Our dear Twinkies have started throwing cash at the young-ins, all but finalizing extensions with infielder Jorge Polanco (25) and outfielder Max Kepler (26) Thursday morning. These signings will likely be announced on Friday during a scheduled press conference at 10:00 AM. Let’s look at both the moves individually, because that’s easier for weak human brains like yours to understand.
Jorge Polanco deal with #Twins is for $25.75m guaranteed on a 5 yr + 2option year dal— Jim Bowden (@JimBowdenGM) February 14, 2019
Polanco was interestingly not yet arbitration eligible and under control for four more seasons. This deal gives the Twins 3 extra years (the last two being team option years) of control in exchange for giving the young Dominican some life changing cash money. Polanco started the 2018 season with an 80-game suspension for testing positive for the banned substance stanozolol, but hit well after his return. That suspension has already been the source of some HOT. DANG. TAKES. but I for once am more than willing to blame the culture rather than the player.
The extension might feel a bit odd considering Twins top prospects Royce Lewis and Nick Gordon have a good chance of being the middle infielders of the future. However Polanco could likely scoot over to the hot corner when the time comes and knock Miguel Sano to a 1B/DH role, a move a lot of people expect Sano to make sooner rather than later.
Official Tawny Transaction Rating: Bring it on down to 10/10 town.
Kepler gets 35M, 5 years plus option with Twins— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 14, 2019
Mr. Gemany Keplert’s deal is more valuable and a year shorter, but still quite similar to his teammate’s. Kepler had already agreed to a $3.125MM deal for the upcoming season as a Super-Two player, but this agreement will supersede that salary. With this agreement the Twins gain two extra years of handsome outfield action, the last of which is a team option.
Kepler’s numbers so far aren’t immediately special, but there is a reason he has been oft reported as a much sought after trade target. Once thought to be a platoon candidate, Kepler turned his luck against lefties around last year and hit them at a .245/.323/.422 rate. However, against righties (and overall) he suffered from a very visible drop in BABIP. Assuming that hard-luck straightens out and his success against same-side pitching wasn’t an aberration, Kepler should only get better. This along with the fact that advanced metrics love his fielding skills and give him plus marks in base-running make him a very valuable player to lock up.
Official Tawny Transaction Rating: Someday this money will also be mine when I marry Max Kepler/10. (Or just a 10/10.)
One (by which I mean me personally) can’t help but to wonder if some of these extensions may be a product of players seeing Free Agency as a much less rosy situation. The Twins reportedly failed to extend any of its young players last season, but as multiple Major Leaguers voice concerns about the state of the market, it wouldn’t be too extreme to suggest that such concerns might be making gaining some security now a much more attractive option. Sorry, I’m legally required to be a downer at least once per article.
However, we as fans shouldn’t let that sour this too much. These are great signings and we should all be really happy about both of them.
Happy Valentines day, ya’ losers.