Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Deadline doings

It was, at the very least, a notable trade deadline day for the Twins.

On the field, they pummeled Cleveland, with Max Kepler hitting three homers, Jorge Polanco a pair of triples, Joe Mauer getting four hits and scoring four runs and Jose Berrios, after a rocky first inning, getting a quality start. Heck, Eddie Rosario even drew a walk.

And before the team took the field in Cleveland, interim general manager Rob Antony made a pair of trades.

Trade One: Fernando Abad to Boston for minor league pitcher Pat Light.

The stuff I said in Monday's post about Brandon Kintzler essentially applies to Abad, except that

  • Abad doesn't have the saves
  • Abad is left-handed

They're both 30, were signed to minor league deals, and have better ERAs this year than their underlying stats would suggest. Kintzler remains, but the Twins cashed in Abad for a power-arm prospect in Light, who they drafted out of high school in 2009 but didn't sign.

Light, 25, is said to reach 100 mph at times, but his control is indifferent at best -- 17 walks in 31 innings at Triple A Pawtucket this year, which is better than last year's 26 walks in 33 innings at the same level. He's strictly a relief arm.

The Twins don't have a good track record developing this type of pitcher, not that anybody has a magic touch with them. Light might turn into a late-inning guy, or he might wash out. At least he has two option years left, so there's time.

Trade Two: Ricky Nolasco, Alex Meyer and money to Anaheim for lefty Hector Santiago and minor league pitcher Alan Busenitz.

Give Antony credit: he found a way to unload Nolasco's contract and add a viable major league starter in Santiago.

It did cost the Twins Meyer, but at this point that doesn't look like a terrible loss. Meyer has missed most of the season with arm issues, and even before his shoulder started barking at him, the Twins didn't seem to know if he was still a starting candidate or destined for the bullpen. A power arm with indifferent control -- see Pat Light, above.

The LA Times story on this trade says Meyer, despite his issues, becomes the Angels' top prospect -- which is quite the indictment of that farm system. Meyer's been highly ranked in the past, but I doubt anybody would have had him among the Twins's top 10 prospects any more.

Which is why Busenitz is just a name to be aware of. Yes, he's reached Triple A for the Angels; yes, he too throws hard; yes, the Twins exchanged a minor league pitcher who as burned at least two options for one not yet on the 40-man roster. These are all pluses. The Twins have plenty of these guys around, and we'll see if he emerges.

Santiago is a 28-year-old lefty who made the All-Star team last year (seriously) and has a 3.68 career ERA in 105 major league starts. Last year he led the league in homers allowed (29) and this year he leads in walks allowed (57), neither of which is a positive. He also strikes out eight men per nine innings, a rate that's been pretty consistent over four years in major league rotations, and he's got another year of team control.

No question: You'd rather have Santiago than Nolasco. The Angels made the deal with the hopes that they can find the major league pitcher in Meyer that the Twins could not.


  1. Surprised that Santana wasn't unloaded. Since so many other average to slightly average starters (Liriano, Moore, Nova, Wiley) were moved, I suspect that Twins were trying to get too much for him. That's a shame because he is very unlikely to be part of the next good team.

  2. I suspect the Twins will regret trading away Meyer. They seem determined to be unfair to pitching prospects. Duffey was lied to that he had a rotation spot in spring training and could try out a change up without risking his rotation and roster spot. When the new pitch predictably did not work great, he was demoted. Berrios was brought up earlier and had one bad outing out of two and sent back down again. Meyer was brought up with a sub 2.00 ERA in triple A, and after a bad first outing gets sent down again. The message is sent to pitchers - be perfect at all times or you will be sent down. Meanwhile Buxton fails for over a season and is never sent down for more development.

  3. Off topic, but I'm listening to Mike Bernadino on the Midwest Swing podcast and he speculates that Sano might be sent down for a couple weeks to work on various things. Really? What ever happened to long-range thinking? What ever happened to giving young players the chance to work through problems at the major league level, especially on a team that might lose 95 games again. I'm shaking my head.