Twins acquire IF Farmer in trade with Reds

November 19th, 2022

MINNEAPOLIS -- Just hours after the Twins traded Gio Urshela to the Angels on Friday, they quickly moved to shore up their infield depth by acquiring shortstop Kyle Farmer from the Reds in exchange for Minor League right-hander Casey Legumina, the clubs announced.

Farmer, 32, spent the majority of his time at shortstop for the Reds since moving to full-time duty during the past two seasons, hitting 30 homers in 292 games over that span. He’s arbitration-eligible in 2023, with Cot’s Baseball Contracts projecting a raise to $4.655 million. It appears likely that he would have been non-tendered by Cincinnati at Friday’s 7 p.m. CT deadline, considering the Reds didn’t offer ‘23 contracts to eight other players.


Twins receive: INF Kyle Farmer
Reds receive: RHP Casey Legumina (MLB Pipeline No. 27)

The Twins’ swap of arbitration-eligible right-handed-hitting infielders makes sense in that Farmer adds to their middle-infield depth, which is their most significant area of need after Carlos Correa opted out of the final two seasons of his three-year, $105.3 million contract and Jermaine Palacios went to the Tigers on a waiver claim at the beginning of the offseason. Royce Lewis, who is recovering from a second torn right ACL, won’t be ready to play until the summer.

Urshela was a productive hitter in 2022, but he offered the Twins depth primarily at third base, where the club wants to give consistent playing time to Jose Miranda, its high-upside young building block. With Miranda fixed at third base, Alex Kirilloff and Luis Arraez can split time at first base -- and Farmer can back up Miranda at third, too.

Farmer hit .255/.315/.386 with 14 homers in 145 games last season, and considering the Twins’ modus operandi under manager Rocco Baldelli, he could factor in more significantly against left-handed pitchers (similarly to how Minnesota uses outfielder Kyle Garlick), noting that Farmer had a .611 OPS against right-handed pitching and a .948 OPS against lefties in 2022.

With all that in mind -- and also considering the club’s payroll flexibility -- the Twins’ acquisition of Farmer doesn’t seem likely to take them out of the running for a more established shortstop, whether it’s Correa or otherwise. Farmer ranked in MLB’s 33rd percentile in outs above average, per Statcast, and in the 20th percentile in arm strength.

Legumina had been added to the 40-man roster on Tuesday to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft. The 25-year-old posted a 4.80 ERA in 33 appearances (16 starts) between High-A Cedar Rapids and Double-A Wichita this past season, struggling as a starter before finishing the season on a 10-game scoreless streak out of the bullpen.