Signing Max Kepler & Jorge Polanco to extensions
The Twins had a rough 2018 as a team, but if there were two players in particular who wanted a mulligan on a lost year, it was Max Kepler and Jorge Polanco. Polanco lost half of his 2018 season due to an 80-game suspension for violating MLB’s performance-enhancing drugs policy while Kepler took a major step back hitting a career-low .224 with 20 HR and 58 RBI.
While it may have been a make-or-break season for both members of the Twins’ nucleus, Minnesota’s front office was proactive, signing both to contract extensions prior to spring training. With that vote of confidence, both players would go on to have career seasons.
Polanco would get off to a blazing start (along with the rest of the team) and get the nod to start at shortstop for the American League in the MLB All-Star Game. Kepler would also have a rebound year, notching career-highs in several categories including smashing 36 home runs at the top of the Twins’ lineup.
With both young players in the fold for several years to come, the Twins not only locked up an important piece of their future, but they may also have kick-started their window to be a competitive team.