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Twins acquire outfielder Manuel Margot in 3-player trade with Dodgers, who add Kiké Hernández

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Twins acquired outfielder Manuel Margot, minor league shortstop Rayne Doncon and cash on Monday from the Los Angeles Dodgers for minor league shortstop Noah Miller.

In conjunction with the trade, the Dodgers announced a $4 million, one-year contract to keep Kiké Hernández.

The 29-year-old Margot just joined the Dodgers two months ago with starting pitcher Tyler Glasnow in a trade with Tampa Bay. Margot hit .264 with a .686 OPS in 99 games for the Rays last season while playing center field and right field. He has also played left field.

“A guy that can complement you very well against left-handed pitching," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “He helps you in the middle of the field. He does a lot of things skill-set wise. We talked about rounding our team out with the right kinds of players — he is that kind of player. He’s a great character add for our team off the field and in the clubhouse.”

Margot made his major league debut with San Diego in 2016 and was the primary center fielder for the Padres from 2017-19, before being traded to the Rays. In 788 career games, he's batted .255 with a .694 OPS, 52 home runs and 91 stolen bases.

“Normally at that age, some guys are really slowing down. He’s not," Baldelli said. “His foot speed is literally pretty close to what it’s been previously, and he’s a really good athlete.”

Margot has a $10 million salary this season as part of a $19 million, two-year contract he signed with the Rays, a deal that includes a $12 million mutual option for 2025 with a $2 million buyout. If the option is not exercised, the Rays must pay the Dodgers an additional $2 million as part of the Glasnow trade.

The Rays agreed to send the Dodgers an additional $2 million toward Margot's salary for 2024, and Twins president of baseball operations Derek Falvey said his club will receive that $4 million commitment as well as an unspecified amount on top of that from the Dodgers to cover Margot's salary. The Twins have pared back their payroll in 2024 in light of a reduction in regional television revenue.

Margot will essentially replace Michael A. Taylor, who became a free agent after hitting a career-high 21 homers and playing 126 games in center field last season while star Byron Buxton was limited to designated hitter duty due to knee trouble. Buxton is healthy again and on track to be the regular center fielder, with Matt Wallner in left and Max Kepler in right, but utilityman Willi Castro was the only other sure bet for the opening day roster with reliable outfield experience.

Margot was a player the Twins had targeted for a while as a fit for his exceptional defensive ability in the corners as well as his capability of handling center field when Buxton is out of the lineup.

“Everything we’ve gathered from guys who’ve been with him in Tampa and other spots is how instinctive he is, how good he is off the bat, how good his reads are, his ability to go in both directions to go get it,” Falvey said.

The 20-year-old Doncon played last season for Class A Rancho Cucamonga. He was signed out of the Dominican Republic.

Miller was the 36th overall pick by the Twins in the 2021 amateur draft. The 21-year-old finished last season with Class A Cedar Rapids.

Hernández hit .237 with 11 home runs and 61 RBIs in 140 games with the Red Sox and Dodgers in 2023 while playing all four infield and all three outfield positions. The 33-year-old was reacquired by the Dodgers from Boston on July 25 and became a free agent after the World Series.

Hernández has played in 10 major league seasons, including parts of seven with the Dodgers.

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AP freelance writer Mark Didtler in Tampa, Florida, contributed to this report.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB

Dave Campbell, The Associated Press