Minnesota Twins Rumors

Minnesota Twins trade and free agent rumors from MLBTradeRumors.com.

Twins Sign Second-Rounder Nick Burdi

JUNE 24: The deal is official, tweets Twins’ director of communications Dustin Morse. Burdi will head to Class-A Cedar Rapids. He will indeed receive a full-slot bonus of $1,218,800, reports John Manuel of Baseball America (via Twitter).

JUNE 17: The Twins and second-rounder Nick Burdi are closing in on a deal, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (Twitter links). Burdi, a right-hander who spent this past season as Louisville’s closer, will receive close to the full slot value of $1,218,800, according to Heyman. He adds that Burdi is scheduled to take his physical for the Twins within the week.

Burdi was thought by most to be the top college reliever in this year’s draft class. He ranked 34th on MLB.com’s Top 200 draft prospects list, 36th on Baseball America’s Top 500 and 56th on the Top 100 of ESPN’s Keith Law. Burdi’s blistering fastball has reached otherworldly heights, touching 103 mph and sitting comfortably in the 96-100 mph range. BA’s scouting report adds that he throws a power slider that can run as high as 92-93 mph but sits more in the 87-90 mph range with good depth. Law noted his ability to miss bats and generate ground-balls, adding that he has a good chance to be a big league reliever and perhaps even a closer.

This is actually the second time the Twins have drafted Burdi, as they took him in the 24th round out of high school back in the 2011 draft. He was the first of many high-profile college relievers selected by the Twins. Many reports on the Twins’ draft noted that they landed the two hardest-throwing relievers in this year’s class in Burdi and third-round selection Michael Cederoth. The Twins have already signed Cederoth as well as first-rounder Nick Gordon, so bringing Burdi into the fold would secure their top three picks. Fans that are interested in learning more about Burdi can check out the conversation he had with MLBTR’s own Zach Links for our Draft Prospect Q&A series.

AL Central Notes: Twins, Outman, Rodon

A new or upgraded stadium just represents a new revenue stream for a franchise, not a surefire promise of a winning team, Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune writes.  Sullivan focuses his piece on the Cubs‘ planned renovations to Wrigley Field, though he uses the Twins and Target Field as an example of a team whose move into a new ballpark was undermined by moves that currently look like expensive mistakes (i.e. the Ricky Nolasco contract, Joe Mauer‘s extension).

Here’s some more from around the AL Central…

  • Jim Souhan of the Star-Tribune presents a different view of the Twins‘ future, listing four reasons why he feels the team is turning the corner back to respectability.
  • The Indians are trying to make a minor trade to send southpaw Josh Outman elsewhere, Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.  The Tribe designated Outman for assignment on Wednesday.  Outman’s strong numbers against left-handed batters should generate some interest, though as MLBTR’s Jeff Todd noted, Outman’s peripherals suggest his performance this season isn’t as solid as his 3.28 ERA would suggest.
  • Carlos Rodon was seen as perhaps the most Major League-ready pitcher of any 2014 draft pick, which is why White Sox assistant GM Buddy Bell feels Rodon would best be served by signing soon.  “You want to get started sooner than later….But I just think the sooner you sign and with his ability and how I see him, this kid is going to be in the big leagues soon,” Bell told reporters, including CSN Chicago’s Dan Hayes.  “It just seems to me if money is the issue, he’s going to make a helluva lot more getting it started than not.”  The Sox have until July 18 to sign Rodon, who is rumored to be looking for a bonus above the $5.72MM slot value for the No. 3 overall pick.

Cafardo’s Latest: Morales, D’Backs, Kemp

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe has lots of hot stove information to share in his latest Sunday Notes column

  • Kendrys Morales has already become a positive clubhouse figure in his short time with the Twins and Cafardo wouldn’t be surprised to see Minnesota try to extend the slugger.  It’s also possible the Twins could deal Morales before the deadline and then re-sign him as a free agent this winter.
  • The Diamondbacks seem willing to listen about trade offers for any player except Paul Goldschmidt, Cafardo notes.  Martin Prado could be an attractive trade chip, though possible trade candidates like Bronson Arroyo and Mark Trumbo might not have enough time before the deadline to show that they’re healthy.  “We’re meeting on it.  Figures we are sellers, not buyers,” D’Backs chief baseball officer Tony La Russa said.
  • The Red Sox “spent significant time watching Matt Kemp last week,” though Dodgers GM Ned Colletti told Cafardo that Kemp isn’t being traded.  Kemp’s recent hot streak has “reinforced” his value to Colletti given the dearth of right-handed power options around the game.
  • The Nationals could make Danny Espinosa available to second base-needy teams like the Giants or Blue Jays once Bryce Harper returns from the DL.  With Harper back in the outfield, Washington would use Ryan Zimmerman at third and Anthony Rendon at second, leaving Espinosa without a regular job.  Given Zimmerman’s shoulder problems and questionable future as a third baseman, however, I’d tend to think that the Nats would keep Espinosa as a valuable depth piece.
  • Phillies outfielders Marlon Byrd and Ben Revere appear to be available, as Cafardo adds them to the long list of notable Philadelphia players who could be trade targets before the deadline.
  • Red Sox catching prospect Christian Vazquez would be the top ask for any team looking to make a major trade with Boston.  “That would be across the board, even for a major hitter. He’s major league-ready right now offensively and defensively,” a scout tells Cafardo.  “We also think he’ll hit for some power in the majors. Because they have Blake Swihart, who a lot of teams will ask for as well, they probably would reluctantly give up Vazquez.”  This same scout, however, says that between the two young catchers, he would keep Swihart.
  • While Nate Schierholtz has only hit .207/.261/.313 in 249 PA this season, the Cubs will likely still trade the outfielder.  Schierholtz is only signed through the end of the season and he is owed approximately $2.78MM in remaining salary.
  • The Padres “would like to conduct a fire sale” and Chris Denorfia, Chase Headley, Carlos Quentin and Seth Smith could all be available.  Cafardo notes that Smith would be a good fit in the Red Sox outfield.
  • Several teams are interested in Grady Sizemore, who one scout feels will perform better now that he has had time to get re-accustomed to playing.  “Whoever gets him next will probably get a better player than what Boston had. He needed more time, and with that problem offensively up there they [the Red Sox] couldn’t wait,” the scout said.
  • The Blue Jays, Cubs, Marlins, Phillies and Rangers have been the teams who have been most aggressively scouting the major and minor league rosters of other clubs, Cafardo reports.

Sizemore Drawing Interest From Phillies, Others

SATURDAY: Phillies assistant GM Scott Proefrock says he isn’t aware of any contact between the Phillies and Sizemore, Marc Narducci of the Inquirer writes. Proefrock notes that the Phillies were interested in Sizemore in the offseason, but says, “There is not any [contact] that I am aware of, but Ruben [Amaro] may be doing something, but I am not aware of anything.”

FRIDAY: Grady Sizemore officially cleared release waivers earlier this afternoon and became a free agent, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweeted. Now that he’s on the open market, multiple clubs are interested, making it unlikely that he would sign a minor league deal and head to Boston’s Triple-A affiliate, tweets Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports adds (also via Twitter) that the Phillies, among other teams, have reached out. Meanwhile Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN tells one of his followers that the Twins haven’t reached out to their former AL Central rival.

Sizemore’s return to the Majors was quite the story early this season. Not only did he improbably make the Red Sox’ Opening Day roster after signing a one-year, $750K contract — he clubbed a solo homer in the opener and batted .343/.395/.571 with a pair of big flies in his first 10 games. However, from that point forth, Sizemore batted just .187/.263/.267 in 167 trips to the plate. That performance led to his release, despite a glaring need for outfield help in Boston.

For the Phillies, Sizemore would be a reasonable outfield gamble despite his struggles. Philadelphia outfielders have batted a combined .245/.298/.374 this season. Combined with their poor defensive play, they’ve come in below replacement level as a group, per Fangraphs.

Draft Signings: Hentges, Padlo, Loehr, Kelliher, Montgomery

Here are Tuesday’s notable mid- to late-round draft signings, with all slot information coming courtesy of Baseball America

  • The Indians have signed fourth-round pick Sam Hentges to a $700K deal, reports MLB.com’s Jim Callis (via Twitter). That is nearly $300K higher than the 128th selection’s $400.2K slot allocation; he’ll also get a $160K scholarship. As noted below, Cleveland had already spent much of its existing padding on third-rounder Bobby Bradley. The high school lefty out of Minnesota was rated the 213th available player by Baseball America.
  • Rockies fifth-rounder Kevin Padlo has signed for $650K, tweets Callis. Padlo was taken with the 143rd overall choice, which came with a $346.3K allocation. The high school third baseman, who was rated the 129th-best player available by Callis and fellow MLB.com writer Jonathan Mayo, was said to be a late mover up draft boards.
  • The Athletics have gone above-slot for two choices, sixth-rounder Trace Loehr and eighth-rounder Branden Kelliher, reports Callis (Twitter link). Loehr will get a $600K bonus (against a $215.9K slot allocation), while Kelliher will get $450K ($215.9K slot). Those overages will take a decent chunk out of the savings that Oakland secured by agreeing with five other top-ten-round choices last Thursday.
  • Yankees fourth-round choice Jordan Montgomery has signed for the slot value of $424K, tweets Callis. Montgomery, a junior lefty for the University of South Carolina, was the 120th-best player in the draft, according to Baseball America.

Earlier Updates

  • The Indians have inked third-round selection Bobby Bradley, a high school first baseman, the club announced today. Bradley lands an above-slot $912.5K bonus, reports Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer (via Twitter). Bradley was taken with the 97th overall selection, which comes with a $539.6K slot allocation. Running the math on MLB.com’s draft bonus tracker, Cleveland had a cumulative under-slot tally of $501.3K prior to inking Bradley. The team has yet to sign two other high school draftees from its first ten rounds: Simeon Lucas (seventh round) and Micah Miniard (eighth). MLB.com’s Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo, who rated Bradley the 68th-best available player, said that Bradley offers an unusually advanced left-handed bat with good power. He had been committed to LSU.
  • Jim Callis of MLB.com reports (via Twitter) that the Rays have agreed to terms with fourth-rounder Blake Bivens on an over-slot, $465K bonus. Bivens, a high school right-hander out of Virginia, was slotted to receive $404K. Callis notes that he has a chance for a plus fastball and curveball. BA ranked Bivens 124th among draft prospects.
  • Marlins fourth-round pick Brian Schales agreed to the full slot value of $490K for the 107th overall selection, reports Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish (on Twitter). A shortstop out of Edison High School in California, Schales didn’t rank on Keith Law’s Top 100, MLB.com’s Top 200 or BA’s Top 500 prior to the draft.
  • Cotillo tweets that the Marlins also agreed with their fifth-round selection, Casey Soltis, on an over-slot $450K bonus (slot was $366,900). Soltis was a consensus top draft prospect among major media outlets, placing 97th on Law’s list, 100th on BA’s and 113th on MLB.com’s. Law feels he can stick in center due to his athleticism, while the other two think he may be ticketed for right field. There are questions about his power as well, but his speed draws praise.
  • The Twins and fifth-rounder Jake Reed agreed to a $350K bonus that saves Minnesota about $6,400, Cotillo tweets. After starting for his first two seasons with Oregon, Reed was moved to the bullpen and settled in as the Ducks’ closer. With a sinking fastball touching 97 mph and a hard slider, he ranked 123rd on MLB.com’s list and 155th on BA’s. He is one of many power relievers selected by Minnesota.
  • The Indians went nearly $200K over slot on eighth-round pick Micah Miniard, Cotillo reports. BA, who ranked Miniard 393rd among prospects, noted that the Kentucky high school right-hander’s velocity touched 94 mph last fall but dipped into the mid-80s this season.

Twins Release Jason Kubel

TODAY: Kubel has officially been released by the Twins, reports MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger (via Twitter).

YESTERDAY, 12:59pm: The Twins haven’t yet released Kubel and have until the end of the official business day Tuesday to decide on him, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets.

7:17am: The Twins have released outfielder/DH Jason Kubel, according to the MLB.com transactions page.  Kubel was designated for assignment last week and his release seemed inevitable after (as MLBTR’s Zach Links reported) Kubel refused his outright assignment to Triple-A.  The 32-year-old Kubel is represented by Joel Wolfe of the Wasserman Media Group.

It wasn’t a great return to Minnesota for Kubel, who only hit .224/.313/.295 with one homer in 176 PA this season.  After spending 2012-13 with the Diamondbacks and Indians, Kubel rejoined his original club on a minor league contract that ended up guaranteeing him $2MM when he made the roster out of Spring Training, plus he earned another $300K worth of incentives.

Central Notes: Verlander, Tigers, Cubs, Morris, Pinto, Marmol

Justin Verlander‘s recent struggles are “a giant concern” for the Tigers, writes James Schmel of MLive.com, because Verlander himself admits that he isn’t sure how to fix them. Verlander told reporters that he doesn’t feel he’s at the point in his career where he needs to reinvent himself on the mound, though he acknowledged that he doesn’t have the same velocity he used to have and said he didn’t blame the fans for booing him last night as he left the game. Verlander yielded seven runs on 12 hits last night and has posted a 7.83 ERA with a woeful 26-to-20 K/BB ratio over his last 43 2/3 innings (seven starts). He is averaging a career-worst (though still solid) 92.6 mph on his fastball.

Here’s more on the Tigers and the baseball’s Central divisions…

  • Jon Morosi of FOX Sports hears that the Tigers aren’t planning on making a move to upgrade at shortstop, as they like what they’ve seen from rookie Eugenio Suarez since his promotion to the Majors (Twitter link). It’s tough not to like what they’ve seen from the 22-year-old Suarez, who is hitting .346/.452/.808 with three homers through his first 10 games. Clearly, he’s due for some regression, but the optimism is understandable.
  • An AL scout tells David Kaplan of CSN Chicago that he’s spoken to the Cubs about both Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, but he hasn’t gotten any indication from Chicago that any of their other starters are available (Twitter link). That contrasts recent reports that the team would be willing to listen to offers on Edwin Jackson and Jake Arrieta. Given Jackson’s remaining salary, it seems hard to believe that Chicago wouldn’t be open to moving him.
  • The Pirates weren’t looking to trade right-hander Bryan Morris before trading him to the Marlins, GM Neal Huntington tells Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. However, Miami expressed interest in the deal after being attracted to an increase in Morris’ velocity and the addition of a two-seam/sinking fastball to his repertoire, and the two sides were able to strike a deal. Pittsburgh received Miami’s Competitive Balance Round A pick (No. 39 overall), used to draft (and sign) Connor Joe, while Miami has been rewarded to this point with 9 1/3 innings of scoreless relief from Morris, who has shown greatly improved command.
  • Twins closer Glen Perkins offered some candid comments regarding catcher Josmil Pinto on 1500 ESPN Radio with Phil Mackey and Judd Zulgad (via Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press). While he was highly complimentary of Pinto’s offensive skills, the left-hander was blunt in his description of Pinto’s defense: “He’s a long, long ways away, to be honest with you. …his pitch framing, he’s got some work to do.” Perkins flatly he said Pinto is “surely not at the big-league level as far as catching for me.” Perkins went on to preach the importance of framing and praise veterans Jonathan Lucroy and Jose Molina for their prowess at the skill. Minnesota recently sent Pinto to the minors to get more consistent at-bats and consistent time behind the plate. He’s spent much of the season DHing while Kurt Suzuki, whose offensive contributions have been somewhat surprising, has done the bulk of the catching.
  • After leaving the Reds organization to take a “mental break,” the representative of reliever Carlos Marmol says that the righty may not look to return this season, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Agent Paul Kinzer told Heyman that Marmol decided to return to the Dominican Republic to deal with unspecified personal issues, and has had no physical problems.

Jeff Todd contributed to this post.

Draft Signings: Cederoth, Gonzalez, Abbott

Here are today’s notable mid- to late-round draft signings from around the league, with all slot info coming courtesy of Baseball America

  • The Twins have reached agreement with third-rounder Michael Cederoth on an at-slot, $703.9K bonus, reports John Manuel of Baseball America (via Twitter). Though he profiles as a bullpen arm, Cederoth landed at 45th on BA’s list of the top 500 prospects and 59th on the rankings of MLB.com. Minnesota will surely hope to install him in its major league pen sooner rather than later.
  • Orioles third-round pick Brian Gonzalez, whose signing was announced yesterday, will get a $700K bonus, tweets Jim Callis of MLB.com. That is $105.8K higher than the allocation for the 90th overall choice.
  • The Angels have gone above slot to sign their x-round choice, Alex Abbott, tweets Manuel. He gets a $375K bonus, a decent bump over the 179th slot’s $244.7K assigned value.

Earlier Updates

  • The Twins and fourth-rounder Sam Clay have agreed to a $400K bonus that will save Minnesota about $76K, reports Jim Callis of MLB.com (on Twitter). Clay, a Georgia Tech left-hander, has run his fastball up to 95 mph at times and shows a hard slider when at his best, Callis adds.
  • Callis reports (Twitter links) that the Mets have signed third-rounder Eudor Garcia for $305K — a savings of nearly $150K considering his slot value of $453,600. BA ranked the JuCo third baseman 160th on its Top 500. Overall, Callis notes, the team saved $517K on rounds 3-10, which allowed them to sign 13th-rounder Erik Manoah for $300K.
  • Callis also tweets that the Rockies and third-rounder Sam Howard have agreed to the full slot value of $672,100. The left-hander out of Georgia Southern has a three-pitch mix and was ranked 122nd by BA and 158th by MLB.com
  • Fourth-round pick Jeff Brigham has agreed to terms with the Dodgers, reports Callis (via Twitter). The Washington right-hander, whose sinking fastball has touched 96 mph, receives the full slot value of $396,300. BA ranked him 198th on their Top 500.
  • The Cardinals have agreed to sign fourth-rounder Austin Gomber for the full slot value of $374,100, reports BA’s John Manuel (on Twitter). Gomber, a lefty out of Florida Atlantic University, ranked 82nd on BA’s Top 500 list and 100th on MLB.com’s Top 200 prior to the draft.
  • Also note that Baseball America’s comprehensive Draft Database allows you to track the progress of your team’s signings and includes info on lower picks and smaller bonuses that aren’t noted here at MLBTR (players listed in bold font on the BA database have signed, and filters to search by round/team or exclude unsigned players are available on the right-hand sidebar).

Minor Moves: Clark, Hoffman, Sanchez, Fox, Yankees

Here are today’s minor moves from around the league…

  • Orioles right-hander Zach Clark has been released, tweets Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com. Clark, a knuckleballer by trade, tweeted a thank you to the organization today. The 30-year-old made a brief cameo with Baltimore last season — his only Major League experience to date. The University of Maryland alum has spent eight years in Baltimore’s system after signing as an undrafted free agent. He owns a career 4.21 ERA with 5.5 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 in 869 1/3 innings in the minors.
  • Twins Triple-A lefty Matt Hoffman has opted out of his deal with the club, the team announced via press release (hat tip: Phil Miller of the Star Tribune, who tweeted the news of the release, and the Pioneer Press’ Brandon Warne, who noted the Triple-A press release indicated it was an opt-out). The 25-year-old Hoffman pitched well at Triple-A, posting a 3.80 ERA with 8.0 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 in 21 1/3 innings of work.
  • Infielder Angel Sanchez has inked a minor league deal with the Dodgers and will report to Double-A Chattanooga, according to Ken Davidoff of the New York Post (Twitter link). Sanchez, 30, has a career .254/.303/.307 batting line between the Astros, Royals, Red Sox and White Sox. He has experience at shortstop, second base and third base.
  • The Phillies have acquired catcher/outfielder/corner infielder Jake Fox from the Mexican League, according to the team’s transactions page. The 31-year-old Fox had been destroying pitching in Mexico, slashing .307/.397/.605 with 16 home runs in 247 plate appearances. Fox hasn’t appeared in the Majors since 2011 with Baltimore, but he’s a career .237/.288/.425 hitter with 20 homers in 534 PAs.
  • The Yankees inked three undrafted college players following the 2014 draft, Baseball America’s Josh Norris tweeted earlier in the week: Liberty University right-hander Matt Marsh, USC catcher Jake Hernandez and Wright State right-hander Travis Hissong. The YES Network’s Lou DiPietro has more on each of the three players.

Jason Kubel Clears Waivers, To Refuse Outright Assignment

2:16pm: Kubel will refuse the outright assignment, according to an update from Zach (Twitter link). Minnesota is likely to release him, leaving the club on the hook for the rest of his $2MM salary.

Kubel also earned $300K in roster bonuses under the minor league deal he signed over the offseason.

FRIDAY, 1:23pm: MLBTR’s Zach Links reports that Kubel has cleared waivers (Twitter link). Reports earlier in the week indicated that Kubel would not accept an assignment to Triple-A Rochester in the event that he cleared waivers, so it seems likely that he will instead elect free agency.

SUNDAY: The Twins have designated Jason Kubel for assignment, according to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN (via Twitter).  The move will help create room on the 40-man roster for the newly-acquired Kendrys Morales.

Kubel, 32, signed a minor league deal with Minnesota in December and made the big league club out of Spring Training.  Unfortunately, Kubel hasn’t been able to regain the form he displayed for much of his original stint with the Twins.  In 176 plate appearances this season, Kubel has slashed .224/.313/.295 with one homer.

For his career, Kubel owns a .262/.330/.448 slash line across ten seasons for the Twins, D’Backs, and Indians.  Kubel is represented by Joel Wolfe of Wasserman Media Group, as shown in the MLBTR Agency Database.