Twins get OF Margot in trade with Dodgers

February 26th, 2024

TAMPA -- The Twins traded for some insurance Monday, adding the productive and versatile to an outfield unit that is returning Byron Buxton from injury.

Margot, 29, was acquired from the Dodgers, who got him and marquee right-hander Tyler Glasnow from the Rays in December. Margot has a .255/.309/.385 slash line with 52 home runs, 91 steals and 283 RBIs in eight MLB seasons with the Padres and Rays.

Minnesota also received infielder Rayne Doncon in the deal. The 20-year-old Doncon, who was rated as the Dodgers' No. 23 prospect by MLB Pipeline, signed for $497,500 out of the Dominican Republic in 2021 and spent last season at Single-A Rancho Cucamonga, where he slashed .215/.283/.368 in 107 games.

The Twins surrendered infield prospect Noah Miller, the No. 36 overall pick in the 2021 MLB Draft who was ranked as Minnesota's No. 23 prospect by MLB Pipeline. Miller is the younger brother of Brewers utility man Owen Miller, and he owns a .644 OPS with 12 homers and 36 steals in 250 Minor League games, topping out at High-A Cedar Rapids last season.

Margot’s two-year, $19 million deal expires at the end of the season, but there is a team option for 2025 worth $12 million.

Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said he learned of Margot’s acquisition during Monday’s 9-2 Grapefruit League loss to the Yankees at Steinbrenner Field.

“I think it’s an add that can really help us,’’ Baldelli said. “Margot can complement your lineup very well against left-handed pitching. He can play center, but he can go to a corner and play good left field as well.

“I’m pretty familiar with him. He’s a guy we’ve been looking at for a while. You could call it a targeted move. We always talk about rounding out our team with the right kind of players. He is that kind of player -- great character off the field and in the clubhouse, and a guy who can do a lot of things for the team.’’

Baldelli said Buxton, a former Platinum Glove Award winner, will make his Grapefruit League outfield debut Tuesday against the Phillies in Fort Myers. Buxton, 30, was limited to designated hitter duties in 2023 due to knee issues that prompted surgery in October.

Buxton’s last outfield game? A mere 554 days ago.

“Getting back on the horse in the outfield … that part of this is real for him,’’ Baldelli said. “It’ll take a few games for him to get comfortable back out there. But once he does [get comfortable], I don’t think it’s going to take that long [for Buxton to resume his form].’’

Buxton’s re-emergence, the potential of prospect Austin Martin and Margot’s acquisition make for plentiful storylines in the Twins’ outfield. However it shakes out, Baldelli said he believes Minnesota improved on Monday.

“I think Austin Martin is going to help us in different roles going forward and he’s a very valuable player as well,’’ Baldelli said. “But being able to add that depth where we have things covered -- no matter what happens in the outfield or under a lot of different scenarios -- I think it’s great.

“Margot is a guy who when you ask him to play regularly, he’s going to be up for the task and he’s going to help you in a lot of ways. He’s still running really well. At his age, some guys are really slowing down. His foot speed is literally pretty close to what it has been. It’s hard to add quality athletes to your Major League roster. There just aren’t many of them in the game to go choose from and grab. He’s still one of those guys. And when we have periods of time when we ask him to play against everybody, he’s going to be excited about that.’’