|Yorman Landa, gone.|
Tendering deadlineFriday was the deadline to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players. The Twins had five such: infielder Eduardo Escobar, left-handed starter Hector Santiago, right-handed starter Kyle Gibson and relievers Brandon Kinzler and Ryan Pressly. The Twins reached an agreement with Escobar ($2.6 million) and tendered contracts to the other four, so they let none of them go.
No surprises there. I saw some speculation about non-tendering Escobar, but that really didn't seem likely. He is almost certainly not the Twins idea of a long-term shortstop, but he's more likely in my mind to hold the position on opening day than anybody else on the 40-man roster.
Opening a roster slotThe Twins were expected to vacate at least one spot on the 40-man roster before the Rule 5 draft next week, and they did so Friday by dumping Yorman Landa, a relief prospect
Landa was added to the 40 last winter despite not having pitched above low-A ball. He spent a good chuck of 2016 on the disabled list at High A Fort Myers with shoulder woes, and the Twins didn't merely outright him off the 40-man roster, they non-tendered him. So he's a free agent.
Which, presumably, tells us what the Twins think of his chances of recovering fully.
James Rowson was named Friday to follow Tom Brunansky as the major league hitting coach. He held the job with the Chicago Cubs in 2012-13 and more recently was working in the Yankees organization.
New hitting coach hired
Mike Bernardino of the Pioneer Press has this on Rowson. I said when Bruno (and Butch Davis) got the ax that the key factors were Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano. Sano regressed in 2016 from 2015, and Buxton struggled much of the season. They are Jobs 1 and 1A for Rowson.
Davis's job -- first base coach, base running instruction, outfield instruction -- remains open.
Bill Smith leavingTerry Ryan, it was announced earlier in the week, has joined the Phillies as a special assignment scout. On Thursday came word that the Twins are not renewing the contract of Bill Smith, who was the general manager for a few years between Ryan's two terms in the job and more recently has been heavily involved in the multi-year upgrade of the spring training complex in Fort Myers.
Smith was atop the food chain when the Twins imploded on the field, so he got the blame for the collapse, probably more of it than he really deserved. It comes with the territory. He's also the GM who OK'd the signings of Miguel Sano, Max Kepler and Jorge Polanco, and the Hammond Stadium upgrades are impressive.
Smith told the Fort Myers newspaper that his departure wasn't his choice. I suppose that the new baseball ops guys decided that with the complex project done, they had no need for that skill set in the organization, and with the additions of a flock of ex-players as special assistants, somebody had to go.