Saturday, April 7, 2018

Rule 5 update

Tyler Kinley has yet to appear in a game for the Twins; Paul Molitor is, presumably, looking for a really low-leverage situation for his debut, and the Twins haven't had that yet except in the Jose Berrios complete game.

Meanwhile, Luke Bard, one of two pitchers claimed off the Twins in Rule 5, has gotten into three games for the Angels. He's pitched four innings and allowed one run on two hits and five strikeouts, all of which is good; he's also walked four, which is bad.

The other Rule 5 loss, Nick Burdi, is on the 60-day DL with the Pirates. His Rule 5 clock really doesn't become a factor until 2019; he had Tommy John surgery last season and isn't likely to pitch this year.

Bard versus Kinley is an intriguing comp. The Twins COULD have put Bard on the 40 last winter; they wouldn't have gotten Kinley in that case, but Bard would have options and could be sent to the minors. Kinley, as a Rule 5 guy, can't. There would be roster flexibility.

And the Twins will need a fifth starter next week, which will require a roster move. It's more likely that Gabriel Moya will be the demotee than that Kinley will be offered back to the Miami Marlins, but ... the reality of Rule 5 for contending teams is that it's really hard to devote a roster spot to that kind of player for the full season. Even if the Twins think Kinley is better than Bard, the flexibility matters. I'd rather have Bard.

And the payoff for keeping a Rule 5 guy is often slim. The Cincinnati Reds -- not a contender, of course -- two winters ago took catcher Stuart Turner out of the Twins system and kept him. He hit .134 in 82 at-bats. Last week,  his Rule 5 requirements satisified, the Reds waived him. He cleared and was outrighted to Triple A. So the Reds no longer think he's worth a 40-man roster spot, one year after carrying him on the active roster all season.

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