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Michael A. Taylor Traded to Twins from Royals for 2 Pitching Prospects

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 24, 2023

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 30: Michael A. Taylor #2 of the Kansas City Royals in action against the New York Yankees during a game at Yankee Stadium on July 30, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

The Minnesota Twins acquired veteran outfielder Michael A. Taylor from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for left-hander Evan Sisk and right-hander Steven Cruz on Monday.

ESPN's Jeff Passan and Kiley McDaniel and MLB.com's Anne Rogers initially reported the details of the deal.

The move comes days after Minnesota landed starting pitcher Pablo López in a deal that sent reigning American League batting champion Luis Arraez to the Miami Marlins.

Taylor made 124 appearances for Kansas City in 2022. He finished with a .254 average and a .313 on-base percentage. His 90 OPS+ was the second-highest of his career, per Baseball Reference.

The 31-year-old brings some depth to the outfield. He has patrolled center field (692 games) for the majority of his career but has lined up in left and right field on occasion.

As a fourth outfielder, Taylor is an upgrade over Gilberto Celestino, who has a .222/.292/.300 slash line through his first two MLB seasons.

Brandon Warne @Brandon_Warne

Uh, you also might not realize that Michael A. Taylor was really freaking good last year (3.2 bWAR/1.5 fWAR).<br><br>Defense is the calling card but there's a little pop and some speed here too. <br><br>If anything it seems like not that much confidence in Gilberto Celestino

And having a proven backup to Byron Buxton is important if his poor injury luck carries over into 2023.

Buxton's raw talent has never been in doubt, and he has translated that into elite production over the past two seasons. Since 2021, he has slugged .576 with 47 home runs and 15 stolen bases.

Unfortunately for the Twins, the 2022 All-Star has logged just 585 appearances over eight years since making his MLB debut in 2015. Last season alone, he battled hip and knee trouble before arthroscopic surgery ruled him out for good in September.

From Minnesota's perspective, having Buxton on the field for 140-plus games would be great, but you have to put contingencies in place.

The Royals, meanwhile, add to their farm system as they embark on a franchise-wide reset. They have a new manager with Matt Quatraro, and this is the first offseason with J.J. Picollo in charge after he replaced Dayton Moore as general manager last September.

Taylor is the final year of his two-year, $9 million contract, so flipping him for prospects was inevitable.

Kansas City didn't extract a significant haul. Cruz ended the year at 28th in MLB.com's list of the Twins' top 30 prospects, and Sisk failed to make the cut. But the Royals are in a good position to give both an extended look this spring.

Taylor's departure also opens the door for Nick Loftin, Kansas City's No. 4 prospect in 2022, to potentially earn an everyday role in the outfield.