Twins Deal to Keep Rule 5 Pick


A little math to start off: fantasy baseball draft Saturday plus building a fence Sunday equals my reaction to the following move on Monday.

Saturday the Twins announced that they have traded RHP-Charles Nolte to the New York Yankees.  In return for Nolte, the Twins get to hang on to Rule 5 pick RHP-Jason Jones.

Jason Jones spent most of 2008 in AA where he had a 3.33 ERA and 1.31 WHIP in 149 IP.  He issued 49 BB and recorded 91 SO.  All 25 of his appearances came as a starting pitcher.  Right handed batters hit .280 off of him, but he held lefties to a .227 average.  He also started 2 games in AAA where he put up a 2.38 ERA and 0.64 WHIP.  In his 11 innings he only walked 1 while striking out 11.  He reversed his split and held lefties to a .222 average, while not allowing a hit to right handed hitters.  Jones pitched in 10 innings this spring holding an ERA of 2.70, WHIP of 1.40 while walking 3 and striking out 5.

23 year old Charles Nolte pitched 70 innings for Lo-A Beloit, all in relief.  He posted a 2.05 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 35 BB and 75 SO.  He is not ranked in Baseball America’s list of Twins top 30 prospects.  Nolte also failed to crack Seth Stohs’ list of top 40 Twins prospects, but Seth did tag him with the “sleeper watch” label.

All in all it seems like a pretty fair trade for both teams.  The Yankees left Jones exposed to the Rule 5 draft so they were prepared to lose him.  The Twins liked what they saw out of Jones, but the bullpen slots simply ran out.  They could not keep Jones on the major league roster without losing someone else like Humber who is out of options.  As a Rule 5 pick he would have had to stay with the ML team for the entire season or be offered back to the Yankees anyway, so working out this deal before the season was a good move.  By way of the trade, the Twins were able to option Jones to Rochester.  This trade adds another arm that is nearly ready for the major leagues but allows Jones to continue to hone his skill and log some innings at AAA.  He will be a part of the starting rotation with the Red Wings joining Swarzak and Mulvey.