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The Twins Beat

La Velle E. Neal III and Phil Miller report on the Twins from wherever they make news

Twins officially announce Polanco and Kepler deals; press conference to come


The Twins this morning have officially announced contract extensions for shortstop Jorge Polanco and outfielder Max Kepler, two of a handful of young core players the organization would like to secure for seasons to come.

Polanco, 25, is guaranteed $25.75 million over the next five years, with two club option years after that. Kepler, 26, is guaranteed $35 million over the next five years with a $10 million club option after that. 
Kepler's deal is front loaded. In January, Kepler signed a one-year deal for $3.125 million to avoid arbitration. In his new deal, Kepler will make $6 million the first year and peaks at $8.5 million in 2023. In comparison, Polanco's deal has him earning $3.583 this season but rising to $7.5 million in 2023.

The Twins are betting on both players continuing to develop and be key players in their lineup moving forward.

The deals will be officially announced at 9 a.m. central time today. Both Fox Sports North and the MLB Network will televise the press conference from Champions Hall, located by the minor league dorms at the Century Link Sports Complex. The Twins plan to have the minor league players who are in town attend the session, showing them what could be in store if they put in the right work.

Another reason this is a good day for the Twins. Both Polanco and Kepler were part of the same international signing class of 2009. 

But there was a third marquee name in the group - Miguel Sano. Who would have thought it would be Polanco and Kepler signing extensions before Sano?

Jose Berrios, Eddie Rosario and Taylor Rogers are other young players the Twins would like to lock up, so the next few weeks will be interesting.

Today should be a short day. After the press conference, the Twins will finish up their workout then take off for their annual charity golf tournament that supports cancer care in the area,

Astudillo late reporting to Twins training camp because of visa issue

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Fan favorite Willians Astudillo is having a visa issue and was unable to report to Twins training camp on Wednesday.

Twins Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey said that Astudillo could fly up from Venezuela as soon as Friday. He didn't indicate any displeasure with Astudillo despite this being the second consecutive camp in which he has shown up late for. The Twins understand that the visa process for some can take longer than anticipated. 

 

 

Astudillo batted .355 with three homers and 21 RBI in 30 games in his rookie season, becoming popular with fans for his aggressive hitting despite being built more like an auto mechanic than baseball player. He then was the runner-up for Venezuelan Winter League Most Valuable Player, losing out to former Twin Delmon Young. 

The delay is not good timing for Astudillo, who has a chance to land a spot on the Opening Day roster, most likely coming off the bench.

Anyway, greetings from Fort Myers! The weather here is much better than the Twin Cities but still not as good as Fort Myers can be. It rained all night and the temperature is 62 degrees under overcast skies. After a run of 80-degree days, it's a noticeable difference.

There's a different twist this year at camp. The Twins used to have players complete physicals during TwinsFest. This year, they are being done down here. So the clubhouse was fairly busy as pitchers and catchers reported for duty. The first workout is Thursday, where it's expected to be 78 degrees and sunny in Fort Myers.

In addition to pitchers and catchers, several position players also have arrived in camp. The group includes Zack Granite, Ehire Adrianza, Jorge Polanco, Luke Raley, Nick Gordon, Ronald Torreyes, Luis Arraez, Max Kepler, LaMonte Wade and Jake Cave.

There are also 100 minor leaguers on campus, staying in the dormitories.

Because of the weather, there's not much activity on the field today. A couple guys played catch this morning in the outfield. And there was some throwing under covered section of the bullpen at Hammond Stadium.

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