The Minnesota Twins made another savvy move it appears after acquiring outfielder Jake Cave. Who exactly did the Twins add to their outfield mix Friday?
The Minnesota Twins completed a series of spring training moves on Friday. The moves included a player of great stature and debate among Twins fans in Kennys Vargas being designated for assignment. Vargas was designated in order to make room for the Twins acquisition of minor league outfielder Jake Cave from the New York Yankees in exchange for 19-year old right-hander Luis Gil.
Cave was a 6th round draft pick by the Yankees in the 2011 MLB Draft. With the Yankees stacked outfield after the addition of Giancarlo Stanton to an outfield which already employed the likes of Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks, Brett Gardner, and Jacoby Ellsbury. There just wasn’t room on the major league roster for Cave to make the jump from Triple-A to the big leagues. With the Yankees need for a 40-man spot after agreeing to sign Neil Walker, Cave was available to the Twins.
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As reported, the Twins front office first became aware of Cave when they were working on completing the trade that sent Jaime Garcia to New York last summer. The trade brought the Twins back pitcher Dietrich Enns and Zack Littell, but Cave was a player the Twins coveted. It is easy to see why when you look at his numbers last season.
Primarily as a member of Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Cave hit .305/.351/.542 with a .893 OPS across 103 minor league games in 2017. He also hit 20 home runs and 26 doubles. Currently, Cave has the ability to play all three outfield spots defensively. He does seem destined for one of the corner spots in the long term but has the tools to be a good defensive outfield.
Cave may not have one aspect of his game that screams attention above any others. It is exactly that level of competency in multiple areas of his game. As well as specific improvement to his swing in 2017 that has his new bosses impressed.
Once again the Twins front office has seemingly made a move that looks to be an upgrade from where they were. Cave looks to be an upgrade over Vargas as an overall player, plus Cave has three option years remaining. And all they gave up was a young pitcher who hasn’t pitched outside of the Dominican Republic and who missed 2016 with shoulder surgery.
Cave will now challenge for the 4th outfielder position with the Twins. He may not win it right out of camp, but he is sure to be challenging the likes of Robbie Grossman, Zack Granite, and Ryan LaMarre as spring training and the season continues on. As of now, Cave looks like a more complete player than Grossman and Granite. The question is if he can put all his skills from Triple-A together in the majors. Thankfully, with Cave’s option years the Twins have time to find the answer to that question.