Monday, December 15, 2014

Goodbye, Parmelee

Chris Parmelee was the
Twins' first-round pick
in 2006 .
The Twins waived Chris Parmelee on Saturday to open a spot on the 40-man roster for free agent signee Ervin Santana.

While it wasn't the roster-clearing move I wanted (see Saturday's post), it's understandable. As with Chris Colabello, there isn't an obvious role for Parmelee on the Twins as currently constructed. First base is jammed with Joe Mauer and Kennys Vargas; the corner outfield jobs are occupied by Oswaldo Arcia and Torii Hunter; and Parmelee hasn't the skill set to handle more rigorous defensive positions.

Parmelee cleared waivers a year ago and the Twins kept him in the organization as a minor leaguer; this time, if he clears waivers, he can declare free agency. I would expect him to do so. He needs a change of scenery, and an organization that has a use for him.

He has been in roughly the same boat Garrett Jones was with the Twins. Jones was blocked at first base by Justin Morneau and in the outfield corners by the likes of Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel. Jones has squeezed out six seasons in the majors since leaving the Twins, five of them as a low-grade regular.

I wouldn't rule out that kind of future for Parmelee. He had one brief clear shot at a regular job with the Twins (first half of 2013), and he didn't do anything with it.

And that's the key. Jones clubbed 21 homers in half a season's playing time in his first year with Pittsburgh, and he parlayed that into a multi-season career I didn't see coming. Wherever he winds up, Parmelee needs to hit. In 901 plate appearances (spread over four seasons) with the Twins, he hit .249/.317/.392. That would work for a shortstop or a catcher, but it's not good enough for a first baseman.


The Twins late last week signed right-hander Brayan Villareal to a minor-league contract. He fits what has become the new normal for the Twins in acquirring bullpen arms: He throws hard.

Villareal has 75 major league innings, all with Detroit (he made one appearance with the Red Sox in 2013, walked a guy on four pitches, was pulled and never pitched again; he got a World Series ring for his efforts). He has 86 strikeouts (and 47 walks).

If he can throw strikes, he can help. But that's a sizable if.

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