MLB insider tosses Max Kepler’s name into the trade deadline rumor mill

It sounds like the Max Kepler rumors might get fired up as the MLB trade deadline approaches.
Texas Rangers v Minnesota Twins
Texas Rangers v Minnesota Twins / Brace Hemmelgarn/GettyImages

Now that we’re past the first quarter pole of the season, attention is going to start shifting toward the MLB Trade Deadline and what certain teams might do.

Already it seems the Miami Marlins and New York Mets will be big sellers at the deadline, with the Toronto Blue Jays also potentially holding a fire sale. Each year teams on the wrong side of the standings get mentioning in those conversations but they don’t always end up dumping cargo as expected.

On the flip side are the buyers, of which the Minnesota Twins could very well could be among this year. The Twins are still clawing their way back into the AL Central race but for as rough as things have looked so far this season the team is still off to its third-best start in two decades.

Whether or not that will motivate the team to make some moves to fortify the roster is yet to be seen. If Minnesota’s painfully quiet winter is any indication, then don’t expect anything flashy. Even if the Twins recuse themselves, it won’t stop them from getting pulled into the rumor mill — something that’s already starting to happen.

MLB insider names Max Kepler as potential trade candidate for Twins

ESPN’s Jeff Passan took an early look at what each team’s approach to the trade deadline might be and tossed out Max Kepler’s name when talking about the Twins. He didn’t link Kepler to any specific trade, and didn’t even definitively say something would happen, but the name check is still notable.

”And while they'd do very well if they chose to move Max Kepler before he hits free agency this winter -- Minnesota is the sort of organization that could try to thread the add-and-subtract needle -- the goal is to add to a roster every bit as talented as the two teams ahead of them in the division,” Passan wrote.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard Kepler’s name come up as a potential trade candidate and it likely won’t be the last. He was floated as a potential trade chip over the winter, with the idea being he could get packaged with Jorge Polanco to land a front line starter to replace Sonny Gray.

Even though the team openly teased that idea it never happened, and Polanco ended up essentially being salary dumped in a trade with Seattle. Kepler could still get packaged with Gabriel Gonzalez — the Top 100 prospect who came back in that Polanco trade — but it’s looking increasingly unlikley that he’ll get dealt.

Kepler is a free agent at the end of the season, which would be the motivating factor to move him if the Twins aren’t interested in re-signing him. He’s also had a bit of a resurgent season, which could drive his price up, and there did seem to be interest on the trade market which suggests he’ll have plenty of suitors on the market.

It’s question of whether trading Kepler actually improves the team, though. Minnesota has players like Emmanuel Rodriguez and DaShawn Kiersey who are making waves in the minors but Kepler is a proven commodity and might be a better option.

There’s also the matter of return; the Twins can’t afford to salary dump another fan favorite, especially in the middle of the season. Even for a team a frugal as Minnesota that move would send all the wrong signals.

It’s far more likely that the Twins once again stand pat at the deadline, refusing to tinker with the MLB lineup nor pillage the farm system. That’s not the most exciting approach, but it might frustratingly end up being the responsible route to take.

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