On paper, there are few teams that look like more attractive trade partners for the Blue Jays than the Minnesota Twins. Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet recently tweeted that they are a good trade fit on paper so let's look deeper into this.
The Twins need a catcher in the worst way. As things currently stand, the light-hitting Ryan Jeffers figures to handle the majority of the playing time while career minor leaguer Andrew Bechtold is the only available backup in the organization.
And the Blue Jays could use an outfielder, which the Twins happen to have two of that could be available in trades. Per Dan Hayes and Aaron Gleeman of The Athletic (subscription required), Max Kepler is said to be drawing trade interest while utilityman Luis Arraez is also said to be available in the right deal.
Could the Jays swing a trade for both of these players in a package centered around one of their catchers? Sure, they could. Even after the addition of Kevin Kiermaier, the club could stand to bring one more starting caliber outfielder aboard.
First, some background on the players. Kepler, 29, is a left-handed hitting outfielder who is capable of playing all three spots on the grass, something the Jays are known to be in search of. He is set to become a free agent at the end of the 2023 campaign but his contract has a 2024 club option that the Jays could pick up if they like what they see.
Last season, Kepler put up 2.1 bWAR but had a bit of a down season overall at the plate. He played in 115 contests for the Twins and hit nine home runs, drove in 43 and finished the year with an OPS+ of 93. He is a yearly lock to hit 20+ home runs, maxing out at 36 in 2019.
Then there's Arraez, one of the more underrated players in the league, who quietly won the AL batting title in 2022 with a .316 average. The pesky left-handed hitter doesn't have much pop in his bat but he is an on-base machine, drawing more walks than strikeouts and posting an OPS+ of 130 last season.
What makes Arraez even more valuable than Kepler is the fact that he's only 25 and is still under team control through the 2025 season. But still, there could be a deal to be made between these two clubs.
Let's say Alejandro Kirk and a secondary piece or two would get this deal done, would you do it? The Jays have three of the most sought after backstops in the league and an ever-growing pressure to make some sort of move to push this team over the top and the Twins are looking to deal from their big league club.
The first rough proposal that comes to mind is Kirk and Cavan Biggio for Kepler and Arraez. There would likely need to be another minor league piece going from Toronto the Minnesota, but the framework of the deal is in place with these four big leaguers.
Kirk is still just 24-years-old and emerged last year as one of the more dynamic offensive catchers in the game. He plays a premium position and has one heck of a bat, so pairing him with Biggio, who the Jays may not hold on to much longer would give the Twins their new catcher of the future and a replacement for Arraez, swapping out his contact for Biggio's power.
Mull it over, Blue Jays fans. Letting go of Kirk will not be easy in any deal but if the Jays are able to land two players who can immediately slot into the everyday lineup, they should take the deal.