Minnesota Twins: 5 moves that led the Twins to the AL Central title

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DETROIT, MICHIGAN - SEPTEMBER 25: Eddie Rosario #20 of the Minnesota Twins celebrates his two run home run with Nelson Cruz #23 in the eighth inning while playing hte Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on September 25, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MICHIGAN - SEPTEMBER 25: Eddie Rosario #20 of the Minnesota Twins celebrates his two run home run with Nelson Cruz #23 in the eighth inning while playing hte Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on September 25, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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DETROIT, MI – JUNE 9: Jorge Polanco #11 of the Minnesota Twins celebrates with Max Kepler #26 of the Minnesota Twins after a 12-2 win over the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on June 9, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI – JUNE 9: Jorge Polanco #11 of the Minnesota Twins celebrates with Max Kepler #26 of the Minnesota Twins after a 12-2 win over the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on June 9, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images) /

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.

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