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Twins acquire Isiah Kiner – Falefa for Mitch Garver

Twins and Rangers agree on deal that will send infielder Isiah Kiner-Falefa in Minnesota, reports ESPN’s Jeff PassanKiner-Falefa and a prospect will travel to Minnesota in exchange for a receiver Mitch Garverby MLB Network’s Jon Heyman.Pitcher Ronny Henriquez is the prospect heading to Minnesota as part of the deal, by Betsy Helfand of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press.

For Rangers, it is yet another headline-grabbing move in what has been a very busy off-season for the club. Before the lockout, they spent a lot of money adding various players, both biggest names being the shortstop. Corey Seager and second baseman Marcus SemienThe addition of these two infielders, as well as the impending arrival of prospects Josh Jungled to immediate speculation that Kiner-Falefa could be a trade candidate. But when Jung underwent shoulder surgery last month, it seemed to swing the pendulum back to Texas, keeping Kiner-Falefa as the daily third baseman. However, that has now turned out not to be the case, as he heads to Minnesota.

The twins had Andrelton Simmons as their main shortstop last year. Despite his defensive qualities for which he has long been known, Simmons has had a dismal year at the plate, hitting .223 / .283 / .274, wRC + of 56. Yesterday he signed with the Cubs for a modest salary of $ 4 million , showing that the Twins weren’t very motivated to bring him back into the fold. With Kiner-Falefa, they brought in a player with a similar profile to Simmons, but more reason to be optimistic about his future performance. Like Simmons, Kiner-Falefa is a first glove player, winning a Gold Glove in 2020 and finishing third among MLB shortstops in Fielding Bible voting last season. His bat was lower than the average so far in his career, having never achieved a wRC+ above 94. However, he is still relatively young, turning 27 later this month compared to 32-year-old Simmons. , not great numbers but certainly better than what Simmons provided. He is also slated for arbitration on a $4.9 million salary, per MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz, and comes with an additional year of scrutiny beyond that.

But in order to make this solid addition to their infield, the Twins had to send a valuable player the other way. Garver had a terrific breakout season in 2019, hitting .273/.365/.630, wRC+ of 155. to be an outstanding production for any player, but was particularly impressive for a receiver. Injuries limited him to just 23 games of anemic production in the shortened 2020 season, but he bounced back well last year. Although still injured and playing just 68 games, his 2021 line was 0.256/0.358/0.517, wRC+ of 137. Last year, Rangers split catching duties almost evenly between Jose Trevino and Jonas Heimwho have recorded wRC+ results of 60 and 64 respectively. Garver is able to produce at a much higher rate but is concerned given the injuries of recent years which makes him a high risk and high reward option for Texas. However, he won’t pose a huge risk from a financial standpoint, as he expects a referee salary of $3.1 million this year, with another year of control remaining after that.

The reason the Twins could afford to part ways with such a talented receiver as Garver was the emergence of Ryan JeffersMaking his MLB debut in 2020, he played 26 games and hit .273/.355/.436, wRC+ of 120. In 2021, he got off to a rocky start, hitting .147/.216/.176 before d being demoted in late April After showing signs of improvement in Triple-A, he was recalled in June and hit .206/.277/.433 the rest of the way, good enough for a wRC+ of 92. Although that’s clearly a drop-off from Garver’s numbers, Jeffers turns 25 in June and has five years left in control. The Twins clearly felt it was worth taking a chance on the youngster as a receiver regular to improve their infield.

Of course, that’s not all the Twins added, as they also brought Ronny Henriquez into the deal. The 21-year-old right-hander split last season between High-A and Double-A, performing 16 starts in 21 total games. In 93 2/3 innings, his 4.71 ERA wasn’t particularly impressive, but the Twins were surely intrigued by his better 27.1 percent walk rate and 6.5 percent walk rate. than average. Jose Berrios trading, Kenta Maeda to injuries and Michael Pineda Henriquez likely won’t provide immediate help in that regard, given he’s never thrown over Double-A, but he could potentially be a factor later in the season.

Returning to the Rangers, with Kiner-Falefa out of sight and Jung on the shelf for about six months, they will have to decide what to do with third base for this season. Andy Ibanez, Nick Solack, Yonny Hernandez and Sherten ApostelThey might also turn their attention to the exterior addition, although a Jeff Wilson’s tweet calls into question the continuation of Kris Bryant.

Image courtesy of USA Today Sports.

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