The Twins have claimed Kennys Vargas off waivers from the Reds, says Dan Hayes of The Athletic. The Reds had claimed the first base/DH type off waivers from the Twins just two days ago, but it’s possible that they designated him in order to make room for infielder Cliff Pennington, who was added to the roster just earlier today, and possibly reliever Kevin Quackenbush.
The intriguing transaction puts Vargas right back with the organization with whom he’d spent his entire career up until Thursday. As MLBTR’s Jeff Todd noted at that time, it was difficult to see how Vargas would make Cincinnati’s roster, since he’s out of options and can only play first base (where Joey Votto will be firmly entrenched on a daily basis). Though he’d have made an interesting pinch-hitting option, it seemed as though the Reds might be able to use the roster spot more efficiently.
Still, it seems as though many around the league believe there to be some upside for the 27-year-old Vargas, who hit .253/.314/.444 last season. He has some reasonable power upside; Vargas homered 10 times and made hard contact at a 41.7% clip in 177 plate appearances during the 2016 campaign. He also owns a walk rate over 15% in his career at the Triple-A level, though the Twins are still waiting for that to translate to the MLB level at which he owns a .311 career OBP.