ESPN's early trade deadline candidate is a total slap in the face

Things are so bad that even Twins trade rumors are a reminder of how awful the offseason was.
Cleveland Guardians v Minnesota Twins
Cleveland Guardians v Minnesota Twins / Brace Hemmelgarn/GettyImages

Earlier this offseason it looked like the Minnesota Twins might buck the trend of being furgal and actually spend to make the team better.

What fools we were for believing that.

Rather than add to the roster and ride the wave of the most successful postseason run in two decades, the Twins slashed payroll and didn'do anything meaningful to suggest they're serious about winning. A putrid start to the season in which the offense is hitting at a historically bad clip is what the team bought by not spending anything.

Still, there's hope that things will improve but it feels like the help will need to come from the outside rather than betting on internal assistance to make things better. Even looking at trade rumors are nothing more than a reminder of just how badly down the Twins are.

ESPN names Max Kepler as early trade deadline candidate for Twins

ESPN's David Schoenfield listed an early trade candidate for each team and thinks the Twins might end up parting ways with Max Kepler before the deadline arrives.

It's not the sugegstion that Kepler could be traded that is the takeaway here, it's that the reasoning for th emove is rooted in how dirt cheap the Twins were this offseason and how that's colored the national perception of the team.

Schoenfield's main arguement for trading Kepler isn't to make the Twins better, but to get his contract off the books. Not only that, but he drags the front office for recent deals that have blown up in their face.

"After substantially cutting payroll, I wouldn't expect the Twins to do anything that requires adding significant salary," Schoenfield wrote. "Perhaps they were still feeling the sting of 2022, when they traded away Spencer Steer, Christian Encarnacion-Strand, Yennier Cano, Cade Povich, Ian Hamilton and Gipson-Long -- all useful major leaguers except for Povich (who is Baltimore's top pitching prospect) for a bunch of players who are no longer on the team. And they finished 78-84 that season. That was a perfect example of going for it gone wrong. So let's just throw out Kepler's name since he's heading into free agency, and the Twins might want to save a couple million bucks."

Talk about twisting the knife.

Kepler has been a trade candidate going all the way back to the beginning of the offseason, back when we still had hope. The idea at the time was he'd be flipped either by himself or as a package deal with Jorge Polanco to upgrade the starting rotation and help replace production lost by Sonny Gray leaving.

That didn't happen, with Kepler not only remaining with the team but Polanco getting flipped in what was a salary dump masked as a way to improve the bullpen.

Even though we've all been duped before by the Twins, there's still hope that if the team trades Kepler it will have some sort of meaningful impact. Gabriel Gonzalez, a Top 100 prospect, was acquired in the Polanco deal and could be packaged with Kepler to land a big piece to improve the team.

That feels much closer to wishful thinking than it should, though, and the idea that Kepler trade speculation is now just an excuse to troll the Twins says a lot.

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