The Twins' first major offseason domino fell on Monday and Jorge Polanco, the team's longest-tenured player, was traded to the Seattle Mariners in a five-player deal.
The Twins received two right-handers, starter Anthony DeSclafani and reliever Justin Toba, and two minor leaguers, outfielder Gabriel Gonzalez and pitcher Darren Bowen, in exchange for Polanco, a switch-hitting second baseman who has been a regular part of the Twins' outfield since 2016. The Mariners will send cash to the Twins to offset salaries.
Polanco, an All-Star in 2019, was an above-average hitter throughout his 10 seasons with the Twins. Limited by injuries to 80 games last season, he hit .255 with 14 homers 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 primary trade candidates because of their depth in the outfield. Polanco spent time at third base and designated hitter to accommodate Edouard Julien in the second half of last season. Brooks Lee, one of the organization's top prospects, reached Class AAA last year as well.
Polanco signed with the Twins one day after his 16th birthday in 2009. Everything he has done since has become an integral part of the organization. He made his MLB debut when he was 20 years old, his youngest since Joe Mauer. He arrived at the tournament on April 5, 2019, and received MVP votes in the Bomba squad that season.
There was an 80-game suspension for using a performance-enhancing substance in 2018, but he turned that into a footnote. He had 33 homers and 98 RBI in 2021, franchise records for a switch-hitter, as well as five walk-off plate appearances.
The Mariners, who have been seeking more offense at second base, can keep Polanco through 2025. Polanco has another club option on his contract after next season.
“Since the beginning of this season, Jorge has been someone we have identified as a perfect fit for our roster,” Seattle general manager Justin Hollander said in a statement.
DeSclafani, 33, 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 innings. In the final year of a 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, pitching to a 2.61 ERA in 69 innings of relief for the Mariners with 61 strikeouts and 18 walks. He recorded three saves, primarily in the seventh and eighth innings.
Gonzalez, an outfielder who reached Class A-Advanced last year, is ranked as the No. 5 prospect in the Mariners organization by Baseball America. The 20-year-old stands out with his strength and arm. He hit .298 with 18 homers and 84 RBI in 116 games between the 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 ranked as the Mariners' No. 25 prospect and was considered one of the most athletic pitchers in their farm system.