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Twins give Jorge Polanco, Max Kepler contract extensions

The Twins are locking down their young stars.

The Twins have announced plans for a press conference on Friday morning and it's expected to announce contract extensions for Jorge Polanco and Max Kepler.

According to ESPN's Jeff Passan, Polanco's is a seven-year extension with at least five years guaranteed. The Star Tribune reports Polanco will receive about $25 million guaranteed with team options for 2024 and 2025. 

As for Kepler, Passan says that he's agreed a 5-year, $35 million deal with a $10 million option for a 6th year.

Passan notes that Polanco's deal is similar to the five-year extension All-Star Jose Ramirez signed with the Cleveland Indians in 2017, and a five-year, $25.6 million deal the Cardinals gave infielder Kolton Wong in 2016. 

Of course, Polanco hasn't produced anything remotely similar to what Ramirez has since signing his deal. Ramirez has finished in the top three of the American League MVP vote two years in a row, making the deal Cleveland signed him to look like a steal. 

Polanco burst onto the scene in the second half of the 2017 season and was solid the second half of 2018 after serving a suspension the first 80 games of the season after testing positive for an illegal, performance-enhancing substance. 

  • Polanco 2017: .256/.313/.410, 13 HR, 74 RBI, 30 2B, 13 SB (133 games)
  • Polanco 2018: .288/.345/.427, 6 HR, 42 RBI, 18 2B, 7 SB (77 games)

As Twins blogger Aaron Gleeman notes, Polanco's future could be at second base as soon as top prospect Royce Lewis arrives in the big leagues, possibly as soon as 2020 or 2021. 

As for Kepler, his performance in 2018 dipped slightly compared to 2017, as his average dropped and he hit one fewer homer. That said, he got on base more often as he cut down on his strikeouts.

But there's power potential for sure, and he's also one part of the Twins' fearsome outfield defense that includes Byron Buxton and Eddie Rosario.

  • Kepler 2017: .243/.312/.425, 19 HR, 69 RBI, 32 2B, 6 SB (147 games)
  • Kepler 2018: .224/.319/.408 20 HR, 58 RBI, 30 2B, 4 SB (156 games)

The Twins opened spring training in Florida on Thursday with the first day of pitchers and catchers. Position players begin practicing next week. 

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