Mariners Nation is buzzing with trade speculation and rumors as we approach the 2021 Trade Deadline on July 30, and rightfully so; the Mariners are 2.5 games back in the A.L. wild-card race, and the team is potentially one or two pieces away from getting over the hump. In this article, we’ll take a look at Jorge Polanco, a veteran switch-hitting middle-infielder from the Minnesota Twins.
In my most recent post for SoDo Mojo, I gave my thoughts on what types of players I believe the Mariners will be targeting come July 30. In brief: offensively, the team needs position players with high on-base skills, speed on the base paths, and/or the ability to come through at the plate with runners in scoring position. Additionally, players with postseason experience are a big plus at this time of year.
Jorge Polanco fits the bill for what the Mariners currently need offensively
With the Minnesota Twins sitting 12.5 games back in the A.L. wild card, they will likely be in a position to sell at the Trade Deadline. Taking a look at their current infield, they have top prospect Alex Kirilloff manning first base, veteran Andrelton Simmons at shortstop, former MVP Josh Donaldson at the hot corner, and Jorge Polanco splitting time at second with 24-year-old utility man Luis Arraez.
Arraez (and his .365 OBP) originally caught my eye as a trade prospect, but I don’t think the Twins will give him up due to his young age, utility abilities, and upward career trajectory. Polanco, after further review, comes across as a more realistic target: he is 28 years old, has 3 years left on his contract, and is no longer a primary cog in the Twins’ lineup (but is still producing solid numbers).
Polanco, after hitting .288 in 2018 and .295 in 2019, dropped to .258 in the shortened 2020 season and now .252 through 85 games this season. However, that batting average (and his .425 slugging percentage) would currently rank 4th on the Mariners, and his OBP of .318 would be 5th. Dylan Moore, the Mariners’ current everyday second baseman, is hitting .190 with a .276 OBP and .356 slugging percentage.
Polanco would clearly provide a significant upgrade over Moore, but what would it take to get him? The Twins’ #1 prospect is middle-infielder Royce Lewis (which further backs my point that Polanco is expendable), and the rest of their top 30 prospect list is deep with middle infielders, outfielders, and right-handed pitchers. So, here’s the trade that I think would work best for both parties: