Thursday, January 30, 2020

Good-bye, Harper

The Twins created room on the 40-man roster for Josh Donaldson last week by designating Ryne Harper for assignment. On Wednesday the Twins traded Harper to Washington for Hunter McMahon, a 21-year-old reliever who the Nats took out of Texas State in the ninth round of the 2019 draft.

Ninth-round picks usually have something going for them, but they're generally not prime prospects either. McMahon put up some impressive numbers in his scant professional time, but he was old for his leagues. Call him a lottery ticket; he might turn into something, or he might never be heard from again.

I had, frankly, forgotten that Harper was still on the Twins roster, which is odd considering that he ptiched in 61 games for Minnesota last season. He's a capable major league reliever, as long as he's not asked to do too much, but as the Twins revamped their bullpen in midseason his role declined, and it was difficult, if not impossible, to imagine a scenario in which Harper made the big-league club this spring. Some other blogger, I can't remember who, said Harper was probably No. 11 on the bullpen depth chart, and you certainly can make a case for that.

So this works for everybody involved. The Twins get a prospect they don't have to carry on the 40-man roster for years for a pticher they had no use for. The Nationals, who have a thin bullpen, add a useful piece for the front end. And Harper, who turns 31 in March and made his major league debut just last year, presumably avoids another season in Triple A -- and remains on a pretty good club.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with your post, in large part. I doubt if Harper ranked any higher than the 11 you mentioned among the bullpen canidates this spring.

    Still, I bet that the Twins were hoping to sneak him through waivers. Last year the Twins used 31 pitchers, not counting at least one who was called up but never used. Having a guy like Harper available in minors is a step up from from many of the guys used last year.

    I would also guess that the Nationals weren't the only team to claim Harper. If they were, they likely wouldn't of had to give up a player to get Harper.