Minnesota Twins – MLB Trade Rumors 2019-01-23T13:58:32Z https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/feed/atom WordPress Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Twins Plan To Utilize Martin Perez As Starter]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=145558 2019-01-22T15:37:10Z 2019-01-22T14:14:53Z The Twins’ reported agreement with left-hander Martin Perez won’t preclude them from adding further arms this offseason, writes Betsy Helfand of the St. Paul Pioneer Press“I think there are still some guys on the board that are interesting, certainly that could fit, so we remain engaged with those,” chief baseball officer Derek Falvey tells Helfand. Falvey wouldn’t rule out adding another pitcher on a big league deal, acknowledging that the team has some payroll flexibility — especially relative to the previous levels at which they’ve spent.

Somewhat surprisingly, La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune tweets that the Twins are indeed viewing Perez as a starting pitcher. Perez is coming off a season in which he ranked in the bottom one percent of strikeout rate and opponents’ weighted on-base average among big league pitchers in 2018. Perez is still just 27, was once a well-regarded prospect and is a known commodity for GM Thad Levine (formerly an assistant GM in Texas), but the Twins weren’t short on options for the fifth spot in the rotation. Adalberto Mejia, Fernando Romero, Stephen Gonsalves, Tyler Duffey, Kohl Stewart and Zack Littell were all already on the 40-man roster, but the Twins are seemingly more comfortable with Perez as a back-of-the-rotation option early in 2019 than any of that bunch.

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Ty Bradley <![CDATA[Twins To Sign Martin Perez]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=145248 2019-01-20T11:34:05Z 2019-01-19T23:04:41Z 5:04pm: Perez’s deal is worth approximately $3.5MM, Jon Heyman of Fancred tweets.

3:01pm: Per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, the Twins have agreed to a one-year deal with free agent lefty Martin Perez.  The deal reportedly includes a club option for 2020.

Martin Perez

Perez, 27, appeared in parts of seven seasons with the Rangers, posting a career 4.63 ERA/4.44 FIP/4.51 xFIP in 761 1/3 IP. A once-prized farmhand under the guiding hand of former Rangers assistant GM (and current Twins GM) Thad Levine, Perez dealt with an assortment of injuries during his tenure with the club, and never quite fulfilled the tantalizing bat-missing potential he displayed in the minors. Perez’s 5.46 K/9 ranks as one of the league’s lowest during that span, and it isn’t much offset by a career 3.19 BB/9, which swelled to 3.80 in 2018.

Perez, though, has long hung his hat on his knack for inducing the ground ball. Indeed, his 50.9% career grounder rate places 12th among all starters with at least 700 IP from 2012-18, aided in large part by a heavy sinker that hasn’t much slowed down despite recent-season struggles. His worm-burning tendencies, too, have helped him keep the ball in play – a 0.96 career HR/9 (even with last season’s 1.69 homer-per-nine anomaly) ranks, when adjusting for the homer-happy confines of Arlington’s Globe Life Park, as one of the league’s best of the decade, and should play very well within a park around which the club has a tailored a lineup rife with right-handed power.

2018 was an awful one for Perez, as the lefty posted career worsts in walk rate, HR/9, ERA (6.22) and FIP (5.72). He was demoted to the bullpen in late summer, where he still struggled with command, eventually making his $7.5MM option a foregone rejection. Both Steamer and ZiPS though, remain mostly on board, with the former projecting a 4.48 FIP and the latter a 4.51, each of which rated around league-average in the decidedly hitter-friendly environs of Texas.

Perez will join a rotation that includes Jose Berrios, Kyle Gibson, Jake Odorizzi, and the rehabbing Michael Pineda, and figures to have inside track for the rotation’s fifth and final spot at current. Lefties Stephen Gonsalves and Adalberto Mejia will contend, and the club could also look to Zack Littell, Kohl Stewart, or Fernando Romero, should injuries surface.

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Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Twins Have Interest In Brad Brach]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=145074 2019-01-18T05:35:05Z 2019-01-18T03:38:15Z
  • With no future commitments to speak of and a path to contention, the Twins seem to be a team to watch on the market. If nothing else, the club figures to bolster its pitching staff. The aforementioned Brad Brach is among the possible targets, according to LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune (Twitter link). The Minnesota front office has certainly shown an inclination to limit its risks in free agency, and it stands to reason that Brach will be available for a lesser and shorter commitment than many of the hurlers that have gone off the board already. The 32-year-old had something of a messy 2018 season after a string of productive campaigns, which could make him a nice value proposition.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Twins Expected To Sign At Least One More Pitcher]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=144933 2019-01-17T06:41:17Z 2019-01-17T02:17:41Z
  • The Twins are going to add at least one more arm before wrapping up their offseason, LaVelle E. Neal III tweets. Which? Well, that’d be good to know, of course, but the fact is that quite a few options still remain and it’s still entirely unclear where the front office might be looking. The Minnesota organization somehow still has yet to commit any salary beyond the season to come, so a reasonably significant addition surely can’t be ruled out. It’s arguable that the team most needs to pursue a quality reliever, though perhaps a move in the rotation is not out of the question entirely. Though it’s still anyone’s guess how this’ll play out, it’s notable that the team obviously still feels it has work to do. Certainly, some would argue that the Twins ought to be considering more than just a single hurler; the possibility of multiple impactful moves certainly still remains as well.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Twins Sign Jeff Ames To Minor League Deal]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=144730 2019-01-16T04:06:18Z 2019-01-16T04:05:10Z
  • The Twins have signed right-hander Jeff Ames to a minor league contract, MLBTR has learned. Ames, 28 at the end of the month, hasn’t cracked the big leagues and had mixed results between Double-A and Triple-A with the Brewers and Nats last season. He’s averaged better than 11 strikeouts per nine innings pitched across the past two seasons but has also averaged more than five walks per nine in that time. Ames has a 4.50 ERA in 64 career innings at the Triple-A level and a 2.66 ERA in 125 frames of Double-A ball. Though he’s been an extreme fly-ball pitcher throughout his minor league career, Ames hasn’t struggled with home runs much outside of the 2018 campaign, when he surrendered six big flies in 38 total innings of relief (1.42 HR/9).
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Angels Acquire John Curtiss, Designate Parker Bridwell]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=144753 2019-01-16T02:47:56Z 2019-01-16T02:19:27Z The Angels announced Tuesday evening that they’ve acquired right-handed reliever John Curtiss from the Twins in exchange for minor league infielder Daniel Ozoria. Minnesota designated Curtiss for assignment yesterday upon signing former Angels righty Blake Parker. In order to open space on the roster for Curtiss, the Halos have designated righty Parker Bridwell for assignment.

    A sixth-round pick by the Twins back in 2014, Curtiss was considered one of the organization’s more promising relief prospects for much of the past few seasons but hasn’t found big league success to date — albeit it in a tiny sample of work. Through 15 MLB frames, Curtiss has a 7.20 ERA but a more promising 17-to-6 K/BB ratio. Curtiss’ velocity dipped a bit in 2018, and he’s also posted an alarmingly low 18.6 percent ground-ball rate in the big leagues, though he’s previously posted considerably higher marks in the minors. He does bring a career 2.49 ERA at the Triple-A level to the table and has a pair of minor league options remaining, making him an intriguing ’pen option for the Angels.

    Bridwell, 27, is only a season removed from 121 innings of 3.64 ERA ball with the 2017 Angels, though his secondary metrics never made that output appear sustainable. Bridwell averaged just 5.4 strikeouts per nine innings pitched that season and stranded nearly 80 percent of the runners allowed — neither of which are conducive to long-term success. This past season, Bridwell pitched just 6 2/3 innings at the Major League level and clobbered for 13 runs on 14 hits — including five home runs. His Triple-A work wasn’t much better, as injuries limited him to 28 innings and he was barely able to keep his ERA south of 9.00 in that time. He’s out of minor league options, so any team that acquires him will need to expose him to waivers once again before being able to send him to the minors. If he clears, he’ll be outrighted to Triple-A and presumably head to camp with the Angels as a non-roster invitee.

    In Ozoria, the Twins will add an 18-year-old with minimal professional experience under his belt. The Dominincan-born infielder has experience at shortstop, second base and third base, but he’s yet to demonstrate any power with the Angels’ Rookie-level affiliates and struggled in particular across two levels in 2018. Ozoria has been playing against considerably older and more experienced competition to this point in his young career, but he’s mustered a meek .222/.293/.263 slash through 468 plate appearances. As one would expect for a player with that type of offensive output, Ozoria wasn’t considered among the Angels’ top prospects.

    In some respects, the series of transactions can effectively be viewed as the Twins trading Curtiss in exchange for Parker and Ozoria, though they’ll have the benefit of controlling Parker at a lower rate than he’d have earned had Minnesota actually traded for him. The $1.8MM guarantee to which Parker agreed checked in south of the $3.1MM he’d been projected to earn in arbitration before being non-tendered by the Angels.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Pitching Market Rumors: Giants, Gray, Rangers, Allen, Scrabble]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=144456 2019-01-15T01:35:23Z 2019-01-14T23:21:25Z The pitching market continues to proceed at a steady but unhurried pace, with today’s reunion between the Giants and Derek Holland marking the latest signing of note. Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle was among those to cover the news from the team’s perspective. While the organization has undergone front office changes since Holland wrapped up a solid performance on a one-year deal in 2018, new president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi still made the call to bring back the southpaw. That was due in no small part to the club’s positive experience with him last year, both on and off the field. Zaidi emphasized that the team still wants to find more rotation depth this winter, though it’s far from clear that any further MLB signings will be pursued. It certainly seems possible that the club will add plausible rotation pieces via trade or on minor-league deals.

    Here’s the latest on the pitching market:

    • Talks surrounding Sonny Gray have “ramped up” since Yankees’ lefty CC Sabathia was cleared to resume baseball activities last week, Fancred’s Jon Heyman tweets. The Yankees are discussing Gray with six teams, including the Reds, per Heyman, though previous reports had indicated that Cincinnati’s interest had cooled off since adding Alex Wood and Tanner Roark. Gray agreed to a $7.5MM salary over the weekend, falling shy of MLBTR’s $9.1MM projection and perhaps making him a bit more appealing to clubs who’ve already added a fair bit of payroll this offseason.
    • The Rangers are maintaining interest in adding some free-agent arms to their bullpen and have been in recent contact with the representatives for right-handers Adam Ottavino and Cody Allen, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (Twitter links). However, the likelier route is that the Rangers will add multiple lower-cost relievers rather than one higher-end piece. Rosenthal adds Adam Warren to the list of potential Texas targets and notes that the Rangers are also still looking to add an infielder. Meanwhile, La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune writes that the Twins still have interest in Allen. Minnesota was connected to Allen earlier this winter and has since signed Blake Parker, though they’re still in the market for additional relief help. Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey knows Allen quite well from his days in the Indians’ front office.
    • Free-agent lefty Marc Rzepczynski is hosting a showcase for big league teams tomorrow, tweets Fancred’s Jon Heyman. The 33-year-old southpaw struggled tremendously in 2018 both at the Majors and in Triple-A, and he’ll look to audition for clubs on what figures to be a minor league deal with a chance to reestablish himself as a credible option. “Scrabble” has worked as a lefty specialist for the bulk of his career, as he hasn’t topped 50 innings since 2011 despite averaging 64 MLB appearances per season from 2012-17. In his career, he’s held lefties to an awful .225/.296/.305 batting line through 857 plate appearances.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Twins Designate John Curtiss For Assignment]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=144534 2019-01-14T21:01:42Z 2019-01-14T21:01:42Z The Twins announced Monday that they’ve designated right-handed reliever John Curtiss for assignment. His spot on the 40-man roster will go to Blake Parker, whose one-year contract is now official.

    A sixth-round pick by the Twins back in 2014, Curtiss was considered one of the organization’s more promising relief prospects for much of the past few seasons but hasn’t found big league success to date — albeit it in a tiny sample of work. Through 15 MLB frames, Curtiss has a 7.20 ERA but a more promising 17-to-6 K/BB ratio. He averaged better than 95 mph on his heater with the Twins during a nine-game MLB debut, but that average dropped off to 93.9 mph in eight games this past season. Curtis has also posted an alarmingly low 18.6 percent ground-ball rate in the big leagues, though he’s previously posted considerably higher marks in the minors.

    It’s quite possible that Curtiss will draw some interest from other organizations — either in trade or via the waiver wire. He has a pair of minor league options remaining and has been quite good in Triple-A to this point in his career, sporting a 2.49 ERA with 10.6 K/9 against 4.6 BB/9 in 79 2/3 innings. Curtiss’ walk rate is a bit problematic and has risen steadily in the upper minors, but as a reasonably hard-throwing reliever with strong strikeout numbers and multiple option years remaining, it’s easy to see another team taking a look.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Twins Sign Blake Parker]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=142957 2019-01-14T22:06:45Z 2019-01-14T20:50:22Z 2:50pm: The Twins have announced the signing.

    Jan. 14, 12:05pm: Fancred’s Jon Heyman tweets that Parker is not actually guaranteed $3.2MM but rather can max out his contract at that level. He’ll be guaranteed $1.8MM and will earn $500K upon spending 130 days on the active roster, another $400K for reaching 140 days and $250K for reaching both 150 and 160 days. Minnesota has yet to formally announce the deal, though Rosenthal suggests that could happen today (Twitter link).

    Jan. 7, 5:13pm: Parker and the Twins have agreed to a deal, per Rosenthal (via Twitter). He’ll receive a $3.2MM guarantee if his physical checks out.

    4:21pm: A deal is indeed close at hand, per Jeff Passan of ESPN.com (via Twitter), who says the sides are closing in on a pact that’ll promise Parker “slightly more than $3MM” on a one-year term.

    1:00pm: Free-agent right-hander Blake Parker is close to finalizing an agreement, reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter). The Twins are “believed to be” his landing spot, Rosenthal adds.

    Blake Parker | Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

    Parker, 33, was somewhat surprisingly non-tendered by the Angels in late November. He’d been projected to earn a fairly modest $3.1MM salary, which seemed more than reasonable for a pitcher who’d notched a 2.90 ERA (3.55 FIP) with 10.5 K/9, 2.4 BB/9, 1.3 HR/9 and 22 saves in 133 2/3 innings with the Halos from 2017-18. Parker did see his velocity drop by a bit more than a mile per hour, averaging 93.5 mph on his heater in 2017 but 92.2 mph in 2018, and his swinging-strike rate also took a downturn (13.8 percent in 2017; 10.7 percent in 2018).

    Those red flags may have turned the Angels away, but Parker nevertheless posted solid numbers last season and would bring an experienced arm with recent success to the Twins’ bullpen mix — perhaps for the next two seasons. Parker only has four years, 36 days of MLB service time, meaning the Twins (or any team) could sign him to a one-year deal and then retain his rights next winter through the arbitration process.

    Presently, the back of the Minnesota ’pen will feature veteran Addison Reed, whose 2018 season was marred by elbow issues, as well as Trevor May and Taylor Rogers — both of whom finished out the season in impressive fashion. May turned in a 36-to-5 K/BB ratio through 25 1/3 innings in his return from Tommy John surgery, while Rogers rode a newly adopted slider to 28 consecutive scoreless outings and a 29-to-3 K/BB ratio (26 innings total). Righty Trevor Hildenberger, too, should get another look despite fading considerably in the second half. Hildenberger turned in a 3.27 ERA with 8.9 K/9, 2.0 BB/9 and a 52.5 percent grounder rate through his first 87 MLB innings from 2017 through this year’s All-Star break but was clobbered for 27 runs in 27 innings in the second half of the 2018 season. Minnesota has several in-house options who could also be in the mix, but there’s certainly room for a veteran addition or two, as well.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Players Avoiding Arbitration: American League]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=143898 2019-01-12T20:28:12Z 2019-01-12T20:19:32Z The deadline for players and teams to exchange arbitration figures passed at 1pm ET yesterday, meaning over the next few hours, there will be a landslide of settlements on one-year deals to avoid an arbitration hearing. We’ll track today’s minor settlements from the American League in this post. Once all of the day’s settlements have filtered in, I’ll organize them by division to make them a bit easier to parse.

    It’s worth mentioning that the vast majority of teams have adopted a “file and trial” approach to arbitration, meaning that once arbitration figures are exchanged with a player, negotiations on a one-year deal will cease. The two parties may still discuss a multi-year deal after that point, but the majority of players who exchange figures with their team today will head to an arbitration hearing.

    As always, all salary projections referenced within this post are courtesy of MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz, and we’ll also be updating our 2019 Arbitration Tracker throughout the day…

    Today’s Updates

    • Yankees 1B Greg Bird will make $1.2 MM next season, per Bob Nightengale on Twitter.
    • The controversial Roberto Osuna will make $6.5MM next season, per Feinsand. Teammate Jake Marisnick, who again scuffled in ’18 after a promising 2017, will make $2.2125MM.
    • Per Mark Feinsand on Twitter, A’s lefty Sean Manaea $3.15MM in what’s sure to be an injury-marred 2019.
    • Hard-throwing reliever Mychal Givens will make $2.15MM, per Eduardo A. Encina of the Tampa Bay Times (via Twitter), with additional incentives for making the All-Star team or placing in the Top-3 for the Rivera/Hoffman Reliever of the Year Awards, added MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand (via Twitter).
    • The Mariners agreed on a $1.95MM deal with outfielder Domingo Santana, per MLB.com’s Greg Johns (via Twitter). Santana is the second and last of the Mariners’ arbitration-eligible players.
    • The Angels agreed to contracts with a pair of players yesterday, per Maria Torres of the LA Times (via Twitter). Reliever Hansel Robles signed for $1.4MM. Robles threw 36 1/3 innings of 2.97 ERA baseball after the Angels claimed him off waivers from the Mets in June. Luis Garcia, acquired via trade from the Phillies this winter, signed for $1.675MM.
    • The Tigers and reliever Shane Greene settled on $4MM, per USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (via Twitter).
    • The Yankees reached an agreement with Sonny Gray for $7.5MM, per Nightengale. Gray, of course, has been involved trade rumors most of the winter, but for the time being, he stands to play a role in the Yankee pen while providing insurance for the rotation.
    • Didi Gregorius has also come to an agreement with the Yankees on a one-year, $11.75MM deal in his final season before free agency, per USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (Twitter links).
    • New Yankee James Paxton signed for $8.575, per Nightengale (via Twitter). Paxton is under contract for the 2020 season as well.
    • The Houston Astros came to an agreement with Collin McHugh for $5.8MM, per Nightengale (via Twitter). McHugh could be moving back into the rotation after a stellar season in the pen, either way this will be his final season of arb eligibility before hitting the open market.
    • Jonathan Villar comes away with $4.825MM for what will be his first full season in Baltimore, per Nightengale (via Twitter).

    Earlier Updates

    Read more

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Pirates Claim Aaron Slegers, Designate Dario Agrazal For Assignment]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=144114 2019-01-11T19:57:17Z 2019-01-11T19:52:16Z The Pirates announced Friday that they’ve claimed right-hander Aaron Slegers off waivers from the Twins and designated right-hander Dario Agrazal for assignment. Slegers himself was recently designated for assignment by Minnesota to clear 40-man roster space for newly signed Nelson Cruz.

    Slegers, a towering righty, stands at 6’10” and has pitched 29 innings for the Twins across the past two seasons but struggled to a 5.90 ERA in that time. Although Slegers hasn’t had much experience at the MLB level, he’s had quite a bit of success in Triple-A, where he’s pitched to a 3.54 ERA in 233 2/3 innings with 6.8 K/9, 1.8 BB/9 and average or better ground-ball tendencies. The Pirates surely found it appealing that the 26-year-old Slegers has a pair of minor league options remaining as well, which should give them some additional roster depth and flexibility in 2019, should he stick with the organization.

    Agrazal, 24, has had some success in the minors himself, but having split the 2018 season between Class-A Advanced and Double-A, he’s further from the Majors than Slegers. This past season, the Panamian-born Agrazal pitched to a combined 3.65 ERA at those two levels, averaging an outstanding 1.2 walks per nine innings pitched but also a sub-optimal 5.4 strikeouts per nine. Agrazal has pounded the strike zone throughout his minor league career (1.3 BB/9) and possesses a low-90s heater that generates enough sink to produce consistently strong ground-ball rates. He’s never been one to miss many bats, however, which likely limits his appeal to the Bucs (and perhaps to other clubs throughout the league). The Pirates will have a week to trade Agrazal or run him through outright waivers. If he clears waivers, he can remain in the organization and be sent to the minors without a 40-man roster spot.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Twins Sign Tomas Telis, Dario Alvarez To Minor League Deals]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=143949 2019-01-11T15:32:05Z 2019-01-11T15:32:05Z
  • Catcher Tomas Telis and left-handed reliever Dario Alvarez have joined the Twins on minor league contracts, writes La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Telis, 27, has spent the past three and a half seasons in the Marlins organization but struggled to produce in limited stints at the big league level. He’s a career .230/.267/.298 hitter in 267 Major League plate appearances but owns a strong .304/.349/.413 slash in nearly 1500 Triple-A plate appearances. Alvarez, 30 next week, has a 5.06 ERA in 48 MLB innings but has also racked up 61 strikeouts in that time. He’s been far too homer-prone (1.9 HR/9) and, at times, has struggled with control, but Alvarez has averaged 11+ strikeouts per nine innings in both the Majors and over a nine-year minor league career.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Latest On Jason Castro]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=142598 2019-01-05T00:33:40Z 2019-01-05T00:33:40Z
  • Twins catcher Jason Castro is on track for the start of Spring Training, The Athletic’s Dan Hayes (subscription required) writes in an update on the veteran backstop.  2018 was a lost season for Castro, who appeared in just 19 games before undergoing what ended up as a season-ending knee surgery in May, as Castro’s meniscus had to be fully repaired.  The rehab process has proceeded as planned, according to Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey, and Castro should be in line for a normal spring.  Castro is entering the final season of a three-year, $24.5MM contract with Minnesota.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Twins Designate Aaron Slegers For Assignment]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=142360 2019-01-03T19:15:39Z 2019-01-03T19:15:39Z The Twins announced Thursday that they’ve designated right-hander Aaron Slegers for assignment in order to open a spot on the roster for newly signed designated hitter Nelson Cruz.

    Slegers, a towering righty, stands at 6’10” and has pitched 29 innings for the Twins across the past two seasons but struggled to a 5.90 ERA in that time. Although Slegers hasn’t had much experience at the MLB level, he’s had quite a bit of success in Triple-A, where he’s pitched to a 3.54 ERA in 233 2/3 innings with 6.8 K/9, 1.8 BB/9 and average or better ground-ball tendencies. As a starting pitcher who has had some success in the upper minors and has a pair of minor league options remaining, Slegers could hold some appeal to clubs in need of some depth and options at the back of the rotation. If he clears waivers, he’ll presumably head the Twins’ top affiliate on an outright assignment.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Cruz Reportedly Had Two-Year Offers At Lower Annual Value]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=142283 2019-01-03T17:49:55Z 2019-01-03T17:49:55Z
  • The Twins obviously plan to use Nelson Cruz primarily as a designated hitter, but manager Rocco Baldelli at least raised the possibility that Cruz could see occasional outfield work in 2019, as Phil Miller of the Minneapolis Star Tribune writes. “We’re going to work with him and have a lot of conversations about how he is doing,” said Baldelli. “How he feels. How he prepares for the season to play in the outfield.” Presumably, Cruz would be more of an emergency option or perhaps an option in National League parks during interleague play. Minnesota, after all, isn’t short on young, athletic outfield options with Eddie Rosario and Max Kepler currently in line for the bulk of the corner outfield work, plus Byron Buxton and Jake Cave in the center field mix. Miller also quotes Cruz on his decision to sign in Minnesota, which was influenced in part by his familiarity with GM Thad Levine and former Orioles teammate/new Twins second baseman Jonathan Schoop. Meanwhile, Rosenthal adds that Cruz did receive two-year offers in free agency, but none that would’ve come close to the $26MM he can earn if the Twins exercise his 2020 option. The Rays and Astros were among the other teams prominently linked to Cruz in free agency.
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