Making the case for trading or keeping Twins top trade chips

The Twins have options, but what are some pros and cons of flipping their top trade chips this winter?
Division Series - Houston Astros v Minnesota Twins - Game Four
Division Series - Houston Astros v Minnesota Twins - Game Four / Adam Bettcher/GettyImages
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Max Kepler

Why keep him: Kepler is still a quality defensive outfielder that provides some versatility. He put up his best numbers in the last 5 years the second half of the 2023 season. The Twins still have major unanswered questions surrounding Byron Buxton, Trevor Larnach and Matt Wallner going into 2024 with Kepler bringing a bit more of a known quantity. For the production he's delivering finding a similar type player may cost much more, either in money or the gamble of relying on a younger less experienced player.

Why trade him: His value is relatively high considering some of his struggles, but buyers are eyeing his second half success. The Twins may also be able to get an MLB-ready player in return which would be the whole reason a deal gets made.

The best value may be in the form of a bullpen arm or low end rotation guy. If the Twins have confidence in Wallner and company replacing Kepler’s production, the Twins could net about $6 million in salary which kills the bird of lowering the payroll with this stone. It might not be a quesiton of if the Twins trade Kepler rather when it’s best for a deal to happen. It's my belief the Twins will ride Kepler until at least mid-season and see where they're at the trade deadline.

Approximate odds of being traded: 40%

Christian Vazquez

Why keep him: Despite his struggles at the plate, Vazquez is still an elite defensive catcher and a high quality backup. He's a clubhouse leader beloved by his teammates, and formed a really nice platoon behind the plate with Ryan Jeffers this year. His trade value isn't exactly all that high as broken down on the Pond this week, but he has prime real estate in the catalog if teams are shopping the Twins roster.

Why trade him: If they can find a suitor getting about $9 million back in salary could go a long way in easing some payroll stress (noticing an annoying theme here?).

Jair Camargo emerged last year to dominate Triple-A, and is looking ready to work in tandem with Ryan Jeffers. Camargo would also be on a rookie contract and give Minnesota two young options behind the plate for the next handful of seasons.

The Twins overpaid Vazquez a bit at $10 million a year for three years (with two left to go) so getting someone to take on that contract may be a bit of a challenge. It would make sense to dump his salary, but I believe the Twins will be left holding the money bag for him. I see him back with Camargo acting as the injury depth receiver at St. Paul

Approximate odds of being traded: 30%

If the Twins can package any of these guys you may see all three wearing new uniforms in 2024. As of now Jorge Polanco is likely the first one to go, and it's shaping up to be an intriguing winter of trade drama as fans watch the front office work the hot stove.

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