While the Minnesota Twins continue to sit on their hands, making only minor deals, other teams around the league are shifting the landscape. Not only have trades already happened, but they've potentially imapcted how the Twins front office navigates the remainder of the winter.
The latest trades went down on Friday, with the Seattle Mariners, San Francisco Giants, and Tampa Bay Rays all linking up to swap players around. It was the Mariners at the center of everything, dealing with both San Francisco and Tampa Bay in separate trades.
It's the third major trade the Mariners have made, with all of them combining to have a potential impact on the Twins trade market. Minnesota is cash-strapped and unlikely to make a splashy free agent move, which means Max Kepler and Jorge Polanco are valuable currency as trade chips.
The pair of trades Seattle made on Friday seemingly takes them out of the market for Minnesota.
Mariners trades probably mean they won't be dealing with the Twins
Seattle made sense as a landing spot for Kepler earlier this offseason, but that has all changed. The Mariners making moves to
It's not that Raley and Haniger are so significantly better than Kepler that the Mariners no longer have a need, it's more that Seattle has already traded a ton of assets this offseason. Seattle has already pulled off three big trades, which depletes their reserve of players the Twins might have been able to dip into by sending Kepler -- or Jorge Polanco -- out west.
So far this offseason the Mariners have shipped out:
- Jarred Kelenic
- Robbie Ray
- José Caballero
- Evan White
Logan Gilbert remains an ideal target for the Twins, but the Mariners trading away Cy Young winner Robbie Ray might mmake it even harder to pry him away. It would take more than Kepler to pull off that deal, but Seattle's incentive to make him part of a deal went down as well.
When the idea of trading Kepler to Seattle first came up -- speculatively, to be clear -- it was centered on the idea that the Mariners needed an everyday outfielder to rpelace Teoscar Hernandez. Kepler was an upgrade and filled one of the bigger positional needs the team had. That doesn't really exist anymore, as Raley and Haniger help fill that hole.
Raley is sort of a Kelenic replacement but that also means any argument for the Twins floating Kepler as that sort of piece goes away too.
It's not the first time this offseason a big trade has potentially impacted the trade market for Minnesota. The Yankees dealing for Alex Verdugo -- and then Juan Soto -- broke a pretty clear trade link for Kepler. It's not the end of the world, though, as the Twins waiting out the market has worked in their favor before and clearly seems to be the strategy once again.