The Minnesota Twins have checked another big item off their offseason to-do list.
Last week, it was a veteran starter to add to their rotation. Tuesday, a shortstop.
The Twins shored up their middle infield on Tuesday, agreeing to terms with defensive whiz Andrelton Simmons on a one-year, $10.5 million deal, a source confirmed.
Simmons, a four-time Gold Glove Award winner, began his career in Atlanta, where he established himself as one of the game’s best defensive shortstops. A trade after the 2015 season sent him to Los Angeles, where he has played for the Angels the past five seasons.
Known primarily for his glove, Simmons, 31, is a career .269 hitter with a .317 on-base percentage and a .379 slugging percentage in his nine major league seasons. Last season, he slashed .297/.346/.379 in 30 games, hampered for part of the season with an ankle injury before opting out late in the year.
Simmons was ranked the No. 20 free agent entering this offseason by MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince. The top shortstop on the market, Marcus Semien, reportedly agreed to a one-year, $18 million deal with Toronto earlier on Tuesday as some of the top players available start coming off the board.
Signing Simmons affords the Twins some flexibility in the infield. The Twins could shift Jorge Polanco, who is coming off his second ankle surgery in as many offseasons, over to second base, allowing Luis Arraez to slide into the super sub role that Marwin Gonzalez had occupied the past two years.
Polanco has not played second base in a major league game since 2016, though he did appear there more frequently while in the minors. Arraez only appeared at second base last season, though saw time at second, third, short and even in the outfield as a rookie in 2019.
As the market continues to heat up, the Twins still have multiple needs left to fill. With pitchers and catchers scheduled to report to Fort Myers, Fla., in about three weeks, designated hitter Nelson Cruz remains unsigned, and the Twins should still be in the market for more pitching help.
“I look at our group, and we’re not finished, right, for the offseason. We know that,” president of baseball operations Derek Falvey said last week. “We recognize we’ve got weeks ahead of us and ultimately … these things have been spilling over into spring training in normal years, and we certainly expect that again this year.”