The San Diego Padres were busy this week in shaping their 40-man roster ahead of December’s Rule 5 draft. The release of former prospect Cory Spangenberg and Christian Villanueva’s transpacific journey to the Yomiuiri Giants prefaced further roster reshaping via a pair of minor-league swaps. Fangraphs’ Eric Longenhagen reviews the prospects in those deals and others involved in swaps from this past week: Walker Lockett, Ignacio Feliz, Colten Brewer, Esteban Quiroz, Rowan Wick, Jason Vosler, Jordan Foley, Jefry Valdez and Tanner Anderson. While these moves appear minor, many of these players will have the opportunity to make an impact for pennant contenders next fall if they can impress their new gatekeepers in Cleveland, Colorado, New York, Boston and Chicago, respectively. Further Rule 5 news and more from around the league…
- MLB.com picks intriguing candidates that could be selected from each team in December’s Rule 5 draft. Though it requires patience and a roster spot, the Rule 5 draft has been a viable resource in team building, especially for worst to first hopefuls who are closer to the former than the latter. Notably, the Cubs and Astros, two recent exemplars of roster renovation, each took advantage of the process by snatching players (Hector Rondon and Marwin Gonzalez, respectively) who made significant contributions to their title campaigns.
- By the middle of last season, Twins’ chief baseball officer Derek Falvey was already preparing for the possibility that Joe Mauer might retire, per the Athletic’s Dan Hayes (subscription link). The Twins continue to explore every option at first base, including moving struggling slugger Miguel Sano from third to first. One path they are unlikely to traverse is trading for a one-year rental like Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt. The focus of the 2019 season in Minnesota will be as much about monitoring the rebound efforts of Sano and center fielder Byron Buxton as making a push for the playoffs, and with such uncertainty around their two high-ceiling stars, Falvey and company aren’t ready for an all-in move like trading for Arizona’s All-Star first baseman. Still, seeking a multi-year option at first base does not equate to youth, necessarily, as they are open to players like Carlos Santana or recently-DFAed C.J. Cron, each of whom would have two years of team control if acquired.
- Elsewhere around the infield, the Twins are open to engaging Jorge Polanco’s positional flexibility as well. Polanco and Sano are currently penciled in at shortstop and third base, but that could change depending on their offseason acquisitions. For now, they are in the market for an offensive-minded second baseman, in which case Polanco would stay at short. There are more than a few viable short-term options on the free agent market to keep second base warm for prospect Nick Gordon, who was recently added to the 40-man roster. You can check out MLBTR’s full Offseason Outlook for the Twins here.
- In the dugout, Bill Evers rounds out Rocco Baldelli’s staff as the major league catching coach. Evers, 64, is a 30-year coaching veteran with experience as a bench coach, manager, and minor-league field coordinator. He managed Baldelli when he was a player in Triple-A back in 2002, a relationship redolent of Alex Cora’s hiring of Ron Roenicke as his bench coach. Roenicke, too, managed his future helmsman when Cora was a prospect coming up in the Dodgers system.