Twins quietly pull off trade with Rays ahead of Opening Day

It's not a splashy move, but it ships off the Twins' first free agent signing of the winter.
University of Minnesota v Minnesota Twins
University of Minnesota v Minnesota Twins / Brace Hemmelgarn/GettyImages

Opening Day is almost here, but the Minnesota Twins have some work to do before the first pitch of the season is thrown. A barrage of injuries has thrown what seemed to be a pretty clear 26-man roster into flux, with Minnesota needing to figure out ways to replace some key players in the bullpen.

Jhoan Duran, Caleb Thielbar and Justin Topa will all start the season on the IL, with Kody Funderburk and Cole Sands getting called up to replace them. Jorge Alcalá is also going to get some work, with Louie Varland set to replace Anthony DeSclafani in the starting rotation.

It's not just the MLB roster that the Twins are tinkering with, as the team pulled off a trade on Wednesday that removed one of the team's few free agent signings from the roster.

Twins pull off last-minute trade with Rays head of Opening Day

On Wednesday morning the Twins quietly pulled off a minor league trade with the Tampa Bay Rays, shipping off utility player Niko Goodrum. It's a low-key deal on Minnesota's end, but the move means that Goodrum will get elevated to Tampa Bay's 40-man roster immediately.

It's technically an assignment, not a trade. As Darren Wolfson points out, the Twins aren't getting anything back in the deal because of a clause in his deal that allowed a team to add Goodrum to its roster if Minnesota wasn't going to.

Since the Twins weren't adding Goodrum to the 40-man roster, the Rays were able to acquire him and since no other teams showed an interest a trade wasn't required to make the move. Star Tribune Twins beat writer Phil Miller confirmed this as well.

Goodrum was the first official addition the team made this winter, which is a reminder of how painfullly slow things were for most of the offseason. He was a lottery ticket for the Twins, a former top draft pick who showed some promise with the Detroit Tigers but not enough to catch on as part of the team's future.

He didn't catch on in Minnesota, either. Goodrum was a non-roster invitee to Spring Training this year but was among the final round of player cut by the team. His reassignment to minor league camp following Tuesday's game against Atlanta is what prompted the move, one that will potentially give him a shot at some big league innings down in Tampa Bay.

There wasn't really a chance that he'd make the 26-man roster, but he could have potentially added some depth later in the season. Kyle Farmer and Willi Castro are the two utility players the Twins are carrying into the season, but the line to get called up starts behind Austin Martin and includes top prospect Brooks Lee.

Much like the Nick Gordon trade earlier this year, the deal gives a player who wasn't going to see much time in Minnesota a fresh start with a team that will likely use him right away in ways the Twins weren't going to.

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