MLB insider suggests potential high upside Max Kepler-Blue Jays trade

It's starting to sound like Toronto is going to be who the Twins do business with.
Wild Card Series - Toronto Blue Jays v Minnesota Twins - Game Two
Wild Card Series - Toronto Blue Jays v Minnesota Twins - Game Two / Brace Hemmelgarn/GettyImages

Nothing much has happened so far this offseason for the Minnesota Twins, which feels like a tremendous understatment. Twins fans are essentially that John Travolta Looking Around In Pulp Fiction in real life, as we all wait for the team to do somehings -- anything -- to improve the roster.

Waiting is the hardest part but it's also how the Twins have operated in the past, often to great success.

Minnesota added impact players like Sonny Gray, Pablo Lopez, and Carlos Correa but didn't do so until well into the New Year. Even trading for Kenta Maeda didn't happen until the calendar had turned over, and additions that paid off like trading for Michael A. Taylor and signing Donovan Solano happened closer to Spring Training.

It's unlikely we'll have to wait that long but the Twins waiting out the market often works out in their favor. There's also little mystery as to what move Minnesota will make, as trading either Max Kepler or Jorge Polanco is currency that might make up for slashing the payroll.

If the Twins trade Kepler and/or Polanco, one team keeps standing out above the rest as a potenital partner.

Could the Twins flip Max Kepler to Toronto for Alek Manoah?

MLB Network's Jon Morosi talked about next moves for the Twins and mentioned a Max Kepler trade as the most interesting piece on their board. Specifically, he suggested the Toronto Blue Jays as a potential trade partner -- and it's not the first time he's done that.

Rather than just repeat the same talking points, Morosi went a step further to suggest what a trade might look like. He made it clear he wasn't reporting that any talks had taken place, but a Max Kepler-Alek Manoah deal could be a win-win.

"If you look at where the Jays might potentially go for more offense, you can consider a situation in which the Twins who are very good at developing and revamping pitchers, perhaps it's a good spot for Manoah to go," Morosi said. "If the Jays want to add a bat like a Kepler or potentially Polanco and want to address their infield, just keep that possibility in mind."

Last season was a sigificant down year for Manoah, who was a shell of himself in 2023. He's does feel like a classic restoration project for the Twins, as he's just a year removed from being an All-Star and it was just two seasons ago that he was finishing with Rookie of the Year votes.

Manoah was bad last season, posting a -1.1 WAR and getting demoted to the minors before the summer was over. Nothing about his season was impressive, but his bad year juxoposed against what he did over his first two is the type of stuff of moth-to-flame stuff that drives the Twins nuts.

Prior to his down year, Manoah went 25-9 with a 2.60 ERA and 1.012 WHIP. His K/9 was well above league-average, hovering around 9.0 and he averaged around 154 IP over his first two seasons. That's the stuff Minnesota's pitching coaches would be trying to tap back into, not unlike how they did similar things for Gray.

Manoah did some serious damage to his reputation with the awful year he had in 2023, but there's a ton of upside to bringing him in. Trading away Kepler or Polanco won't feel great, and Manoah is hardly a slam dunk replacement for Gray, but it's starting to shape up like a classic Twins restoration project that could turn into their next big front office win.

More Minnesota Twins news and rumors