The Twins extend Jorge Polanco and Max Kepler
The Twins are something of a forgotten team in the American League, particularly since we think we already know who four of the five playoff teams will be. I’d still be surprised if anyone besides Cleveland won that American League Central, but if anyone pushes them I’d bet on Minnesota. The issue with the Twins is that they’ve rarely shown a willingness to make a real push in free agency. Because of that, they have to spend money to at least keep their in-house guys around. They started that process on Thursday as they signed both infielder Jorge Polanco and outfielder Max Kepler to long-term deals. After Aaron Nola signed an extension of his own on Wednesday, it’s clearly extension season around the league.
Polanco’s deal is for five guaranteed seasons worth $25.75 million with a couple of club options added on the end of that. Kepler’s, meanwhile, is also a five-guaranteed-seasons deal, his worth $35 million. The outfielder also has only one club option attached. If Minnesota is going to take a big jump towards or into the postseason it’ll be on the back of their higher-ceiling players like Byron Buxton, Miguel Sanó and José Berríos. Still, you need these kinds of good, solid role players and now Minnesota can keep them around at below market-value. For the Red Sox, Kepler’s deal can be something of a jumping-off point in talks with Andrew Benintendi. Boston’s outfielder is certainly a better player, but he also has less service time under his belt.
Padres met with Manny Machado
The Manny Machado saga is continuing into mid-February, and we’re still just in the meeting stages apparently. Last week, the Padres decided to meet with the superstar infielder. I just want this to be done, and I’m not even a fan of any of the teams involved.