If Minnesota Twins fans were disappointed at the team’s inaction during the first three days of the Winter Baseball Meetings, they certainly didn’t seem to be expecting that the action would pick up when center fielder Ben Revere was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies. Since the prevailing wisdom after Denard Span was shipped to the Washington Nationals was that Revere would slide into center field and the top of the order for the Twins, many fans felt like the rug was pulled out from under them. I fully admit that my initial reaction was to freak out, just a little bit:
— Paula Minell (@PMinell) December 6, 2012
Okay, maybe for the first twenty minutes after I heard Revere had been traded, I freaked out a little…I mean, a lot. But, as the names Vance Worley and Trevor May were revealed as the players gained, and after a very brief bit of research into those players, my level of panic subsided. Rather than rehash an analysis of the trade, I’ll instead suggest you read Brad Swanson’s post written shortly after the trade for insight into why the move makes sense for the Twins, on a rational level. I still get a little teary-eyed knowing Little Benny won’t be bouncing like Tigger in the clubhouse anymore. Additionally, mlbtraderumors.com claims that the Phillies also tried to obtain Josh Willingham either instead of Revere or in addition to him. Personally, I’m glad that didn’t happen, as I need a break before I can handle another loss from the Twins’ roster.
Although it gained the most attention, the Revere to Philadelphia trade wasn’t the only move the Twins made that day. Additionally, a few transactions were made shortly after the Winter Baseball Meetings by other teams, transactions that may also affect the Twins. Here is a rundown of some of notable items from before and after “The Revere Trade”.
Before the Ben Revere Trade: Rule 5 Draft
For a complete explanation of the Rule 5 Draft, check out this article by fangraphs.com. The main thing a layman should know about the Rule 5 Draft is that the players have been in organizations for four or five years, but their organization did not choose to “protect” them by putting them on the 40-man roster. If drafted, the drafting team pays $50,000 to the previous team. If the player was selected in the MLB phase of the Rule 5 draft, the drafting team must keep the player on their 25-man roster for the next full season or offer him back to the previous team for $25,000. If the previous team accepts, the player goes back. If the previous team does not take the offer, the Rule 5 team can demote the player.
On the final morning of the Winter Baseball Meetings, the Rule 5 Draft took place, and the Minnesota Twins made two selections:
- RHP Ryan Pressley from the Boston Red Sox (major league phase)
- Third baseman Mark Sobloweksi from the Toronto Blue Jays (minor league phase)
Before fans freak out about the fact that the Twins picked up a couple of guys another team was willing to dump for a pittance, one of whom has to stay on the 25-man roster, there are a few things they need to keep in mind. The first is that Terry Ryan has to work within his options. Sure, there is a chunk of money available in the presumed budget for signing free agents. However, a player who is an automatic difference maker will have multiple offers, and it’s tough to convince a player to join a team trying to turn around from two frustrating seasons. Second, the Twins have had some success in previous years in the Rule 5 Draft. Three Rule 5 pickups for the Twins are Shane Mack, Johan Santana, and Scott Diamond.
Also, shortly before the Revere trade, the Twins signed 35-year-old pitcher Jason Lane to a minor league deal.
After the meetings…notable rumors and transactions
- According to rotoworld.com, the Baltimore Orioles have inquired about Justin Morneau.
- Joe Blanton and his 4.37 career ERA is off the board, as he signed with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for $15 million.
- RHP Dan Haren signed with the Nationals and is no longer a possibility for the Twins’ 2013 rotation.
- Skip Schumaker is named by mlbtraderumors.com as a player of interest to the Twins. He could be another utility infielder for the team.
- FA pitcher Brandon McCarthy signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Darren Wolfson (@DarrenWolfson) tweeted that the Twins never made McCarthy a formal offer.
- Phil Mackey of 1500espn.com tweeted that the Twins met with Carl Pavano‘s agent.
- Wolfson tweeted that the Twins are out of the running for free agent infielder Jack Hannahan. It had been rumored that the Twins had interest in the Minnesota native for his skills at third base, although some expect Hannahan would only receive a minor league deal if anything panned out. Hannahan is expected to sign with the Cincinnati Reds.
- The Twins extended right-handed reliever Jared Burton‘s contract through 2014 with a club option for 2015. Burton and Glen Perkins vied for the closing position for part of the 2012 season, and Burton was eventually slotted in as a reliable set-up man.