The Minnesota Twins appear to be intent on keeping their young core together at an affordable rate for a long time.
After reports indicated that the club was close to reaching an agreement with shortstop Jorge Polanco on a big extension, a new report emerged suggesting that outfielder Max Kepler is also in talks for a new deal to stay with the team.
The German-born Kepler has been a mainstay in the Twins outfield for the past three seasons and seems poised for a breakout 2019 campaign at age 26.
And he'll be making a pretty penny in the process.
Outfielder Max Kepler and the Minnesota Twins are in agreement on a five-year, $35 million deal with a sixth-year option, a league source tells ESPN. The option is for $10 million and includes a $1 million buyout.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) February 14, 2019
From 2016-2018 the team's primary right fielder averaged 19 home runs, 63 RBI and a .233/.314/.418 slash line over about 139 games per year while providing excellent defense. If he can figure out how to continue improving upon his production against left-handed pitching without sacrificing his ability against righties, Kepler can be an impact player in the twin cities for a long time.
The details of the potential extension are unclear, but what we do know is that the two sides are currently in agreement on a pact worth $3.13 million for 2019, so it's safe to assume that the average annual value of any extension would eclipse that and buy out some, if not all, of his arbitration-eligible years.
Minnesota could potentially have one of the best outfields in baseball if their players all live up to their potential. Kepler looks like he can put it all together this year, Eddie Rosario has emerged as one of the team's best players, and the team still believes in Byron Buxton despite a meager output.
The Twins are doing the best they can to field a competitor on a budget, and with all these extensions, they may very well be set up for future success.