Among the many important decisions the Minnesota Twins need to make this offseason is what to do with Max Kepler.
The Twins picked up his $10M option, but all along the way the indication has been the team might try to use him as a trade chip.
Another important question is whether the Twins will flip Kepler more for assets or to help with creating space on the payroll to spend? Initial indications seemed to be that Kepler and Jorge Polanco would be valuable trade chips to use for improving the roster, but news that the payroll is being slashed by around $20 million might alter those plans.
Despite the payroll drama, it still seems as though the expectation is Minnesota will use its positional depth to add pieces -- which suggests Kepler might be traded for assets.
Either way, the Twins will have no shortage of potential trade partners around the league if Kepler is indeed on the trade block.
Twins Rumors: 4 trade destinations for Max Kepler this offseason
Toronto Blue Jays
Max Kepler helped end the Blue Jays season, but he might be in Toronto to help them get a new one started next year.
There will be some interesting changes coming to Toronto, a team that held its own in a competitive AL East and needs to ensure no ground is lost. The Yankees and Red Sox look poised to bounce back next year, and the Orioles and Rays don’t appear to be getting significantly worse this winter, which puts pressure on the Blue Jays to keep pace.
Adding Kepler solves a few challenges that face the team entering the winter. Witt Merrifield is gone — and potentially headed to Minnesota — and George Springer isn’t getting any younger. Kepler would slot in as the everyday right fielder from Day 1, and is an instant offensive upgrade over Springer’s 104 wRC+ (Kepler finished the season with 124 wRC+).