Keeping Key Players
MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Twins have made a move to retain two important members of their team. On Thursday, the organization exercised the options of right fielder Max Kepler and second baseman Jorge Polanco, ensuring their presence for another year.
Max Kepler’s contract will expire in 2024, while Jorge Polanco has a club option for the 2025 season. Despite this, both players could attract interest in the trade market due to the Twins’ surplus in the outfield and at second base compared to their lack of pitching.
Max Kepler and Jorge Polanco have been with the Twins organization since 2009, alongside Dominican player Migue Ángel Sanó. They were part of a notable group of international signings. Both players signed extensions before the 2019 season and have proven their value as key contributors to the Twins’ success in the AL Central this year.
Max Kepler had a remarkable comeback season after three underperforming years. He showcased his skills with a batting average of .260, an OPS of .816, and 24 home runs. Kepler’s performance in right field was also exceptional, ranking fourth among American League right fielders in defensive run value.
Jorge Polanco faced some injury setbacks in 2022 and 2023, but when healthy, he proved to be a productive hitter from both sides of the plate. However, his persistent knee problems and recurring hamstring discomfort raised concerns about his long-term durability.
While the Twins value Kepler and Polanco, their skills and affordable contracts make them attractive trade targets. Additionally, the team needs to address their pitching depth as several key pitchers are heading to free agency. The Twins are likely to receive significant interest in both players.
The Twins have promising outfield prospects such as Matt Wallner, Trevor Larnach, and Nick Gordon. However, the team may be hesitant to give them consistent starting roles. In terms of second base, rookie standout Edouard Julien has shown potential, and top prospects Austin Martin and Brooks Lee are expected to make their Major League debuts in 2024.
While the Twins have exercised the options on Kepler and Polanco, it remains to be seen if they will be part of the roster in 2024. The upcoming offseason will provide more clarity on the team’s plans and potential trade opportunities.