The Twins announced that they have hired Nick Paparesta to be the club’s head athletic trainer. Paparesta has spent the previous 12 years in the same role for the Athletics. Prior to that, he spent five years with the Rays and 11 years with Cleveland.
A new head athletic trainer usually wouldn’t be especially noteworthy, but there are a couple of reasons to think this could be an impactful move for Minnesota. Reporting on the vacancy last week, La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune pointed out that there’s been a large amount of turnover in the club’s strength and conditioning departments, including having three different head trainers since 2016.
Also, the Twins were leading the AL Central for much of 2022 before a rash of injuries dragged them down to a 78-84 finish. While the training staff can’t be reasonably blamed for every health issue that pops up, any improvement in that department could have big ramifications for the club. If Paparesta can provide some stability to the department, it could help the Twins on the field, especially with a roster that features some players with injury concerns, such as Byron Buxton, Tyler Mahle, Jorge Polanco, Royce Lewis and others.
Some other notes from around the league…
- The Tigers recently hired Rob Metzler to be their assistant general manager, plucking him from the Rays organization. Since Metzler had been working as senior director of amateur scouting for Tampa, that left them with a vacancy in their scouting department. The Rays turned inward to replace Metzler, as Marc Topkin of the Tampa Times reports that they promoted Chuck Ricci to director of amateur scouting. Ricci has spent the past nine seasons as national crosschecker for the Rays and has evidently impressed the organization enough to get a bump up the ladder. Additionally, David Hamlett was promoted to assistant director of amateur scouting. The Rays have earned a reputation for finding talented young players from various areas, something that is essential for their success as a franchise that typically doesn’t spend at high levels. Though the departure of Metzler will surely create challenges for them, the club will be hoping that Ricci and Hamlett can step up and fill the void.
- In recent months, the Major League Baseball Players Association sought to represent minor league players in negotiations with the league, an effort that ultimately proved successful. The arrangement became official in mid-September, with an arbiter validating the organization efforts of the union and the league agreeing to recognize the MLBPA as the bargaining representatives for minor leaguers. It was reported around that time that minor leaguers would be negotiating a separate agreement to the one that affects major leaguers, and Evan Drellich of The Athletic reports that those talks have now begun. As the recent MLB CBA negotiations showed, these situations can drag on for months, so it’s unclear how long this agreement will take. It might also prove to be even more challenging since these are uncharted waters, with minor leaguers having never been unionized before. More details will surely emerge as the negotiations play out, but many minor league players have been vocal about dissatisfaction with various elements of their work environments, including housing and payment, among others.