Longtime Twins infielder Jorge Polanco traded to Seattle Mariners

Longtime Twins infielder Jorge Polanco traded to Seattle Mariners – Star Tribune

The first big domino of the Twins' offseason fell on Monday, with Jorge Polanco, the team's longest-tenured player, being traded to the Seattle Mariners in a five-player deal.

The Twins received two right-handers, starter Anthony DeSclafani and reliever Justin Topa, and two minor league players, outfielder Gabriel Gonzalez and pitcher Darren Bowen, in exchange for Polanco, the switch-hitting second baseman who has been a fixture in the infield since 2016 the Twins is. The Mariners will send cash to the Twins to offset salaries, the teams announced.

Polanco, an All-Star in 2019, was an above-average hitter in his 10 seasons with the Twins. He was limited to 80 games last season due to injuries and posted a .255 batting average with 14 home runs and 48 RBI.

The Twins picked up a $10.5 million club option on Polanco's contract in November, but he was one of the club's top trade candidates due to their depth in the infield. Polanco spent time at third base and designated hitter in the second half of last season to accommodate Edouard Julien. Brooks Lee, a top infield prospect in the organization, also reached Class AAA last year.

One day after his 16th birthday in 2009, Polanco signed with the Twins. Since then, he has just become an integral part of the organization. He made his MLB debut at age 20, the youngest debut since Joe Mauer. He entered the cycle on April 5, 2019 and received down-ballot MVP votes on the Bomba Squad that season.

There was an 80-game suspension in 2018 for using a performance-enhancing substance, but he made it a footnote. He had 33 home runs and 98 RBI in 2021, franchise records for a switch-hitter, as well as five walk-off plate appearances.

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The Mariners, looking for more offense at second base, could keep Polanco through 2025. Polanco has another club option in his contract after next season.

“From the beginning of this offseason, we recognized that Jorge was a perfect fit for our roster,” Seattle GM Justin Hollander said in a statement.

The 33-year-old DeSclafani went 4-8 with a 4.88 ERA in 18 starts for the San Francisco Giants last year, totaling 79 strikeouts and 20 walks in 99 ⅔ innings. In the final year of his three-year, $36 million contract, DeSclafani missed the final two months of last season with a right elbow flexor strain.

Topa, a 32-year-old right-hander, had his best year in the majors last season, posting a 2.61 ERA in 69 innings out of the Mariners' bullpen with 61 strikeouts and 18 walks. He recorded three saves, mostly pitches in the seventh and eighth innings.

Gonzalez, an outfielder who reached Class A-Advanced last year, was rated the No. 5 prospect in the Mariners organization by Baseball America. The 20-year-old stands out for his strength and his arm. He batted .298 with 18 home runs and 84 RBI in 116 games between two minor league levels in 2023.

Bowen, a 13th-round pick in 2022, had a 3.88 ERA in Class A last season. The 22-year-old was considered the Mariners' No. 25 prospect and was considered one of the most athletic pitchers in their farm system.