Monday, December 19, 2011

Dissecting the Bill Smith era: The Rauch trade

Jon Rauch in 2009. He was Baseball
America's minor league player of the year
in 2000, when he was in the
Chicago White Sox organization.
When: Aug. 28, 2009
What: The Twins acquired RHP Jon Rauch from Arizona for RHP Kevin Mulvey
Value: Rauch conributed 1.9 WAR for Minnesota in 2009-10. He had 9 win shares for the Twins in 210 and 7 total in 2009. Mulvey contributed just 26 innings to Arizona with a WAR of -0.3 and was designated for assignment in September. He may be a free agent. Rauch spent 2011 with Toronto and singed last week with the New York Mets as a free agent.
Twins motivation: Bullpen depth

As with Orlando Cabrera and Carl Pavano, Rauch was a late-season addition that worked. Mulvey, a piece of the Johan Santana deal, has not panned out as a prospect. Rauch went 5-1 with five holds down the stretch in 2009, then racked up 21 saves in about a half season as closer in 2010 when Joe Nathan blew out his elbow.

The Twins let him go as a free agent after 2010, and he spent 2011 with Toronto, where he had 11 saves (and five blown saves) with an ERA of 4.85.

It is, in retrospect, interesting how far Mulvey had fallen by the time of the trade and has continued to fall. When the Twins acquired him (just before spring training 2008), he was considered a nearly-ready middle-of-the-rotation prospect. A season-plus later, he was dealt even up for a middle reliever -- not something one does with a good starting prospect. And last summer, Mulvey was designated for assignment by the Diamondbacks. I don't know if he's still in their system or if he's a free agent.


  1. Kubel just got signed by the Diamondbacks, which you probably already knew. Do you think letting him walk was a good move? Seems to me like the Twins are putting a lot of stock in Willingham.

    Also, do you see the Twins landing any other free agents now that we've lost Kubel and Cuddy? Edwin Jackson maybe?

  2. The Rauch trade was a good one when it happened and in hindsight looks even better. Chalk one up as one good trade for Smith.