Minnesota Twins – MLB Trade Rumors 2020-08-12T03:07:57Z https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/feed/atom WordPress Steve Adams <![CDATA[D-backs Trade Ildemaro Vargas To Twins]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=222764 2020-08-11T21:10:02Z 2020-08-11T20:06:23Z The Twins announced that they have acquired switch-hitting utility infielder Ildemaro Vargas from the Diamondbacks for cash. Minnesota will make a 28-man roster move to accommodate Vargas’ activation at a later date. Arizona designated Vargas for assignment late last week.

Vargas, 29, has a strong Triple-A track record at the plate and plenty of versatility, given that he’s a switch-hitter with more than 1000 innings of experience at each of shortstop, second base and third base. Vargas has also seen time at all three outfield spots and first base, though only a few games’ worth of innings at each slot.

However, despite that versatility, Vargas’ production from Triple-A hasn’t really carried over to the Majors. He’s a career .326/.371/.464 hitter at the top minor league level but has mustered just a .257/.287/.357 slash in the Majors. He hasn’t received much of a look at the big league level with the D-backs, however, so perhaps the Twins feel that he can thrive with a bit more playing time. Then again, the Twins already have plenty of infield options themselves, so playing time could continue to be difficult to come by. Vargas is also out of minor league options, so the Twins can’t send him to their alternate training site in St. Paul unless they designate him for assignment themselves and Vargas subsequently goes unclaimed on waivers.

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Steve Adams <![CDATA[Twins Sign Casey Lawrence, Outright Aaron Whitefield]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=222005 2020-08-10T18:21:11Z 2020-08-10T18:21:11Z The Twins have inked right-hander Casey Lawrence to a minor league deal and assigned him to their alternate training site in St. Paul, per The Athletic’s Dan Hayes (Twitter link). Meanwhile, outfielder Aaron Whitefield has cleared waivers and been assigned outright to the minor leagues. Being outrighted to the minors versus the alternate training site is a notable distinction, as it indicates that Whitefield is no longer in the team’s 60-player pool. He won’t be eligible to return to Minnesota’s pool in 2020 (though he could still technically be traded elsewhere). The Twins had 59 players in their pool.

Lawrence, 32, has seen action in a pair of big league seasons without much success. In 78 2/3 innings between the Blue Jays and Mariners, he was knocked around for a 6.64 ERA with a 66-to-35 K/BB ratio (five of the walks were intentional) and a 48.6 percent grounder rate. However, he also has a career 3.73 ERA with 7.0 K/9 against 1.7 BB/9 in parts of five Triple-A seasons.

Lawrence actually signed a minor league deal with Minnesota back in January, although he wasn’t ever included in the team’s player pool and was seemingly cut loose at some point between the conclusion of Spring Training and today’s re-signing. The Twins currently have Zack Littell, Homer Bailey and Rich Hill on the injured list, which prompted the team to select Cory Gearrin’s contract yesterday. Bringing Lawrence into the mix gives them another experienced arm to stash in St. Paul should they need a long reliever at some point.

As for Whitefield, he made just one plate appearance and appeared in three games with the Twins this year. That marked the 23-year-old Aussie’s MLB debut, but he was destined for a limited role from the moment the Twins put him on the Opening Day roster. Whitefield was a late add to Minnesota’s player pool and was carried primarily for pinch-running and late-inning defensive purposes. He’s a career .238/.299/.338 hitter in the minors but has gone 115-for-148 (77.7 percent) in stolen base attempts through just 357 games in the Twins’ system.

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Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Twins Select Cory Gearrin’s Contract]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=221412 2020-08-09T16:50:20Z 2020-08-09T16:13:32Z The Twins have selected the contract of right-hander Cory Gearrin, the club announced.  Right-hander Sean Poppen has been optioned to create room for Gearrin.

Gearrin inked a minor league deal with Minnesota back in February and will now make the prorated portion of a $1MM guaranteed salary for reaching the active roster.  The 34-year-old doesn’t boast the big fastball deployed by most relievers, though Gearrin has been a consistently solid bullpen arm over his eight Major League seasons, with a career 3.64 ERA, 2.19 K/BB rate, and 8.4 K/9 over 302 innings.  He wasn’t too far off those averages over 55 1/3 innings with the Mariners and Yankees in 2019, delivering a combined 4.07 ERA, 1.88 K/BB, and 7.6 K/9.

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Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Twins Activate Jake Odorizzi From Injured List]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=220374 2020-08-08T16:56:22Z 2020-08-08T16:56:18Z TODAY: The move is official, as the Twins announced that Odorizzi is back on the active roster.  He will fill the spot left behind by Josh Donaldson, who was placed on the IL yesterday.

THURSDAY: The Twins have begun the season an American League Central-best 10-3 without the services of one of their top starters, 2019 All-Star Jake Odorizzi. A back strain has kept Odorizzi out of action thus far, but he’s on the cusp of making his season debut. He’ll start against the Royals on Saturday, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune tweets.

The 30-year-old Odorizzi spun 159 innings of 3.51 ERA/3.36 FIP ball with 10.08 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 a season ago, which was enough to convince the Twins to issue him a qualifying offer at the outset of the winter. Odorizzi seemed likely to pass on the offer in favor of a trip to the open market, but he instead accepted the one-year, $17.8MM salary. Now, as Odorizzi goes into another contract year, he’ll try to keep his stock up despite what will go down as an injury-limited campaign.

While the Twins haven’t missed a beat without Odorizzi, his return should make a contending club even stronger. Randy Dobnak and Kenta Maeda have been brilliant out of their rotation, but No. 1 starter Jose Berrios has gotten off to a mediocre start, Rich Hill and Homer Bailey are on the IL alongside Odorizzi, and Michael Pineda’s serving a PED suspension.

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Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Twins Place Josh Donaldson On IL]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=220923 2020-08-08T00:19:08Z 2020-08-07T23:55:37Z The Twins have placed third baseman Josh Donaldson on the injured list with a strained right calf, Dan Hayes of The Athletic was among those to report. The move’s retroactive to Aug. 4, though it’s unclear how long Donaldson will take to recover.

Minnesota has gone all week without Donaldson, who suffered the injury July 31. It’s especially concerning when you consider that calf issues played a role in Donaldson’s limited 2018 between the Blue Jays and Indians. The former MVP returned to health and form a year ago as a Brave, though, and that was enough to convince a Twins club that hopes to push for a World Series title to sign him to a four-year, $92MM contract in free agency over the winter. The 34-year-old has since accumulated 27 plate appearances as a Twin and batted .182/.296/.318, though the team has still gotten off to a spectacular 10-3 start.

With Donaldson unavailable over the past several days, the Twins have turned to Marwin Gonzalez and Ehire Adrianza at the hot corner. Gonzalez has enjoyed a nice start, but Adrianza has begun poorly.

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Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Twins Place Rich Hill On Injured List]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=219257 2020-08-04T05:01:34Z 2020-08-04T03:56:24Z The Twins have placed left-hander Rich Hill on the injured list because of shoulder fatigue, Dan Hayes of The Athletic was among those to report. Hill’s IL placement will be backdated, per manager Rocco Baldelli. The club has also added righty Juan Minaya to its 60-man player pool, Do-Hyoung Park of MLB.com tweets.

Consistent IL placements have been an unfortunate part of the package with Hill, a well-traveled 40-year-old who, on a per-inning basis, has surprisingly been one of the game’s most effective pitchers since he revived his career in 2015. Hill’s most recent success, primarily with the Dodgers, prompted the Twins to hand him a $3MM guarantee last offseason. It looked good through one start this year, as Hill tossed five scoreless, two-hit innings in a win over the Cardinals last Wednesday. However, Hill was scratched from his scheduled start against Pittsburgh on Tuesday.

Reigning AL Central Minnesota ia off to a tremendous 8-2 start this season, but it hasn’t come without a few key problems in its rotation. Before Hill went on the IL, fellow free-agent pickup Homer Bailey and 2019 All-Star Jake Odorizzi landed on the shelf with injuries. Jose Berrios, Kenta Maeda, Randy Dobnak and Monday starter Lewis Thorpe are still around, but it’s unclear who will fill the last spot if the Twins need someone to step up.

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Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Twins Select Caleb Thielbar]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=219184 2020-08-03T22:45:51Z 2020-08-03T22:45:51Z The Twins have selected the contract of lefty Caleb Thielbar, per a club announcement. To create active roster space, the team optioned outfielder LaMonte Wade Jr.

Thielbar, 33, is making a triumphant return to the majors after four seasons away. He worked to a 2.74 ERA over 98 2/3 innings with the Twins from 2013-15, but teams obviously didn’t buy into his ability to sustain anything approaching that level of output.

In the interim, Thielbar has kept turning in good results, first in the indy ball ranks and then in the upper minors. Last season, he worked to a 3.22 ERA in 78 1/3 Triple-A innings with 94 strikeouts and 16 walks.

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Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Josh Donaldson Exits With Right Calf Tightness]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=218052 2020-08-01T01:55:16Z 2020-08-01T01:55:16Z Twins third baseman Josh Donaldson left their game against the Indians on Friday with right calf tightness, per Do-Hyoung Park of MLB.com. He’s day-to-day.

While we don’t know if this is a serious injury, it’s worth noting that right calf problems have troubled Donaldson in the past. They played a part in limiting the former AL MVP to just 52 games in 2018 between the Blue Jays and Indians. That was a contract year for Donaldson, who still scored a one-year, $23MM deal with the Braves in the ensuing offseason. He stayed healthy in Atlanta last season, batted .259/.379/.521 with 37 home runs in 659 plate appearances, and then joined the Twins on a four-year, $92MM pact over the winter.

So far, the 34-year-old Donaldson has batted a paltry .182/.296/.318 with one homer in 27 PA as a Twin, though one can’t draw conclusions from such a small sample size. The Twins are certainly counting on Donaldson to be a major force in their lineup this season and during coming years. If he does miss time as a result of this injury, though, the Twins have other experienced third base options in Ehire Adrianza (who came in for Donaldson on Friday), Marwin Gonzalez, Luis Arraez and Miguel Sano on their 30-man roster.

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Steve Adams <![CDATA[Cardinals-Brewers Game Postponed Due To Positive Covid-19 Tests]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=217621 2020-07-31T16:59:22Z 2020-07-31T16:55:47Z 11:55am: The Cardinals issued a statement that the two tests which came back positive were performed Wednesday prior to their game with the Twins at Target Field in Minneapolis. The Cardinals have not been to Miller Park yet. That statement carries particular significance for the Twins and for the Indians, who used Target Field’s visiting clubhouse last night.

10:32am: The league announced that tonight’s game has been postponed. They’ll attempt to make it up as part of a doubleheader Sunday. MLB’s statements reads as follows:

Today’s scheduled game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the St. Louis Cardinals at Miller Park has been rescheduled as part of a traditional doubleheader on Sunday, August 2nd at 1:10 p.m. (CT).  The rescheduling as a result of two positive COVID-19 tests in the Cardinals’ organization is consistent with protocols to allow enough time for additional testing and contact tracing to be conducted.

That statement seems to represent a departure from the protocols of just one week ago, when the Marlins/Phillies series was played to completion despite as many as seven known positive cases by Sunday. It’s surely frustrating for some fans to see, but it’s also in the best interest of completing a 2020 season to update protocols based on the efficacy of the standing regulations.

9:35am: SportsGrid’s Craig Mish tweets that two Cardinals players have tested positive so far. Both were pitchers, Saxon adds.

9:25am: The Athletic’s Mark Saxon reports that if the remainder of the Cardinals’ roster tests negative, the series against the Brewers could still begin tomorrow. It remains unclear how many players and/or staff members on the club have tested positive, however.

8:47am: Tonight’s game between the Brewers and Cardinals will be postponed due to positive Covid-19 tests within the Cardinals organization, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman (Twitter links). Joel Sherman of the New York Post adds that the Cardinals are isolating at their hotel and have not been to Miller Park.

It’s a discouraging development for the league, which had previously emphasized that the current outbreak within the sport was contained within the Marlins organization. Neither the Brewers nor the Cardinals have played (or will play) the Marlins in 2020 under the realigned schedule.

The number of positive tests will be telling, but it’s easy to imagine widespread implications. The Brewers will obviously be directly impacted, but they’re unlikely to be alone. The Cardinals just traveled to Milwaukee from Minneapolis, for instance, after completing a two-game set with the Twins. Minnesota hosted the Indians last night, meaning the Cleveland players and staff were in the same visitors clubhouse that had just hosted the Cardinals. Both the Twins and Indians, then, could feel the impact of the Cardinals’ tests even if none of the players on either roster have tested positive yet. The Pirates, whom the Cardinals played in their first series of the season, are also likely on alert after today’s news. The Cards had been scheduled to take on the Tigers next week, but as we saw with the Marlins, Phillies and their upcoming opponents, that now could be subject to change, too.

The hope, of course, is that the number of positives is minimal or even singular. Postponing a game based on a small number of positive tests would surely draw some criticism from fans, but the league would be justified in pointing to the prior Marlins outbreak as justification for not allowing a series to commence after a small number of players tested positive. The Marlins had four positives prior to that series, played the three games anyhow, and by yesterday were up to a staggering 17 positives among players and two on the coaching/training staff.

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Steve Adams <![CDATA[Odorizzi Throws 'Pen Session, Likely To Face Hitters Monday]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=217585 2020-07-31T13:12:38Z 2020-07-31T13:12:38Z
  • Jake Odorizzi threw a bullpen session yesterday and feels that his lower back strain has healed, La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune writes. However, the right-hander will still face some live hitters at the Twins’ alternate training site over in St. Paul before he’s activated from the injured list. Odorizzi tabbed Monday as a potential date to face hitters. Right-hander Randy Dobnak could get another start as Odorizzi finalizes his rehab. The 30-year-old Odorizzi enjoyed a career year with the Twins in ’19, pitching to a 3.51 ERA with 10.1 K/9, 3.0 BB/9 and 0.91 HR/9 in 159 innings. He accepted a one-year, $17.2MM qualifying offer last November and will be a free agent again this winter.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Predict The AL Central Division Winner]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=212755 2020-07-25T00:57:53Z 2020-07-25T00:57:53Z With final roster decisions in the books and the 2020 season underway at long last, it’s time to make some predictions. We’ll poll the MLBTR readership on each of the game’s six divisions — though plenty more teams will crack the postseason under the rather inclusive new playoff qualification system.

    There’s rather an interesting dynamic in the American League Central division this year. The Twins stepped up in 2019 and have added Josh Donaldson to an already potent lineup. They’ll try to hold off the Indians, who had previously enjoyed a stranglehold on the division and have some of the best core talent around. There’s no denying the immense potential that resides on the White Sox roster, which features both elite youngsters and newly inked quality veterans. The Royals feel they’ve got quick bounceback potential after a few down seasons; if a few players hit their ceilings, perhaps they could surprise. It’s harder to see a path for the Tigers, but they’ve also got a load of elite young hurlers pushing into the majors and will enter the season determined to make strides.

    Which team do you think is the best of the bunch? (Poll link for app users.)

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Twins Select Aaron Whitefield]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=212382 2020-07-24T12:23:01Z 2020-07-24T12:23:01Z The Twins selected outfielder Aaron Whitefield to their Major League roster yesterday in setting their Opening Day roster, per a club announcement. The Aussie speedster will go onto the team’s 40-man roster for the first time with the move.

    Whitefield, 23, was signed out of Brisbane, Australia back in 2015. He’s something of a surprise addition given that he’s only played 31 games above A-ball, isn’t considered to be among the team’s top prospects and struggled at the plate this past season. Whitefield was a late addition to the player pool, joining the group just last week. However, he’s also swiped 115 bags in 337 minor league games in addition to 64 bases in 169 games while playing winter ball in the Australian League.

    Whitefield has logged the vast majority of his time as a pro in center field, so he’ll give Minnesota a backup option at all three spots — notable with Byron Buxton coming back from a minor foot injury — as well as a pinch-running specialist late in games. Whitefield is a career .238/.299/.338 hitter in the minors, so it’s unlikely he’ll see too much time at the plate. However, we’ve seen a few clubs throughout the league opt to carry what amounts to a dedicated pinch-runner/defensive replacement (e.g. Terrance Gore with the Dodgers) while rosters are still at 30 players.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Jake Odorizzi To Begin Season On Injured List]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=211260 2020-07-23T03:00:28Z 2020-07-23T03:00:28Z The Twins will open their season without right-hander Jake Odorizzi, who’s headed to the injured list with upper back soreness, Dan Hayes of The Athletic was among those to report. Fortunately, it doesn’t seem that Odorizzi will be on the shelf for long.

    If healthy, the 30-year-old Odorizzi should once again be a key part of the Twins’ rotation in 2020. He helped the club to an AL Central title last season, his first All-Star year, with 159 innings of 3.51 ERA/3.36 FIP ball and 10.08 K/9 against 3.0 BB/9. Odorizzi may have been able to secure a multiyear deal as a free agent after that, though he instead chose to stay in Minnesota when he accepted the team’s $17.8MM qualifying offer. But that means Odorizzi is once again set for a platform season, and beginning the 60-game campaign on the IL makes for an inauspicious start for him and the Twins.

    With Odorizzi unavailable for now, the Twins will head into the year with Jose Berrios and three offseason acquisitions – Kenta Maeda, Homer Bailey and Rich Hill – as the top four in their rotation. Matt Wisler, Devin Smeltzer and Randy Dobnak, who are in the Twins’ 60-man player pool, are also among their hurlers who have logged starts at the MLB level.

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    George Miller <![CDATA[Twins Release Jhoulys Chacin]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=208983 2020-07-19T19:05:37Z 2020-07-19T18:00:01Z Right-handed pitcher Jhoulys Chacin requested his release from the Twins today, and he is no longer in camp with the team, according to Betsy Helfand of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Chacin had inked a minor-league deal with the Twins in February which included an opt-out clause that allowed him to enter free agency. The 32-year-old will hit the open market in hopes of latching on with another team ahead of Opening Day.

    Chacin signed on in the winter with a chance to compete for a spot in the back of the Twins’ rotation, representing an insurance option against Michael Pineda’s suspension and the health of Rich Hill. Chacin would’ve competed with Randy Dobnak and Devin Smeltzer, but after subsequently acquiring starter Kenta Maeda and with Hill back to full strength, the need for Chacin has diminished. Presently, the Twins’ rotation is shaping up to consist of Maeda, Hill, Jose Berrios, Jake Odorizzi, and Homer Bailey.

    Last year was a frustrating one for Chacin, who went from starting Opening Day for Milwaukee to being released in August. That came after he stumbled to a 5.79 ERA through 19 starts with the Brewers. A September run with the Red Sox didn’t go much better, with his ERA climbing to 7.36 in a handful of appearances.

    Still, Chacin authored an impressive stretch in 2017 and 2018, posting a cumulative 3.69 ERA in 67 starts with the Padres and Brewers. He has never been much of a strikeout specialist, as he averaged just 7.5 K/9 in those two years, but his increased reliance on his slider made him a tougher matchup for hitters. Last year, home runs were Chacin’s downfall, and teams looking at Chacin will have to decide if the 21% HR/FB rate was simply a streak of bad luck, or indicative of the pitcher Chacin will be this year and beyond.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Byron Buxton Expects To Be Ready For Season]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=205916 2020-07-15T21:50:14Z 2020-07-15T21:49:01Z JULY 15: Buxton said Wednesday he expects to be ready for the Twins’ opener, per Hayes.

    July 14: Buxton has been diagnosed with a mid-foot sprain, the team announced to reporters at Target Field today (Twitter link via MLB.com’s Do-Hyoung Park). He’s listed as day-to-day for the time being.

    July 13, 7:39pm: Buxton’s initial exam didn’t reveal any serious problems, according to manager Rocco Baldelli (via Hayes). They’re cautiously optimistic Buxton will be OK.

    6:47pm: Buxton’s having imaging done on a left foot injury, tweets Hayes, who adds that the Twins should have more information on his status Tuesday.

    6:38pm: Twins center fielder Byron Buxton was carted off the field Monday after suffering an apparent injury to his left ankle, per Dan Hayes of The Athletic. Buxton departed after possibly getting “a spike caught in the turf,” Hayes writes. Further details aren’t available yet.

    Should this turn out to be a major injury, it would be the latest in an unfortunately long line of them for Buxton. The 26-year-old’s health issues helped limit him to 115 of a possible 324 regular-season games from 2018-19. Buxton only took part in 87 games last year, which ended for him when he underwent left shoulder surgery in September. That procedure prevented Buxton from participating in the Twins’ ALDS matchup versus the Yankees.

    Thanks in part to injuries, Buxton’s career perhaps hasn’t gone to plan since the Twins drafted him second overall in 2012. But there’s no denying that Buxton has shown immense promise at times. The defensively brilliant speedster was a 3.6-fWAR player in 2017 – the lone season thus far in which he has amassed 100-plus games – and logged 2.7 fWAR in 2019 despite missing almost half the campaign. He slashed a career-best .262/.314/.513 (111 wRC+) with 10 homers and 14 steals over 295 plate appearances then, also chipping in 10 Defensive Runs Saved and a plus-8.7 Ultimate Zone Rating.

    To their credit, he Twins did more than stay afloat without Buxton a season ago. And at least a few of the center field options they used in his stead – Max Kepler, Jake Cave and LaMonte Wade Jr. – are still on hand. That said, it would be optimal for the team to have Buxton in the mix. The hope right now is that he’s not dealing with yet another significant problem.

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