MLB insider hints at Max Kepler trade to Mariners after Jarred Kelenic deal

Division Series - Minnesota Twins v Houston Astros - Game Two
Division Series - Minnesota Twins v Houston Astros - Game Two / Bob Levey/GettyImages

With the MLB Winter Meetings finally here, the hot stove is about the heat up like it we’ve been waiting for all offseason.

So far the action has been slow, with only a handful of free agent deals being made since the end of the season. Most of this has to do with Shohei Ohtani holding the market in the palm of his hand, with Juan Soto not far behind as a driving force behind decisions teams are making. Once something happens with those two, the floodgates should open.

One big trade did go down late Sunday night, and it might have a direct impact on the Minnesota Twins.

The Seattle Mariners sent Jarred Kelenic to the Atlanta Braves for an excellent package of young pitchers, but also as a means of creating money for a future move. Some have speculated it might be in preparation for acquiring Soto, but another outfielder has been tossed out as a potential trade target who might also find himself playing in Seattle on Opening Day.

Twins Rumors: Max Kepler could be a top trade target for Mariners

MLB insider Jon Morosi followed up news of the Kelenic trade by connecting it to a potential second deal involving Kepler. Morosi pointed out that the deal created an even bigger need for Seattle to find outfield help, which is where Kepler enters the equation.

Nothing is reportedly in the works, but Morosi said the Mariners search for an outfielder will ‘intensify’ which lines up with the sort of trades we typically see at the Winter Meetings.

When we looked as potential landing spots for Kepler last month, Seattle made sense even with Kelenic seemingly in the plans. With him in Atlanta, trading Kepler to the Mariners lines up even more and could potentially help the Twins land some pitching it desires.

One name we’ve already been keeping an eye on — and high on the Twins offseason wishlist — is Logan Gilbert. He figures to be a perfect replacement for Sonny Gray, and Kepler being of potential interest to Seattle might be the perfect jumping off point to build a package around the two players.

It would take more than Kepler to get the deal done, but the pitching Seattle got in return for Kelenic might create even more of a need to find a new home for Gilbert. There’s still a lot that needs to be worked out to get a deal done, but it feels like the grease should at least be close to the wheels if not already being applied by Derek Falvey and Thad Levine.

Even if Gilbert isn’t on the table, it sounds like Seattle is becoming a likely landing spot for Kepler. Things typically heat up at the Winter Meetings so the timing of this nugget dropping feels pretty relevant.

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