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What will we get back from the likely impending trade of Kepler


We have a redundancy in right field with both Kepler and Gallo.  I suppose you could flip one to left field, but then there really isn't a spot for Larnach.  

With that said there have been lots of rumors about trading Kepler and I expect that to be the last big move other than possibly signing another reliever.  

Starting pitching looks deep, so likely not an area we would add.   So the question is do we get prospects or do we trade for a reliever.  Do we just hold off,  and deal with the logjam in the outfield - or dfa celestino and/or larnach.  Some interesting decisions coming up.  

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In the comments on the original announcement of the trade from yesterday, there's a rundown of the 13 position players who would appear likely to come out of spring training. It doesn't require Kepler being traded in order to work:

C: Jeffers, Vazquez
IF: Miranda, Correa, Polanco, Kirilloff, Farmer
OF: Buxton, Larnach, Gallo, Kepler, Taylor, Gordon

There's no one locked into the DH spot, so that opens it up for a rotation among the OFs (those of them whose hitting justifies starting at DH, ha.) Plus Gallo or Gordon can spot start in the infield if one of the infielders gets a DH day.

There still is something of a redundancy of lefty-hitting outfielders, but there are enough places and situations to deploy them that it doesn't scream waste of a roster spot. If they had gotten a righty hitter to split time at 1B/DH (like the Gurriel rumors suggested) then all the outfielders would seem more superfluous, but maybe the Taylor acquisition means a shift away from that 1B/DH strategy.

I bet the Twins still would trade Kepler to meet another significant need, but I doubt they do it because of any perceived roster crunch. I think they're going for more depth with, if everyone is healthy, a bench full of players who could be at least low-end starters. 

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I think by adding Taylor, it really frees up the possibility that we don't need someone for the major league team in trade for Kepler anymore.  Our roster is pretty set, and if Kepler is gone - we have players like Larnach who will fill in just fine.  I would guess until now, they were holding out Kepler to get a major league ready player in return - but now maybe they can trade for someone with higher upside, who may be a year or two further away.  

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I'm not convinced that acquiring Taylor guarantees a Kepler deal.  I see Taylor as insurance for Buxton, so Taylor and Kepler could coexist on the same team.  DH is still open.  LF is kinda up for grabs yet.  With Buxton's injury history, having someone available to fill those shoes on the roster is a pretty good idea.  They almost need to carry 5 outfielders in order to do that.

And if they do trade Kepler, I think the Taylor deal allows them to worry less about bringing back a major league player.  It can be a borderline ready player that can come up to fill an injury spot and/or be more of a long term solution for something going forward.

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Saw the rumor/news that Tampa is still on the hunt for offense. I could see 2 of Kep, Gordon, & Larnach + HQ prospect (Lee, Salas) heading out for McClanahan or Springs. Tampa hasn't locked McClanahan up so he's about to get arb $$. That's usually when TB moves someone. He so good, though, they might deviate in his case. Springs seems like  a fine fallback. I think Springs shorter track record could reduce the quality of prospect that TB might ask for.

Since Tampa is looking for offense - I'd guess it to be Larnach + Gordon. Trev is a hitter and Gordo seems right up their alley with the positional flexibility. Or they could forgo the prospect all together and send Glasnow. His injury risk would be the Twins Problem, but the main reason he is gettable for less.     

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2 minutes ago, August J Gloop said:

With the news that Tampa is still on the hunt for offense. I could see 2 of Kep, Gordon, & Larnach + HQ prospect (Lee, Salas) heading out for McClanahan or Springs. Tampa hasn't locked McClanahan up so he's about to get $$. That's usually when they move someone. He so good, though they might change course. In that case Springs is a fine fallback. I think Springs shorter track record could reduce the quality of prospect that TB might ask for. Gordon seems right up their alley with the positional flexibility. Or they could forgo the prospect all together and send Glasnow. His injury risk would be the Twins Problem, but the main reason he is gettable for less.     

I like Glashow and Springs for the rotation. What if we move Ober, Maeda, Celestino, and Pagan for both of them?

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20 minutes ago, CoasterProductions said:

I like Glashow and Springs for the rotation. What if we move Ober, Maeda, Celestino, and Pagan for both of them?

I think that Ober might be a part of a trade that interests the Rays, but they want offense over there. Deffo gotta get them a couple OPS+ > 100 potential bats. (ETA affordable bats. It is the Rays we're talking about)

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1 minute ago, August J Gloop said:

I think that Ober might be a part of a trade that interests the Rays, but they want offense over there. Deffo gotta get them a couple OPS+ > 100 potential bats. (ETA affordable bats. It is the Rays we're talking about)

Guess that is where we replace Celestino with Kepler most likely maybe toss in Wallner too.

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I have never thought Kepler was being traded. They used their 6th-8th OFers all at the same time last year. This off-season has been all about depth, other than CC.

If they deal him, I want a pitching prospect that is far away with upside. Even a hitting prospect that is far away. 

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Why would Larnach or Celestino need to be DFA'd?  Both have minor league options.  Larnach needs to show he's healthy, and Celestino could use some more time in minors.  St. Paul should have a starting outfield of Larnach, Celestino and Wallner with Garlick at DH.

Vets and guys without options start with the big club.  Someone will probably, although hopefully not, get hurt.  Someone may not take advantage of their opportunity and then be passed up by someone who is performing.

Don't sell low.  None of the outfielders are slam dunks with nothing to prove, but they all have upside or at least above-average skillsets in different parts of the game.  Let them battle it out and then the trades or DFAs can occur during the season when the cream has risen to the top and the occupancy in the trainer's room becomes a familiar look.

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46 minutes ago, Unwinder said:

I want to see a bullpen upgrade before the offseason is over, but I'd rather sign Fulmer or similar, and trade Kepler for prospects than directly trade him for a reliever.

Exactly there are still multiple options for bullpen. Fulmer, Knebel, Chafin, and Hand would all be guys I would like to see. There are also trade possibilities for David Bednar.

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36 minutes ago, Mike Sixel said:

I have never thought Kepler was being traded. They used their 6th-8th OFers all at the same time last year. This off-season has been all about depth, other than CC.

If they deal him, I want a pitching prospect that is far away with upside. Even a hitting prospect that is far away. 

Yeah so far it looks like you are right. Unless the Twins get an offer they feel is too good to pass up they plan to hang onto Kepler for depth.

I don't think there are many more moves for the Twins until the roster spots open up. I do wonder though that when those 3, 40 man spots free up and they grab a reliever or two if there won't be more pressure to move Kepler's salary.   I would expect more signings and possibly more trades once those roster spots open up.  I think keeping Kepler strictly depends on how high of a payroll the Twins are comfortable staying at this year.

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1 hour ago, Mike Sixel said:

I have never thought Kepler was being traded. They used their 6th-8th OFers all at the same time last year. This off-season has been all about depth, other than CC.

If they deal him, I want a pitching prospect that is far away with upside. Even a hitting prospect that is far away. 

A good catching prospect that's a couple years away would be good too.  They don't have to trade him now so I suspect they deal if the price (return) is right.

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25 minutes ago, Craig Arko said:

I still kinda compare Kepler’s trade value with Denard Span. So I’d expect to get a pitching prospect on the order of Alex Meyer.

I agree with getting a nice pitching prospect or prospects.   The Twins need to build a bigger pipeline of pitching talent.   Stock Class A now so we are not complaining about the FA failing to develop pitching 3-4 years from now.  

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I don’t think we’re trading Kepler.

Not sure why we’re concerned about Larnach.  He’s not that good.  He might get there someday.  But, we’re trying to win baseball games right now.

Gallo is one of the best defensive corner outfielders in baseball.  Kepler is also.  Either of them would be our best defensive left fielder by a mile (excluding Buxton/Taylor).  Much better than Larnach or Gordon.  If Gallo and Kepler hit a little bit this year (whether regression or shift changes), we’re a way better team with both of them in the lineup.

If the FO thought Larnach or Gordon were a potential full time answer in left, they wouldn’t have brought in Gallo, IMO.  They didn’t bring him in to DH.  I can’t imagine Gallo would sign here to be a bench guy.  They likely gave him playing time assurances.  The Taylor move tells me they don’t want to move Gallo, Gordon or Kepler to CF when Buxton goes down.  They’re not going to pay Kepler his salary to be a 4th OF under Gordon.  That would be ridiculous on multiple levels.

I think we’ll see an OF of Gallo, Buxton, and Kepler quite often, which has way more upside than Gordon or Larnach in there.

This is all assuming Alex K plays first.  If they’re going to surprise everyone and work him into the OF rotation, Larnach and Gordon are even more expendable.  Gordon’s “value” from being a utility/emergency SS is gone with Farmer, Polanco, and Lewis coming back (all are better).

Honestly, I might rather have Garlick over Larnach or Gordon.  His help against LH pitching might be more valuable than anything Larnach or Gordon could offer.  

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What are the chances Larnach Kepler Kirloff Gallo are all healthy at the same time for more than a few days at any point in the season?  I’d guess pretty slim given Larnach and Kirloff history alone.  Fair chance only 2 are healthy for multiple stretches.  Also effectiveness, will all 4 have even good to average years?  Again no considering 2 are unproven and 2 bounce back type candidates.  The depth is fine and will take care of itself.

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Just now, tbruggs11 said:

What are the chances Larnach Kepler Kirloff Gallo are all healthy at the same time for more than a few days at any point in the season?  I’d guess pretty slim given Larnach and Kirloff history alone.  Fair chance only 2 are healthy for multiple stretches.  Also effectiveness, will all 4 have even good to average years?  Again no considering 2 are unproven and 2 bounce back type candidates.  The depth is fine and will take care of itself.

Agreed. But why did they even sign Gallo? Seemed like it would have made more sense to sign a RH version of him.

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I'm not sure trading Kepler at this point is in the twins best interest, he's coming off a mediocre to bad offensive year with a solid defensive background. The defensive upside is there at the trade deadline just as much as it is now. His offense has been pretty stable since his breakout 2019 so he probably isn't going to get worse and you might see his avg tick up a bit with the shift ban (probably not a lot with all the grounders) but he could be a player that can raise his value early in the year and be unlikely to lower it. A team desperate for a player in the outfield due to injury or under performance would probably be willing to move relief prospect or a reliever with some years left to bring in Kepler for the end of the year. I definitely don't hate sitting on him to see if they can get a bit more value out of him taking advantage of a situation and giving larnach or Wallner a bit of time in AAA to start the year.

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4 hours ago, tony&rodney said:

Max Kepler is a good baseball player. I would rather hold him than trade him for less than another really good player. Maybe Kepler for Loaisiga, but otherwise just keep him in RF and batting 9th.

As evidenced by What? 9 HR... .227 Ave... .318 OBP.... 348 SLG? Or the 19 HR .. .211 Ba.. 306 SLG the year before... He seems like a very nice guy and is a very good fielder but this is the Major league Boys...

Those are "Back ups" numbers... as he should be. If there is something out there that can help us in a package deal fine.. if not a decent prospect would be fine. 

Wallner and Larnach can match that without much of a problem. Would rather have them out there learning and getting their AB's than knowing what we are getting and being delusional that he is "good"... he is not. 

Time to move on.... 

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2 hours ago, specialiststeve said:

As evidenced by What? 9 HR... .227 Ave... .318 OBP.... 348 SLG? Or the 19 HR .. .211 Ba.. 306 SLG the year before... He seems like a very nice guy and is a very good fielder but this is the Major league Boys...

Those are "Back ups" numbers... as he should be. If there is something out there that can help us in a package deal fine.. if not a decent prospect would be fine. 

Wallner and Larnach can match that without much of a problem. Would rather have them out there learning and getting their AB's than knowing what we are getting and being delusional that he is "good"... he is not. 

Time to move on.... 

I see you dismissed defense. He's about a league average player when you take into account defense. 

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5 hours ago, farmerguychris said:

Don't want to be in any rush - Once another team has a significant injury in the outfield, they'll likely be willing to offer more in return than we could get before the season starts.

especially lefty bats

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IF Kepler is moved...and I'm agreeing more and more that he's being kept...there are two areas I would like to see addressed in a return that makes the most sense to me:

1] A quality 7th inning RP that might even be good/proven enough to pitch the 8th once in a while. At worst, I'd like a hot, young bullpen arm ready to graduate from AAA. BUT, why do that when Fulmer is still sitting there? 

2] A young A+ or AA SP with a live arm who's got a real future but is probably a year or two away. Keep adding to the system when guys like Lopez and Paddack may be about to move on, though, of course, re-signings are still possible.

These two options would make the most sense to me.

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1 hour ago, Mike Sixel said:

I see you dismissed defense. He's about a league average player when you take into account defense. 

Agreed. That's part of why he has real value to someone out there, along with a potential turnaround in his offense.

But that's also what's so damn frustrating about Max. He walks, does K a ton, runs the bases well, makes contact, and has shown in the past he's a legitimate 30+ doubles hitter with high teens and 20HR power. I can fully accept 2019 and the juiced ball as being an outlier. But even with a juiced ball, you still have to hit the ball hard with some kind of launch angle in order to hit all those HR. How on earth does such a sweet swing from a strong, athletic man like Kepler turn in to pop-ups and weak grounders the past 2yrs?

And that's part of his appeal, right? To other teams OR the Twins keeping him. The shift changes will only help him for a dozen or so base hits, by speculation/projection. But if he could figure out how to hit the ball HARD again, suddenly you have 50+ XBH to go along with the defense. Not trying to derail the OP, but that's what needs to happen and what everyone is banking on.

 

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