By now we all know that Shohei Ohtani is off the board and the Toronto Blue Jays have been forced to look elsewhere for their next big power bat. Kevin Kiermaier was only just recently re-signed to a one-year contract, but that doesn't mean the Jays should be done by any means. Rumor has it the club is interested in Cody Bellinger, even after bringing Kiermaier back. While Bellinger can be an adequate addition for the team, there are still several under-the-radar left-handed bats that the Jays can move to, if the Bellinger sweepstakes prove too costly.
Kepler has been a regular for the Minnesota Twins since 2015, and last season was one of his best and most consistent yet. Kepler slashed .260/.332/.484 with an OPS+ of 121. What makes him even more interesting is that there is seemingly no overly weak part to his game. He accrued 4 OAA in RF last season, which was 3 higher than George Springer, who also grades out as a strong defender. Kepler also consistently hits the ball hard, and has proved he is capable of reaching exit velocities up to 112 MPH throughout the years.
With Kepler's good feel for the barrel and squaring up the ball, he could pencil in at left field for the Blue Jays, as a one year rental. It seems realistic for the Twins to shop him for a more pressing need, considering all the offensive weapons they currently have like Royce Lewis, Carlos Correa, Byron Buxton, and Edouard Julien. The offense will fare well, with or without Kepler. The bigger issue is if their current pitching can hold up in 2024.
The Twins have already lost Kenta Maeda and Sonny Gray in free agency, leaving their pitching staff a little exposed. Pablo Lopez and Joe Ryan can handle the front-end of the rotation, but they need better insurance for the back-end. With the Jays current abundance in quality pitching, Yusei Kikuchi could be an ideal return in a Kepler trade, giving both teams exactly what they need to be more successful in 2023.