Twins vice president and assistant general manager Rob Antony appeared on Darren Wolfson’s 1500 ESPN Podcast earlier this week (audio link, with Antony talking Twins aroung the 35:00 mark) and covered a number of topics. Antony talks about the current lack of bench options and an unfortunate early injury to Byung Ho Park, Phil Hughes’ early lack of velocity, Jose Berrios’ timeline back to the Majors and the possibility of once again demoting the struggling Byron Buxton.
Antony adds that “there was never any thought” of eating some of the money on Ervin Santana’s contract to facilitate a trade. “I think he’s on a really good contract, and he’s pitched that way,” says Antony. “You look up his numbers since the midway point of last season or almost the course of almost the last entire year, he’s been one of the best pitchers in the league, and he does it day-in and day-out.” Indeed, Santana has a 2.99 ERA over the past calendar year and a ridiculous 2.06 ERA in his past 22 starts dating back to June 19 of last year.
Here’s more from the AL Central…
- The Royals announced on Friday that they’ve optioned Raul Mondesi and Paulo Orlando to Triple-A Omaha and recalled left-hander Matt Strahm and outfield prospect Jorge Bonifacio from Omaha. Bonifacio, the younger brother of veteran big leaguer Emilio Bonifacio, rates as the organization’s No. 12 prospect at MLB.com, No. 10 over at Fangraphs and No. 9 on the lists from both Baseball America and ESPN’s Keith Law. He’s pegged mostly as a corner outfielder with a nice hit tool but questionable power and limited defensive prowess. The demotion of Mondesi is obviously something to which the Royals were not hoping to resort with their top-regarded minor leaguer, but his .103/.167/.179 batting line through 46 plate appearances may have left them with little choice. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez first reported that Bonifacio was on his way up.
- Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer rates as one of the upcoming offseason’s most interesting free agents, but he isn’t a particularly good player and should consider accepting a qualifying offer if the Royals extend one, FanGraphs’ David Cameron argues. Hosmer has been well below average offensively over the past year, exacerbating mediocre overall hitting with a glaring tendency to ground into double plays, Cameron writes. Overall, Hosmer’s production is comparable to that of Mitch Moreland, who mostly went overlooked on the free-agent market last winter and ultimately signed a $5.5MM deal with the Red Sox. Hosmer is still young and could potentially improve, but there have been few recent indications of that happeneing. It will be interesting to see how teams value him next winter.
- Second baseman Jason Kipnis is back for the Indians, as Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer reported on Twitter. He had been slowed by a shoulder injury, but will now try to pick up where he left off in a solid 2016 season in which he hit a career-high 23 home runs. Yandy Diaz, who had filled in at third, is heading back to Tripe-A to clear room. He struggled to a .236/.295/.255 batting line in his first 61 MLB plate appearances.