The Twins have actually made a flurry of moves this off-season. Now, most of these moves have been pretty minor (double meaning, do you get it?????). However, it may be the non-moves, or moves that have not happened yet, that are more interesting. First, I’ll go through the moves that the Twins have made so far, then I will bring up a few moves that have not happened… yet.
The Twins have removed quite a few players from their 40 man roster in the past couple weeks. Most of these players are the definition of marginal. In fact, only two were even picked up by other teams. The rest all made it down to Rochester (over to Rochester?) and can stay in the organization in various ways. Let’s start with the two players who were claimed by other teams.
Alexi Casilla – Claimed by the Orioles
I’m going to need a minute here.
Ok, one more.
I feel better now. I don’t feel great. Alexi Casilla was my favorite player and I have no idea why. I guess I do have a soft spot for the scrappy players who really aren’t very good. Alexi can’t hit. I know this with my head.
My heart? My heart hurts. My heart burrrrns. It’s so cold.
I wanted Casilla to be a good player. I wanted him to grab the reigns of second base and ride them all the way to prosperity. I wanted to be able to watch him make crazy acrobatic plays for 15 years. I wanted him to harness the speed that he clearly has and steal 50 bases. I wanted him to learn how to take a walk and maybe mix in a double. Instead, I’ll say goodbye. It’s so hard. I did listen to the whole song while typing this. He’ll probably be a utility guy in Baltimore, the only role he is realistically capable of playing.
Carlos Gutierrez – Claimed by the Cubs
This does not bother me on a personal level. It is disappointing though. Not because he was anything special, but because he was a first round pick out of college and he never made it to the “Bigs” as they say. He was hurt most of this year, although his peripheral stats were great in the limited AAA innings he threw last year. He walks a lot of minor league batters, which means he will probably walk a lot of major league batters if given the chance. At least he wasn’t the Twins’ only first round pick that year, and Aaron Hicks could still make the 2008 draft a success.
Manship, Perdomo and Waldrop are just relievers. Not all relievers are just relievers, much like not all meeps are pleeps. However, these three are just relievers. If you need one of them, you can just add them to the 40 man roster and call them up. They aren’t anything special, so you can then just send them outright to the minors and odds are no one will claim them. Exhibit A: a few days ago when this exact thing happened.
Vasquez was a converted just reliever who put up interesting AAA stats in Rochester. He came up in September and was pretty awful. He is 29 years old today (Happy B-day Esmerling!) and likely to be an emergency starter next year, if that.
Walters and Deduno were emergency starters last year, who got way more time with the Twins than expected, due to the severity of the emergency. Walters was completely unimpressive to me but was signed to a minor league deal, with an invitation to Spring Training in 2013. There is no real harm there, but hopefully he will only pitch as a Twin in 2013 if things go South to the extreme.
Deduno was “effectively wild” which I think is code for “terrible, but nice.” He had a walk rate in the Mitch Williams range, which means he may have a future as the worst talking head on the MLB Network (non-Eric Byrnes division). Deduno basically had 2 good starts, with all the other starts either traditionally terrible or peripherally terrible. There is nothing wrong with enjoying a bumpy ride while it is in progress. Signing up for that ride again is a completely different story. There was no reason to give Deduno anything more than an opportunity next year. The Twins clearly agreed and that is fine with me.
Matt Carson is just a guy. He is an older outfielder with no major league track record. The one strength of this organization is in the outfield, so Carson doesn’t really have a long-term role in Minnesota.
Nothing to get excited about here. Roenicke could be a middle reliever if things click and Field might be a utility infielder. The Twins are just two punches from completing their utility infielder punch card, so Field was a wise move. The beat writer in Colorado seemed to think the Roenicke loss was a big one for the Rockies, which means Roenicke was probably either a nice guy, a good quote, or both. His numbers don’t point toward his loss being substantial, as he has a K/BB ratio just hovering over 1.
Scott Baker is now a free agent. A couple weeks ago, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that the Twins would quickly decline Baker’s option, and then sign him to a new contract. This has not happened. Baker seems like a really good fit, what with him being a long-term Twin and his recent injury history. An incentive-laden, one-year deal to build his market value seemed like a good idea. However, other teams play baseball too. It makes sense for Baker to look and see if he can get a deal for 2-3 years and for good money. The Twins are almost certainly going to need pitching, so they will likely be waiting if Baker can’t find that deal. I like Baker, and I hope the Twins bring him back.
Carl Pavano is now a free agent. Pavano will be 37 next season, was not healthy this season and also was not good when he was healthy this season. Those factors, when added together, do not make Pavano an attractive free agent. Those factors, by themselves, are troubling enough. Pavano should be cheap and likely won’t command more than a one year contract. As last resorts go, the Twins could honestly do a lot worse. However, my hope is that they don’t need a last resort, or go in the complete opposite direction and gut the team to rebuild.
Matt Capps is now a free agent. Capps is not popular in Minnesota. It’s true. Capps is 29, still doesn’t walk many batters and has a decent track record. It is hard for Twins fans to look past all the failure they have seen, but it really would not surprise me if Capps was a decent reliever in 2013. I would be extremely surprised if he was a decent reliever for the Twins. That ship seems to have sailed. Look at the list of right-handed relievers on the market: It’s not great. Capps might get a better contract than we are expecting.
Drew Butera was not a part of the mass layoffs. This confuses me, but does not surprise me. There will be a day when Drew Butera makes a million dollars in a season. $1,000,000.00. This will happen. I’ll leave you with that. And this… for Alexi.