In a recent video short on MLB Network, insider Jon Morosi mentioned the possibility once again that the Toronto Blue Jays and Minnesota Twins would make great trade partners. For the Jays, they have been in search of a power bat or two during this offseason to help boost their offence for 2024. In the case for the Twins, Morosi highlighted that they desperately need some starting pitching after losing Cy Young finalist Sonny Gray, along with veterans Tyler Mahle and Kenta Maeda to free agency.
As a result, the Jays can potentially offer up one of their own in former Cy Young finalist Alek Manoah in a deal with the Twins. His status with the Jays in 2024 remains uncertain after his abysmal 2023 season. Last year, he went an uncharacteristic 3-9 with a 5.87 ERA, 1.74 WHIP, and a 6.01 FIP while fighting constantly with control issues.
Whether or not Manaoh will be able to regain his proper pitching mechanics and command in time for the upcoming season remains in question, but Minnesota has been known to be a place that helps successfully develop and revamp pitchers as Morosi noted. The solid performance results of Gray, Maeda, Joe Ryan and Bailey Ober in recent years are prime examples of that success. So perhaps it is exactly what Manoah needs to get his career back on track.
For the Twins, power hitters Max Kepler and Jorge Polanco would come into play to help address the Jays’ need. Morosi brought up the possibility of the duo being moved once again after first suggesting it almost two months ago following his meeting with Twins President of Baseball Operations Derek Falvey. Also, the Jays were recently named one of the “best fits” for one of the Twins top trade target in Polanco.
In Kepler, the Jays would get a potent power hitter in his prime that is good for 25 home runs and 70 RBI per season on average. Although Kepler plays mainly in right field, the Jays would mainly deploy him in the designated hitter role with spot starts in the outfield when needed. In the case for Polanco, he is just two years removed from his career-best 33 home runs, 98 RBI season, which speaks volumes of what potential big-time impact he can provide. In addition, with the ability to play at second base, third base, and shortstop, it would give the Jays added flexibility in the event the Biggio/Espinal/Kiner-Falefa/Schneider experiment doesn’t pan out.
It may be tough to give up on such a young, promising pitcher in Manoah, especially after the immense potential he put on full display in both his rookie and sophomore seasons. However, it was quite apparent that the Jays lacked the offence and killer instinct last season that severely limited their success in the end. If the additions of both Kepler and Polanco can ultimately put the Jays over the top and reach the next level, it may be a gamble that is worth taking.