We've said it so many times it feels like a broken record, but this offseason is going to be an important one of the Minnesota Twins.
For the first time in almost two decades, the team won a playoff game. It wasn't the typical cathartic moment we've seen franchises go through when they get over that sort of hump, rather Minnesota operated as though it was business as usual as it nearly reached the ALCS.
Ultimately the team fell two games shy, losing to the Houston Astros in the ALDS, but the run the Twins went on has set up the expectation that the success can be sustained. The first step toward that will happen this winter, as the Twins front office attempts to move pieces around and hopefully put together a World Series roster.
As the team tries to add vital pieces to the roster, two guys who might hear their names mentioned in offseason trade rumors are Jorge Polanco and Max Kepler.
Twins Rumors: Jorge Polanco, Max Kepler expected to draw trade interest
Both Kepler and Polanco proved to be important pieces to the Twins success last season, but they also are in situations that could create a perfect storm for them to become trade chips.
Twins beat writer Bobby Nightengale dove into what the future might hold for Kepler and Polanco, noting that both might hear their names in trade discussions.
"Assuming the Twins pick up the club options for both players, which is the expectation around the league, Kepler and Polanco might hear their names involved in trade rumors throughout the winter.," Nightengale wrote.
It took a while for things to click for Kepler, but he eventually got it together at the plate late in the season. Polanco was hurt for stretches of the season, but he was as impactful as he usually has been even if he struggled defensively after being moved to third base.
Those struggles might have actually pushed him out of the Twins lineup.
Polanco proved he's much better at second base, but it's about to become a crowded infield in Minnesota. Austin Martin figures to be part of the roster on Opening Day, and the rise of Yunior Severino further complicates matters. Brooks Lee getting called up would add another young player to the fold, and Polanco looks like the odd-man-out.
Kepler was a guy who the Twins were expected to shop last winter but ended up hanging onto. Before Luis Arraez was traded to Miami, the thought was that Kepler might be the guy the front office uses to acquire a starting pitcher, although it's safe to say things turned out perfectly.
Trading Arraez is worth mentioning here in terms of the Twins willingness to trade fan favorites. Kepler and Polanco might not be on his exact level, but they've both been fixtures in Minnesota over the years and are coming off seasons that reiginited love for them across Twins Territory.
Keep in mind that the Twins could go into next season with either of these guys on the roster and be a good team. There's no need to trade them, but they will be two of Minnesota's most valuable trade chips if the team wants to add a meaningful piece elsewhere on the roster.