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Tribune News Service
Tribune News Service
Phil Miller

Twins’ trade with Kansas City lands Gold Glove center fielder Taylor

The Twins will head into the 2023 season with two Gold Glove center fielders.

Michael A. Taylor, who won his Gold Glove in 2021, was acquired in a trade with the Kansas City Royals on Monday.

The Twins will send minor league pitchers Steven Cruz and Evan Sisk to Kansas City, a major league source confirmed.

The 31-year-old Taylor provides quality defense to back up oft-injured Byron Buxton, who won a Gold Glove in center in 2017. Buxton played in a career-high 140 games that season, but hasn't been in more than 100 in a year since. An All-Star last season, Buxton played 92 games while battling a knee injury, and 35 of those were as a designated hitter.

Taylor made his major league debut in 2014 for the Nationals, who drafted him in the sixth round in 2009 as an infielder, and homered in his first game. The righthanded hitter played on Washington's 2019 World Series championship team — homering in his first World Series at-bat — but was waived following the 2020 season.

The Royals signed Taylor, who hit .244 in 142 games in 2021. Last season, he batted .254 in 124 games with nine homers and 43 RBI. He has 74 home runs and 95 stolen bases in nine big-league seasons, and will be on the second year of a two-year, $9 million contract.

Cruz, a 6-7 righthander, is a 23-year-old Dominican who reached Class AA Wichita last season. He has 259 strikeouts in 192 professional innings, but also 129 walks.

Sisk, 25, is a lefthander who pitched 31 games for the Class AAA St. Paul Saints and 19 for Wichita last season. He had a 1.97 ERA in 63 innings, striking out 76. The Twins picked him up during the 2021 season by trading starter J.A. Happ to the Cardinals.

The Twins will have to make room on their 40-man roster for Taylor. They will have nine outfielders on the 40-man, although Alex Kirilloff and Joey Gallo are also first basemen, and Nick Gordon can play infield positions. The other outfielders are Max Kepler, Trevor Larnach, Gilberto Celestino, Matt Wallner and Buxton.

Gallo, signed as a free agent, is also a Gold Glove winner as a right fielder. Taylor (36), Gallo (32) and Buxton (29) are the leaders among major league outfielders in defensive runs saved over the past three seasons.

Larnach (51 games played) and Kirilloff (45) were injured most of last season. Celestino came up from St. Paul and ended up playing more games (122) than any Twins outfielder.

The middle initial A was used by MLB to distinguish Taylor from Michael D. Taylor, who played in the big leagues from 2011-14.

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