Trades within divisions in Major League Baseball are not very common, and many times they are more difficult to make than trades between clubs who don’t see each other very often. For the Kansas City Royals and Minnesota Twins, that process has reportedly unfolded at least a little bit recently.
Bear Dan Hayes the athleteMinnesota recently inquired about Royals outfielder Michael A. Taylor. MLB Trade Rumors Add Nothing indicates that these discussions are still ongoing as we approach February. Taylor gained commercial interest at the 2022 trade deadline, but was ultimately retained in City, and Kansas City clearly didn’t want to part with him for anything less than the club’s ideal asking price despite his availability. That price tag may be higher than first thought, since one of the main reasons talks with the Twins haven’t progressed is because the Royals wanted pitcher Josh Winder. From the Hayes report:
With the free agent market depleted for right-field batters, the Twins also inquired about the availability of veteran Michael Taylor as a potential backup position player, but were thwarted when Kansas City asked young pitcher Josh Winder in exchange.
Winder, who was a seventh-rounder again in 2018, returned to 26 times in October. He soared through the Twins’ minor league rankings thanks to his stellar 2021 stint at Double-A and then some solid production at the Triple-A level in early 2022. Minnesota used him off and on throughout the season, with his games spanning all the way from April to October When he wasn’t in St. Paul’s. In 15 big league games (11 starts), the right fielder has not performed as well as expected. He had a 4.70 ERA combined with a 4.87 FIP, 5.21 xERA, and a 6.31K/9 average.
With all that said, Winder has limited his walks to 2.42 per nine innings and still shines some of the potential he has as a spinner. His fastball-slider combination is his bread and butter, but he also has a changeup and curveball that has gone 14% and 12% of the time, respectively, as a true freshman. Winder is more of a command-based pitcher than an all-rounder, and the fact that he didn’t rack up a full year of service time in 2022 makes him even more valuable to Minnesota going forward. It could be seen as unsurprising that the twins had turned up their noses at the request of the royal family for him.
While Taylor made just $4.5 million in 2023 and remains one of the best defenders among all outfielders, he’s only been under club control for one season and will be a free agent after this upcoming campaign is over. Plus, despite his improvement in WRC+ (76 in 2021 to 90 in 2022), he’s still a relatively impatient hitter with very little power and on-base ability. On the opposing team, he’s probably a fourth player at best. The Royals can only recoup so much for him in a potential deal, so their demand for Winder would certainly be too acrimonious for almost any club to agree to.