Twins claim underrated reliever off waivers from Rangers (but really the Reds)

Minnesota might have found a diamond in the rough.
Cincinnati Reds v Los Angeles Dodgers
Cincinnati Reds v Los Angeles Dodgers / Harry How/GettyImages

While we wait for the other shoe to drop after trading Jorge Polanco, the Minnesota Twins are busy making more mid-to-low level moves to pad the roster.

Minnesota freed up around $6 million after dealing Polanco to the Mariners on Monday, and it's expected that the team will use that money to find positional depth either at first base or in the outfield. Already the Twins have looked into a pair of former Red Sox starters, and there are rumors of a Donovan Solano reunion floating around as well.

On Friday the Twins made a much more lowkey move, but one that could end up paying off throughout the season. Minnesota claimed reliever Daniel Duarte off waivers from the Texas Rangers, although fans might remember him for the appearances he made with the Cincinnati Reds last season.

It's a mixed bag with Duarte last year, but he did post a 3.69 ERA and 1.389 WHIP in 31 games with the Reds. He ended up getting DFA'd at the end of the season, which is how he ended up with Texas and has now found his way to Minnesota.

Duarte was added to the 40-man roster, which meant the Twins needed to DFA recently acquired picher Ryan Jensen to make room.

Twins land underrated reliever with high-upside in Daniel Duarte

Duarte needs to work on a lot of things before he gets elevated to 'steal' status, but he seemingly has the tools to get there.

The positives on Duarte is that he fanned 26.8 percent of his opponents at Triple-A and significantly lowered his walk-rate from what it was in the Majors. He also posted pretty solid run-prevention numbers and has a fastball near 96 mph along with a plus slider that scouts apparently like.

Cincinnati appreciated his upside as well. The Reds protected him from the Rule 5 Draft in 2022, betting that he'd be able to bounce back from an injury that held him back after his debut. That didn't end up panning out, but there's sentiment among Reds fans that he might be considered One Who Got Away if he can tap into his potential.

That's where the negatives start to come into play, as Duarte's control was absolutely brutal in those 31 innings he pitched for Cincinnati. He walked over 15 percent of the batters he faced while only striking out around 16 percent of opponents.

He's not a big strikeout pitcher but could figure to be a solid middle innings reliever who the Twins can use a minor league option on if they need to. There's flexbility and upside with Duarte, which makes this feel like a classic pre-Spring Training Twins move.

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