With the Winter Meetings set to begin this weekend, it’s only natural that rumors begin to swirl regarding players. With the news that Bryan Reynolds has requested a trade from Pittsburgh, there are also rumors hinting that the White Sox may be looking at another left-handed outfielder.
According to Bruce Levine of 670 The Score, the White Sox have an interest in Twins outfielder Max Kepler. Levine made this report during Saturday’s “Inside The Clubhouse” episode on the station, and also mentioned that pitching could likely be going back to the Twins in any trade between the two clubs.
Kepler, who will enter his age-30 season next year, has had quite an up-and-down campaign with the Twins. Since 2015, Kepler has hit .232/.317/.427 in a Twins uniform, with the highlight being his 2019 campaign in which he hit .252/.336/.519 with 36 home runs. Since then, he has had highs and lows in the power department, being a usual 20-home run hitter, but only hitting nine in 2022 (.227/.218/.348).
What makes Kepler interesting is the difference between his production and expected statistics. For the last three seasons, Kepler has underperformed his xwOBA by anywhere from 20-40 points, highlighting the idea that perhaps getting Kepler out of the large ballpark in Minnesota may serve to his benefit.
Kepler would also come as a strong defensive outfielder, posting +12 Outs Above Average (OAA) in right field for the Twins in 2022. He has long been a solid defensive outfielder, and with Luis Robert manning center field next to him, this would likely be a trend that continues.
Lucas Giolito has been a popular name among White Sox fans when it comes to the trade department, and Levine mentioned him as part of a “larger trade” with the Twins – though it is unclear if the White Sox would even consider helping out a division rival with this level of talent. It also wouldn’t necessarily make sense to trade Giolito for Kepler straight up – Davis Martin, Aaron Bummer, and Kendall Graveman are among the names that would also make sense for the White Sox and Twins in a move like this.
Kepler is due $8.5M this season and has a $10M club option for 2024, so he has two years of team control left for any teams that may be exploring trades for him.
As more develops for the White Sox during the Winter Meetings, we will continue to provide updates.
Follow us @SoxOn35th for more!
Featured Image: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports