Eddie Rosario Rumors

Twins Notes: Rosario, Buck, Draft, Defense

Twins prospect Eddie Rosario‘s 50-game suspension will be over at the end of the week, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN. Vice president of player personnel Mike Radcliff tells Wolfson that Rosario will open his season at Class-A Advanced to shake off some rust, despite a solid showing in 70 Double-A games last season. Rosario has been ranked on several Top 100 Prospect lists — including the 2014 editions of Baseball Prospectus (60) and ESPN’s Keith Law (49) — but his stock took a hit when he tested positive for “a drug of abuse” for the second time this offseason. A few more links on the Twins…

  • Mariners catcher John Buck told Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press this weekend that he was “extremely close” to signing in Minnesota this offseason. According to Buck, his agent (Seth Levinson of ACES) told him there was a very good chance they’d finalize a deal, but Kurt Suzuki jumped in at the last minute and landed a spot with the Twins. The way Kurt is swinging, they didn’t choose wrong, I guess,” Buck told Berardino. “He’s doing great.” Suzuki has been a surprisingly strong force this season, slashing .312/.378/.416 with the Twins.
  • La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune spoke with Twins scouting director Deron Johnson about the upcoming draft, who spoke to the tricky nature of this year’s draft without a clear-cut No. 1 overall pick. Neal writes that the Twins are doing the most due diligence on LSU right-hander Aaron Nola and NC State left-hander Carlos Rodon on the college side of things. As far as prep players go, righty Tyler Kolek, left-hander Brady Aiken, shortstop Nick Gordon and catcher/outfielder Alex Jackson are all in play.
  • The 2014 Twins have an alarmingly dangerous mix of low-strikeout pitchers and poor defensive players, writes Mike Petriello in an ESPN Insider piece. Petriello looks at the Twins’ poor outfield defense, in particular, noting what he describes as a “spring decision that backfired terribly.” The Twins elected to keep infielder Jason Bartlett as a utility player/backup outfielder — a decision that resulted in the loss of Alex Presley on waivers. When Bartlett abruptly retired, the Twins were forced to designate outfielder Darin Mastroianni for assignment, and they lost him to Toronto on waivers. In other words, as Petriello writes, by keeping Bartlett, the Twins received zero production and lost two decent outfielders.”

AL Notes: Orioles, Rosario, Blue Jays

The Orioles have collected a large number of candidates to replace Nate McLouth in the left field, CSNBaltimore.com's Rich Dubroff reports. They already had Nolan Reimold, Steve Pearce and Henry Urrutia (who could also DH), and this offseason, they've added David Lough, Francisco Peguero, Julio Borbon, Xavier Paul and Quintin Berry. The Orioles could also add another righty-hitting outfielder or two before spring training starts as they aim to patch together a group of players to play alongside center fielder Adam Jones and right fielder Nick Markakis. Here are more notes from the American League.

  • Major League Baseball has officially announced the suspension of 2B/OF prospect Eddie Rosario for a drug of abuse, and the Twins are disappointed, reports Phil Miller of the Star Tribune. "Losing 50 games, that's a huge setback," says GM Terry Ryan. "That's a lot of development time, a lot of learning that he'll miss. It sets back his progression [toward] going up to the big leagues." MLB.com ranks Rosario the Twins' fifth-best prospect. He hit .302/.350/.460 while collecting 544 plate appearances between Class A+ Fort Myers and Double-A New Britain in 2013.
  • The Blue Jays announced that they have re-assigned bullpen coach Pat Hentgen due to family issues. Bob Stanley, who was the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons' pitching coach in 2013, will serve as the Jays' bullpen coach in Hentgen's absence.

AL Central Links: Santana, Morneau, Twins, Sox

Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star reports that the Royals maintain there is a possibility for them to retain Ervin Santana this offseason. GM Dayton Moore has gone on the record in saying that Santana will get a qualifying offer, notes Dutton, and one club official pointed to the struggles that gave Kyle Lohse on last year's market. Lohse was significantly older than Santana, of course, but a qualifying offer does up the price to sign Santana for everyone other than the Royals. Dutton senses that at this time, the team doesn't want to go beyond three years, but that could change once they gauge the market. Here's more out of the AL Central…

  • MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger tackles a host of Twins-related topics in his latest Twins Inbox, starting off by dismissing the notion that Joe Mauer's concussion and Josmil Pinto's impressive big league debut spell the end of Mauer's days behind the plate. Mauer and GM Terry Ryan both say that Mauer will still catch, and the proposed destination of first base for Mauer may not be vacant. Bollinger reports that Justin Morneau is a candidate to return to the team, but there mixed feelings about whether or not he'd return, as he may prefer to sign with a contender.
  • Bollinger also notes that Brian Dozier's strong season at second base could make top prospect Eddie Rosario a trade chip to land starting pitching, or it could make Dozier himself a trade chip with Rosario nearing the big leagues. He adds that the Twins need to acquire starting pitching this summer, and Ryan will have the funds to do so via free agency and the prospects to do so via trade. Only Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano and Mauer (who has a full no-trade clause) are untouchable in trade talks this offseason, according to Bollinger.
  • The White Sox gave a club-record $1.6MM signing bonus to Dominican outfield prospect Micker Adolfo this July, writes MLB.com's Scott Merkin, and GM Rick Hahn expects more of the same next season as he looks to rebuild the team following a 99-loss campaign. Hahn anticipates being allotted roughly $5MM to spend on international free agents, which should give him plenty of ammunition to be aggressive.