. That said, his hit tool should age well, and the Twins may want him as an experienced leader in the future.

According to FanGraphs, Arraez has netted the Twins $38 million in value over the past two seasons. It seems unlikely that the club will offer him an extension that will bring him close to the value he has provided, but the team can be creative. Minnesota bought out free agent for years Max Kepler and Jorge Polanco by giving both players guaranteed money. Both deals look like very team friendly deals in hindsight and it will be interesting to see if the Twins can do something similar with Arraez.

Kepler and Polanco can provide a blueprint for a deal that could work for Arraez and the Twins. Polanco was guaranteed $25.75 million with options that could make it worth $47.25 million. Kepler’s contract was worth $35 million with an option bringing the total value to $44 million. Would Arraez sign a contract that pays him $50-55 million over five years? This type of contract gives the Twins some certainty about costs, while also allowing Arraez to get some life-changing money.

Do the Twins want Arraez past his 28-year-old season? What deal can keep him in Minnesota? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

– Sonny Grey

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