Twins Exercise Club Options with Max Kepler and Jorge Polanco

Max Kepler Jorge Polanco
(Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)

The Minnesota Twins exercise club options with Max Kepler and Jorge Polanco. Both moves were expected, but a strong second half from both players solidified the decision. The Twins picking up their team options keeps their two longest-tenured players on the roster for the 2024 season. The options were almost the same with Kepler having a $10 million club option with a $1 million buyout and Polanco with a $10.5 million team option with a $1 million buyout.

For Kepler

Kepler had a very slow start to the 2023 season. That could be contributed to right knee soreness to start the season. Also, he might have needed extra time to get into game shape. He did find his form in the second half and finished the season with a .260 average in 491 plate appearances. He hit 24 home runs, scored 72 runs, and had 66 RBI. His defense also was spectacular, only making one error in 224 chances over 972 1/3 total innings.

For Polanco

Polanco was also hurt and was limited to 80 games, but he still hit 14 home runs with 48 RBI, and hit .255 in 302 at-bats. He played primarily at second base during the first half of the season. However, he took over at third when rookie Edouard Julien was a pleasant surprise for the Twins and became their full-time second baseman. Polanco’s infield depth was a key reason in picking up his option.

Both Could be Traded

The Twins have exercised club options with Max Kepler and Jorge Polanco, but both could still be used as trade pieces. In the off-season, the front office will field calls from many teams regarding both players. Kepler’s rebound season on offense and outstanding right field defense make him a strong asset for any team looking for outfield help.

Polanco has been a consistent offensive performer when he’s healthy, and is a streaky hitter. His versatility in the middle infield is something that all teams will want. Both players are still considered in their primes with potential low-cost commitments. That makes them appealing to other clubs. The Twins will have to decide if they have enough depth in their other players before listening and deciding on any trade offers.

Busy Off-Season

With Max Kepler and Jorge Polanco both in the mix, the Twins look to have a busy off-season. They have six pending free agents who were either on the 2023 Opening Day roster or contributed in a significant role upon winning AL Central division. Starting pitchers Sonny Gray, Kenta Maeda, and Tyler Mahle and reliever Emilio Pagan are sure to get looks from other teams.

Big decisions on starting center fielder Michael A. Taylor and platoon player Donovan Solano will also need to be made.The team won its’ first playoff game since 2004. So, there is a lot to be in high spirits about. But the Twins are going to have to do some work in free agency this offseason. They will either need to keep their players or go out and sign new players for the upcoming 2024 season.

 

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James Marshall

James Marshall

Jim Marshall has lived in Phoenix, AZ for 50 years. He is an avid baseball fan, but enjoys all of Arizona's local sports teams, including Diamondbacks, Suns, Cardinals and Coyotes. In addition to the four major sports, he closely follows the Phoenix Mercury, Arizona Rattlers and Arizona State Sun Devils. Jim's passion for baseball continues beyond the field as he is an avid collector of baseball memorabilia. His favorite athlete of all time is Baseball Hall of Fame member Harmon Killebrew. In addition to watching, reading and talking about sports, he takes time to travel and appreciate the great state of Arizona with his lovely wife, Patti.

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