Friday, December 17, 2010

Parsing the Jose Morales trade

On the same day that Tsuyoshi Nishioka arrived in the Twin Cities to take a physical and, presumably, finalize his contract with the Twins, Minnesota traded one of its two reserve catchers, Jose Morales, to the Colorado Rockies for Paul Bargas.

Jose Morales is likely
to be the No. 2 catcher
for the Colorado Rockies
in 2011.
Bargas is a left-handed pitcher, drafted in 2009, who put up some interesting numbers in low A ball last season. Since he was a 13th-round pick, I'm guessing he's not a particularly hard thrower, but that's only a guess; he hasn't been sufficiently highly regarded to get mentioned by the prospect gurus I pay attention to.  Whether or not Bargas is a soft tosser, it will be interesting to see if his strikeout rate holds as he moves up the ladder.

This trade probably wasn't so much about adding Bargas as it was clearing Morales off the 40-man roster. He's out of options, and presumably the Twins prefer Drew Butera's defensive chops to Morales' batting average. The Twins chose to move Morales now rather than wait to see if either Butera or Joe Mauer gets hurt during spring training.

At this moment, the Twins have 37 men on the 40-man roster. Nishioka will make it 38. If, as I increasingly believe will happen, the Twins re-sign Carl Pavano, that will be 39.

Which would still leave a slot open. I therefore suspect that there is a signing somewhere in the Twins near future beyond Nishioka and Pavano. Therein would lie the advantage in moving Morales in December rather than waiting until closer to the season.

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