Monday, August 15, 2011

An unlikely infield move

Today's the deadline to sign
Levi Michael and other draft picks.
As noted in the Monday print column, today is the deadline for teams to sign their 2011 draft picks, and the Twins' top three selections — Levi Michael, Travis Harrison and Hudson Boyd — are all unsigned.

I had this morning an outside-the-box idea regarding Michael, a middle infielder who played at North Carolina, an idea rooted in these facts:

  • The Twins —as detailed in this post, and this one, and this one — have a hole at shortstop and are sorting again through their in-house options, even to the point of retrying players who've failed already;
  • Michael, as a three-year starter at a major university, ought to be a pretty polished prospect already;
  • Michael and the Twins have an apparent disagreement on how much he should get to sign;
  • There are raw shortstop prospects already at the entry levels of the Twins system (James Beresford, Niko Goodrum, Jorge Polanco, Daniel Santana), while the primary shortstops at the higher levels (Trevor Plouffe and Brian Dozier) are more likely utility men in the majors rather than regular shortstops.

So the idea: Sign Michael to a major-league contract, add him to the 40-man roster, give him a couple weeks at Rochester or New Britain, then bring him to the majors in September and add him to the collection of guys getting an early tryout for the 2012 season.

That proposition should be worth a lower bonus for Michael — his options and service time clock would start ticking immediately.

I don't expect this to happen. The Twins are habitually conservative about promoting prospects, and err on the side of giving them too little challenge after signing them. But I sure won't complain if it does.

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