Twins

What Could the Twins Get For Jose Miranda Right Now?

Photo Credit: Jonathan Dyer (USA TODAY Sports)

The 2021 season didn’t provide many silver linings for the Minnesota Twins. It was a looming, dark cloud that seemed to go on for miles, covering what was supposed to be a parade in downtown Minneapolis. However, Jose Miranda‘s emergence was one of the brightest spots. His breakout campaign provided a flash of optimism in an otherwise sparkless void.

The best part of this development? Nobody saw it coming.

The former second-round draft pick was by no means some guy off of the street, but his bat reached heights that virtually nobody on MLB’s top prospects list could last year. So with that said, should the Twins consider using their newfound prized young slugger as a headliner in a potential trade package? While it would be hard to stomach sending such a talented (and likable) player to another club, his spot on the organizational depth chart and the possible return could make this option appealing.

Imagine going into the 2021 season knowing that the Twins would finish in last place, would have three vacancies at the top of their starting rotation and would fail to make a splash in free agency to address their needs. At that point, you’d pretty much have to assume that the club would need to trade one of their top prospects in order to address the gaping holes in their starting staff. To get anything substantial in return, Minnesota would probably have to move top names like Royce Lewis, Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach, and Jhoan Duran.

Then Miranda comes out of nowhere with one of the best seasons that the Twins have seen from one of their minor leaguers.

Suddenly, the club had some trade capital materialize when they needed it most. It’s the kind of blessing that can make storm clouds dissipate in a hurry.

While Miranda found himself in the class of minor leaguers that suffered from a canceled 2020 season, he made up for his lost time in epic fashion. He started the 2021 campaign at Double-A Wichita, where he took the league by storm (er…Wind Surge). In 47 games, the slugging infielder hit .345/.408/.588 (.996 OPS) and powered his way into an early-season promotion to Triple-A St. Paul.

Miranda barely lost a step once he reached the capital city. He spent the next 80 games torturing Triple-A pitching to the tune of a .343/.397/.563 slash line (.960 OPS) while jumping around the diamond defensively. He finished the year with a .344/.401/.572 overall slash line, good for a ridiculous .973 OPS. That total would have placed him in fifth on the MLB OPS leader board between Fernando Tatis Jr. (.975) and AL MVP Shohei Ohtani (.965). Of course, the competition is vastly different between MLB pitching and that of the high-minor leagues, but the point remains: Miranda is a budding star.

His potential defensive home is another factor in his fit with the Twins organization. He can play a solid third base. It sounds like he’s passable at second base, but scouts don’t think he’ll have much of a future there. Miranda also got some looks at first base and in left field. However, that seemed to be more experimental in the event that he got called up to the big league club when the rosters expanded last September. The Twins already have players entrenched in those spots on their current depth chart. Josh Donaldson is signed through 2023, Jorge Polanco shouldn’t be moved from second, and Luis Arraez is waiting in the wings in the event that either of them go down with injury.

There’s a possibility that the front office could opt to trade one of these veterans with the notion that Miranda should be up soon. But would any of them warrant a better return at this point? If the Twins want to get a return that includes impact, MLB-ready starting pitching, the package will need to be prospect-driven. It should also be noted that Miranda alone probably wouldn’t fetch an ace pitcher on his own. It would need to be a multi-layered package that focuses on him as a headliner rather than someone like Lewis, Kirilloff, etc.

The return in a deal that potentially sends Miranda plus one or two top-20 prospects away would need to include an MLB-ready starting pitcher who has at least two years of club control. Granted, it depends on the other names included on Minnesota’s end. Maybe the club throws in some of their pitching prospects nearing an MLB debut such as Josh Winder, Cole Sands or Matt Canterino. Or maybe they add some of their former-college standout hitters such as Matt Wallner or Aaron Sabato. Making a trade like this would be a hard pill to swallow, but leaving the rotation as empty as it currently stands would be far harder.

A deal that focuses on Miranda and adds two of the aforementioned names could be enough to land someone in a strong class of pitchers like Frankie Montas (Oakland A’s), Sonny Gray (Cincinnati Reds), and Pablo Lopez (Miami Marlins), among others.

It’s hard to talk about dealing a player like Miranda before Twins fans even get a chance to see him play at Target Field. He’s an asset, both in terms of his fantastic playing ability and as a good person. His likability should be just as heralded as his bat. If anything, a conversation about a potential trade should be exciting because either way there would be high-end talent coming to the big league club soon, either in the form of some desperately needed pitching or a prodigal bat in the middle of the lineup for years to come. Hopefully that relief will be more than a silver lining in 2022.

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