HomeMLB RumorsTwins Getting Trade Interest In Jorge Polanco, Max Kepler

Twins Getting Trade Interest In Jorge Polanco, Max Kepler

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Infielder Jorge Polanco and right fielder Max Kepler “are the two Twins players drawing the most interest on the trade market,” sources tell Bobby Nightengale of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.  With Polanco in particular, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi adds that the former All-Star’s market has “increased” within the last week.

It doesn’t appear as though a deal might be particularly close for either player, as the Twins are one of several teams whose winter business has been somewhat stalled by the logjam at the top of the free agent market.  As Minnesota PBO Derek Falvey told Nightengale and other reporters at the Winter Meetings, “what we continue to hear on the trade front…is ’Hey, we have interest in some of your players.  We’d like to talk about these guys, but we have to wait on a few other things to happen,’ or free agent discussions to come to pass.  When that happens, you’re constantly waiting to some degree.”

Trade winds have swirled around Polanco and Kepler even before the offseason began, and that speculation even before Favley said last month that the Twins were going to reduce their payroll for 2024.  It is worth noting that the Twins might’ve been able to make those cuts simply by not retaining Polanco or Kepler for the next season, though the team opted to exercise club options on both players (Polanco for $10.5MM, Kepler for $10MM) rather than just lose them for nothing.

With some level of trade interest brewing, it would appear as through Minnesota’s front office made the right decision.  Obviously it remains to be seen if either player will be dealt at all, or what a return might be for either solid-but-unspectacular veteran.  Kepler also has only one year of control remaining, while Polanco can be controlled through the 2025 season via another club option ($12MM with a $750K buyout).

A case can be made that the Twins could or retain both Polanco and Kepler given how the team has battled injuries (including some missed time for these two themselves) over the last two seasons, yet Minnesota does appear to have something of a surplus around the diamond.  With Royce Lewis and Edouard Julien emerging last season, third base and second base might now be covered, leaving Polanco without an obvious starting position since Carlos Correa naturally has Polanco’s old shortstop spot covered.  Matt Wallner, Nick Gordon, and Trevor Larnach are all left-handed hitting outfield options, so Kepler might be a bit of an expendable piece.

Perhaps ideally, Minnesota would prefer to trade utilityman Kyle Farmer (and his $6.6MM projected arbitration salary) rather than Polanco or Kepler.  That said, rival teams would likewise be more willing to give up a notable return to land an everyday type of commodity rather than Farmer, who is maybe best suited for a part-time role.  Since center field, first base, and the rotation are all target areas for the Twins this winter, they might have no choice but to move at least one of Polanco and Kepler to thread of needle of upgrading the roster while also reducing payroll at the same time.

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