The Twins announced this morning that they’ve designated veteran right-hander Matt Shoemaker for assignment and selected the contract of righty Derek Law from Triple-A St. Paul in a corresponding move.
Shoemaker, 34, tossed a quality start in his Twins debut earlier this year, but it’s been all downhill from there for the most part. The former Angels and Blue Jays righty has been shelled for 53 earned runs in his past 54 1/3 innings and is sitting on an overall 8.06 ERA and 5.38 SIERA with just a 14.1 percent strikeout rate against a 9.5 percent walk rate. The Twins may have had some hope after a move to the bullpen produced moderately better results, but Shoemaker served up eight runs in 2 2/3 frames of mop-up work in last night’s loss.
Signed to a one-year, $2MM deal late in the offseason, Shoemaker was viewed as the likely fifth starter to open the season and a necessary depth addition in a season where workloads were expected to be monitored leaguewide. But his struggles, paired with those of fellow veteran J.A. Happ and fellow back-of-the-rotation option Randy Dobnak, have helped to dig the Twins into a sizable hole. Many of the organization’s top pitching prospects have been hit by injuries in 2021 as well, which pushed the team to continue trying to coax something out of Shoemaker rather than make a move earlier in the year.
The Twins will have a week to trade Shoemaker, pass him through outright waivers or release him. Given his struggles, it’s not reasonable to expect another club having interest in a trade or waiver claim. In all likelihood, today’s DFA will lead to a release. However, given his track record prior to the 2020 season, it’s possible another organization will take a no-risk look at the veteran righty on a minor league deal in hopes that a change of scenery can right the ship. Shoemaker has had myriad injury issues in his career, but he had a nice run with the Halos earlier in his career and, prior to signing in Minnesota, had pitched to a 4.12 ERA in his most recent 166 MLB frames.
As for the 30-year-old Law, he’ll return for a second Twins stint in 2021 in hopes of better results than he produced in his first go-around. Law appeared in five games for the Twins already, yielding six runs on 11 hits and six walks with nine strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings. He’s been a bit better in Triple-A, where he has a 4.61 ERA and 12-to-4 K/BB ratio in 13 2/3 innings. It could be another quick stint for Law, as the Twins called him up in part to get a fresh arm in the ’pen, but he’ll at least have another opportunity to show he can stick on the roster.
Law posted a 2.55 ERA in 55 innings as a rookie with the Giants back in 2016 but has never replicated that success. In 117 2/3 frames since that time, he’s been tagged for a 5.43 ERA with a passable 22.2 percent strikeout rate but an untenable 12.3 percent walk rate.