The Twins have re-signed relievers Jovani Moran and Ronny Henriquez to minor league contracts, per the team’s transaction log at MLB.com. Both were non-tendered a few weeks ago. The left-handed Moran is expected to miss the 2024 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery following the ’23 campaign. Henriquez, acquired from the Rangers as part of 2022’s Mitch Garver trade, battled elbow trouble and struggled in 37 Triple-A appearances this past season.
Both pitchers were non-tendered despite being several years from arbitration eligibility. However, the non-tender deadline gives teams the unique opportunity to immediately remove a player from the 40-man roster without needing to pass him through waivers, so the Twins used that chance to clear up some space while retaining hope for this type of minor league re-signing.
Moran, 26, has been a heavily used option for manager Rocco Baldelli over the past two seasons, at times looking like a potential setup man — he logged a 2.21 ERA, 32.9% strikeout rate and 11% walk rate in 40 1/3 innings in 2022 — but also battling inconsistencies stemming from his below-average command. He picked up nine holds for the Twins this past season but struggled to a 5.31 ERA with a diminished 26.1% strikeout rate and an alarming 14.7% walk rate.
Moran looked to have righted the ship, to an extent, after a shaky start to the year before a brutal stretch in July that saw him yield nine runs on seven hits and seven walks in what proved to be his final seven innings of the season. He was placed on the injured list with an always-ominous forearm strain, ultimately going under the knife a couple months later. He’ll miss the 2024 season and look to get back into the mix for a roster spot in 2025.
The 23-year-old Henriquez made his big league debut with the Twins in 2022 and impressed with 11 2/3 innings of 2.31 ERA ball. He fanned 18% of his opponents against a 6% walk rate and kept the ball on the ground at a healthy 52.8% clip while averaging 93.2 mph on his heater. He ranked 19th among Twins prospects at FanGraphs and 23rd at Baseball America before this past season’s elbow troubles derailed his year. Henriquez had multiple IL stints due to elbow inflammation and ultimately pitched to an unsightly 5.64 ERA in 57 Triple-A frames. He’ll likely open the season back in Triple-A St. Paul as a depth option.