Twins avoid arbitration with all eligible except Gordon

January 12th, 2024

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins avoided arbitration with six of their seven eligible players on Thursday, when they agreed to contracts with , , , , and for the 2024 season.

was the lone player with whom the Twins could not reach an agreement, and the potential remains for a hearing at which each side would propose a salary figure to a panel of arbitrators.

According to a source, the Twins’ $6.05 million deal with Farmer for 2024 also adds an additional year of control through a $6.25 million mutual option for the ‘25 season with a $250,000 buyout on the club side, covering what would have been his first year of free agency. Similarly, a $790,000 deal with Alcala for ‘24 also includes a $1.5 million club option for ‘25 with a $55,000 buyout.

Beyond those two contracts, the Twins agreed to more traditional one-year deals for 2024 for Thielbar ($3.225 million), Castro ($3.3 million), Jeffers ($2.425 million) and Kirilloff ($1.35 million), according to a source.

Though mutual options are rarely exercised, the deal with Farmer carries a bit of intrigue, as a fourth-year arbitration player like the 33-year-old infielder remains a trade candidate due to the rise in his salary as a part-time player for the Twins, who are anticipating to be more stingy with their payroll this season.

Holding on to Farmer could also make sense for the Twins, given his important role as a platoon player opposite both Gordon and rookie Edouard Julien last season. Farmer hit .290 with a .781 OPS against left-handed pitching in 2023, and in his absence, the Twins likely would need to find a right-handed platoon partner for Julien and Kirilloff in the infield.

Farmer also remains a nice roster fit for the Twins because he can play all four infield positions for manager Rocco Baldelli, who greatly valued defensive flexibility among his bench players in last season to allow for aggressive in-game substitutions.

Gordon faces an interesting possible arbitration case, as he followed up signs of a potential breakout in 2022 with a completely lost ‘23 season, during which he was held to only 34 games with a .503 OPS due to a right tibia fracture he sustained after fouling a pitch off the leg in mid-May.

Gordon was projected to earn $1.1 million in 2024 as part of his first year of arbitration eligibility, according to Cot’s Baseball Contracts.

José Berríos remains the last player to have reached an arbitration hearing against the Twins, when he lost his case against the club ahead of the 2020 season. The Twins didn’t reach an agreement with Luis Arraez ahead of last offseason’s deadline, but they traded the reigning batting champion, who eventually won his hearing against the Marlins.