Rule 5 options for the Minnesota Twins
The traditional last thing that happens in the week of the winter meetings is the Rule 5 draft. Thursday morning, bright and early (9 a.m. ET), the draft will begin. The draft will go until no more players are selected in a round, then proceed to the next phase. There is a major league phase and a AAA phase (a AA phase was previously held, but was eliminated in the collective bargaining agreement put into place in December 2016).
After a few moves, the Twins are down to 36 players on their 40-man roster. They could feasibly address one or more of their holes in this manner. Who would make some sense?
There really are no pitchers that the Minnesota Twins could select and reasonably expect to stick in the starting rotation through the entire season, especially with the depth of excellent starting pitching in the upper minors that the Twins have currently.
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Right-handed power/bench bat could be solved in an interesting way by bringing on current Blue Jays catcher Max Pentecost. Pentecost has struggled with injuries and not been in the upper minors in his career thus far or behind the plate very much due to those injuries, but he’s finally healthy, and many were lauding his work in the Arizona Fall League behind the plate. He could work with Mitch Garver to back up Jason Castro behind the plate and also provide a solid bat for DH or giving Joe Mauer a break at 1B now and again as well.
There are a host of bullpen arms available, though interestingly, two of the more desired bullpen arms are actually guys eligible from the Twins own organization. Outside of the Twins’ guys, the two I would target both come from the New York Yankees organization in Jose Mesa and Raynel Espinal, who both have electric arms and have worked both as starters and relievers, so they could provide long relief for the bullpen.
The Yankees also have a very intriguing bat to select, though he’s limited defensively and would likely mean the end of Kennys Vargas in Minnesota. Mike Ford was an undrafted free agent in 2013 out of Princeton, and while he’s not a guy who will likely club major power numbers, he has incredibly impressive contact skills and batting eye, with a 94/72 BB/K in the upper minors last season.
The Minnesota Twins made a huge improvement in 2017 to end up in the playoffs. Hopefully this week is the first of many steps that get the team even further in 2018!