The Minnesota Twins have traded catcher Mitch Garver to the Texas Rangers in exchange for shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa and minor league right-hander Ronny Henriquez.
Kiner-Falefa hit .271 with eight homers, 53 RBI and 20 stolen bases in 158 games last season. But his biggest contributions may come in the field.
According to Dan Hayes of The Athletic, the 27-year-old was one of the best defensive shortstops in the majors last season, valuing 10 runs saved. While Statcast charged his defense with seven outs below average (32nd out of 36 qualifiers) he offers positional versatility and won a Gold Glove during the 2020 season.
The Twins also acquired a pitcher in the deal, with Henriquez holding some upside. The 21-year-old went 5-7 with a 4.71 ERA between High-A Hickory and Double-A Frisco last season and has some questions about his size at 5-foot-10 and 155 pounds.
According to the Dallas Morning News, Henriquez has a fastball that ranges from 95-to-98 mph. Due to his build, he may project as a late-inning reliever who was added to the Rangers' 40-man roster this offseason.
But none of this will ease the pain of losing a fan favorite in Garver.
Garver was a key member of the 2019 "Bomba Squad" team, hitting 31 home runs -- a franchise record for a catcher. But after winning a Silver Slugger for his efforts, Garver battled injuries and ineffectiveness the past two seasons.
Over his last 91 games, Garver hit .233/.330/.452 with 15 homers while splitting time with Ryan Jeffers. At age 31, Garver had two more years of arbitration status and was slated to become a free agent in 2024 so a trade may have been imminent.
With former top-five picks Royce Lewis (1st overall, 2017) and Austin Martin (5th overall, 2020) in the system, Kiner-Falefa's future could be as a placeholder at shortstop until either prospect is ready. With Jeffers now slated to become the Twins' everyday catcher, this trade is all about their youth.