While most of the MLB world waits with bated breath for what Shohei Ohtani will do before making any big deals, two teams threw their hands up and decided to get on with business.
Go figure it’s the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, but shockingly they decided to do business with each other. Alex Verdugo, Boston’s star outfielder, is on his way to the Bronx in exchange for three pitchers. It’s a massive deal on a number of different levels, not the least of which is that it’s the seventh trade between the two rivals in half a century.
That’s where we’re at apparently, but it marks the first massive deal of the Winter Meetings.
Most of the attention is rightfully on Boston and New York, but it’s a deal that has wide ranging impact that reaches all the way to Minnesota. The Twins are expected to be very active in the trade market, but it’s one that has been notably cold as everyone waits for Ohtani to make his decision.
When he does, there might be one fewer trade partners looking to make a deal with Minnesota.
Historic Red Sox-Yankees trade might impact Twins trade plans
Minnesota has two of the best trade chips of the winter in Jorge Polanco and Max Kepler. Both of them are being shopped and the expectation is that they’ll help net the Twins some pitching help is very badly needs.
After losing Sonny Gray and Kenta Meada in free agency, the Twins need to find replacements and a reduced payroll means trade chips are the front office’s most valuable currency.
New York was a perfect landing spot for Kepler, as they always seem to need corner outfielders and his offense would no doubt give their lineup a boost. It felt like he’d be another classic case of a former Twins player going on to have even more success elsewhere, with the extra annoying twist being that it was with the Yankees.
The Verdugo deal now complicates this in a few ways.
Richard Fitts is part of the trade package heading back to Boston, and he was a guy who would have made sense as return in a potential Kepler deal or a deal for Polanco. New York still has other pitching prospects but it feels like a lot of them are being reserved for a potential Juan Soto deal.
Speaking of Soto, it sounds like the Yankees are still going to try and trade for him which means adding another outfielder. At this point it feels like Kepler is the extra cook in the kitchen and there’s no longer any room for him in New York.
Of course, the Soto trade not happening could change that.
Polanco still makes sense as a trade target for the Yankees, and guys like Randy Vásquez and Luis Gil — preferably both of them — are fair value in a return package. It all comes down to what New York wants to do with Soto and whether something happens on that front. One thing that does seem clear is that a potential landing spot for Max Kepler might have been taken off the board.