|Max Kepler was added to the 40-man roster|
in what may have been an unnecessary move.
Of the four, the only one close to earning major league time is Darnell, who split 2013 between Double A New Britain and Triple A Rochester. The other three spent last season in A ball -- Vargas in High A Fort Myers, Kepler and Polanco in low A Cedar Rapids.
I expected the Twins to protect Darnell and Polanco; either could easily have been taken in the Rule 5 draft in December. The other two are less likely to be targeted.
I expected, frankly, to be defending the Twins for not protecting Kepler. He is a very good prospect, but he's also extremely raw. I cannot imagine any team, even the talent-gathering Astros, taking him in the Rule 5 draft and carrying him on their major league roster for the full season. (Rule 5 draftees must be kept on the 25-man active roster or offered back to their original organization.)
There are, basically, three types of players who tend to be picked in Rule 5 and kept, and the third is pretty rare:
- Pitchers, especially lefties, who can be kept as the last man in the bullpen. (Darnell)
- Middle infielders with speed, who can be a second utility infielder and pinch runner. (Polanco)
- A catcher, who might be a backup on a team with a strong No.1 catcher or a No. 3 guy if he is a hitter who is weak behind the plate.
It's very rare for an outfielder or first baseman to be taken in Rule 5, especially if they're being taken out of A ball. I don't deride either Kepler or Vargas as prospects, but I doubt the Twins needed to protect either this year. Obviously, the Twins see it differently.
The Detroit Tigers traded Prince Fielder to the Texas Rangers for Ian Kinsler. I don't feel like doing an exhaustive analysis of this deal right now, but I will say that:
- Both teams rearranged talent in useful ways;
- The Tigers got rid of a really painful contract for a less painful contract;
- The Tigers got the better end of the deal. My opinion.