The Twins announced a series of roster moves today, with reporters such as Betsy Helfand of the St. Paul Pioneer Press passing them along. Righty Bailey Ober has been reinstated from the injured list while fellow righty Trevor Megill has had his contract selected. To make room on the active roster, lefty Devin Smeltzer was optioned while righty Josh Winder was placed on the 15-day injured list with a right shoulder impingement. To make room for Megill on the 40-man roster, righty Chris Vallimont has been designated for assignment. Winder’s placement is retroactive to May 18.
With the Ober and Winder moves, the rotation adds one arm and subtracts another. Ober went on the IL at the end of April with a groin strain. Prior to that, his season was off to a nice start, as he had thrown 19 2/3 innings with a 2.75 ERA, 19% strikeout rate and 6% walk rate. Due to injuries to Ober and Dylan Bundy, Winder stepped up and threw 29 1/3 innings for the Twins. In that time, he put up an ERA of 3.68 with an 18.9% strikeout rate and 7.4% walk rate.
With Chris Paddack undergoing Tommy John surgery, the Minnesota rotation now consists of Ober, Bundy, Chris Archer, Joe Ryan and Sonny Gray. No timetable was provided for Winder’s absence, but a shoulder issue is always at least a bit concerning for a pitcher. As long as he’s out, the club will have to think about who the sixth starter will be the next time one is needed. Options on the 40-man roster include Smeltzer, Jordan Balazovic, Ronny Henriquez, Cole Sands and Drew Strotman.
Megill, 28, made his MLB debut with the Cubs last year, throwing 23 2/3 innings out of their bullpen with an 8.37 ERA. That’s an obvious indicator of poor results, but it wasn’t all bad. He struck out 26.1% of batters faced and walked just 7%, both of those numbers being better than league average. However, his 24.1% HR/FB rate was more than double last year’s 10% league average. He was non-tendered and then signed by the Twins on a minors deal. He’s carried that profile over into 2022 so far, though with much better results overall. Through 11 innings in Triple-A, he has a 3.27 ERA. His 34.1% strikeout rate is fantastic, though his HR/FB rate is 33.3%, but that represents just two dingers. He has a couple of option years remaining, meaning he could be shuttled between Triple-A and the majors as long as he can hang onto a spot on the 40-man.
Vallimont, 25, just earned his spot on the roster in November, ahead of the Rule 5 draft that ended up being canceled due to the lockout. However, through 19 innings so far in Double-A this year, he has a 9.95 ERA. His 31.1% strikeout rate at this level last year has dropped all the way down to 17.9%. His walk rate also jumped from 14.6% to 20.5%. Those results were evidently enough for the Twins to risk losing him. They will have a week to trade him or put him on waivers. Given his youth and ability to be optioned, he could attract the interest of clubs that need pitching depth who are willing to dismiss this year’s struggles as a small sample blip.