Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Minor moves

A few names there I recognize, but none I hope to see at Target Field this summer. All look like -- and should be -- organizational depth, although I have some fears about Rosario.

Pat Dean is starting his second stint in the organization. The lefty reached the majors in 2016 without noticeable success -- 16 games, nine starts with the Twins and an ugly 6.28 ERA -- and spent the past two seasons pitching in Korea. His team won the Korean title in 2017 and he got paid more than $1.8 million for the two seasons, so good for him.

Jordany Valdespin has also been out of organized ball for two seasons. He had major league time in the four previous years but saw his playing time shrink with each season, He had a notable run-in with then-Mets manager Terry Collins, a notorious HBP in the crotch from Justin Verlander and a 50-game suspension in the Biogenesis PED scandal. He played, and quite well, for the Long Island Ducks in the independent Atlantic League in 2018 and was named Independent League player of the year by Baseball America.

Kevin Comer is a right-handed reliever who has yet to see any MLB time. Most of his minor league service has been in the Houston organization, but he was with Detroit's Triple A team last year. He's shown pretty good strike-out rates but still gives up lots of hits and runs.

Adam Atkins, another righty reliever, is a bit young for a minor league free agent. This will be his first time out of the Mets chain, and he has just two games above A ball. His stat line looks a lot more usable than Comer's, but the lack of upper-level experience works against him.

Finally, the guy who's probably the biggest name of these five: Wilin Rosario. He's a catcher who had a pair of 20-plus homer seasons with the Rockies -- 28 bombs in 2012, 21 in 2013. He is not, however, regarded as a good defensive catcher, and he's had some astoundingly bad walk-to-strikeout rates (15 walks and 109 strikeouts in 2013). Like Valdespin and Dean. he's been out of organized ball the past two seasons; in his case, one year in Korea, one in Japan.

The Twins have been collecting this kind of hitter during the offseason -- Jonathan Schoop, C.J. Cron, now Rosario. To be sure, Rosario is on a minor-league deal, and the Twins always figured to add at least one minor-league free agent catcher. On the other hand, this front office's previous forays into the catching market have emphasized defense. 

If having him at Rochester makes it possible to have Willians Astudillo in the majors, that's acceptable. Anything more significant than that is not.

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