Monday Night, November 9, 2009
Twins Transaction Thoughts
Before I discuss the Twins transactions of the day, I do want to mention that I had a great time on Fox9’s Sports on Demand this afternoon. It was fun being on with Jim Rich, Seth Kaplan and Doogie Wolfson and talking about the Twins and more. The archived show is now online, you can click here to watch all five parts.
The Twins traded Carlos Gomez for JJ Hardy on Friday. On Saturday, they picked up the 2011 option on Michael Cuddyer’s contract. Both of those moves, I can 100% back and agree with.
Today they announced that three players were involved in transactions.
· Justin Huber cleared waivers and was sent to Rochester. I believe there is a chance that he remains with the organization although he can become a free agent. He knows that this team gave him a chance, and he came through in AAA and called him up. If not for an oblique injury, he would have been in the Twins lineup several times down the stretch. In fact, remember the Sunday that Justin Morneau did not play for the first time, it was Huber that was supposed to play 1B that day. Unfortunately for him, he hurt himself in batting practice. What if he had stayed healthy, had a good game and played strong defense? How would the season have wound up. Michael Cuddyer would have stayed in RF, Jason Kubel would have played LF. Huber may have been in the lineup with Delmon Young remaining on the bench. Anyway, taking Huber off of the 40 man roster is an easy choice. But hopefully he will decide to remain with the organization, come to spring training, go to Rochester and contribute again.
That move made sense. The other transactions made far less sense, at least to me.
· The Baltimore Orioles claimed righty Armando Gabino from the Twins. This means that the Twins took him off the 40 man roster. With the worst record in the AL, the Orioles would have been the first team with the opportunity to claim him, and they did. As I am working on prospect profiles for the Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook – 2010, I got to the G’s over the weekend. Since he won’t be with the Twins, I won’t have his profile in the book. Here is the unedited version of what I had:
Armando Gabino – RHP – (8/31/83)
Acquired: Min. Lg. Rule 5 selection in Dec. 2004 from Indians
2009 Team(s): Rochester Red Wings, Minnesota Twins
2009 Minor League Stats: 6-4, 2.94 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 98 IP, 24 BB, 64 K
2009 Major League Stats: 0-0, 17.18 ERA, 3.82 WHIP, 3.2 IP, 5 BB, 2 K
Gabino signed with the Cleveland Indians in 2001 as a 3B. In 2004, they moved him to the pitcher’s mound. That offseason, the Twins saw him and drafted him in the minor league Rule 5 draft. 2007 was his coming out season when he pitched at Low-A, High-A and AA. In 75 total innings, he went 5-2 with eight saves and a 1.80 ERA. He backed it up with a full season at AA with a 3.10 ERA in 81.1 innings. In 2009, he was Rochester’s best, most consistent pitcher throughout the season whether out of the bullpen or in his seven starts. Twins fans got to see him make one start for the big league club, and it didn’t go so well. His seven starts in Rochester in 2009 were his first starts since one start in 2006 in Elizabethton. His big league future is in middle or long relief. Gabino has a fastball in the low-90s. He also has a good slider. As you would expect from a former infielder, he fields his position very well.
· Juan Morillo was added to the 40 man roster. When the Twins claimed Morillo from the Rockies early this season, it was very exciting that the Twins now had a guy who could literally throw a fastball in the upper 90s. Three appearances later, the Twins sent him back through waivers. He cleared and spent the rest of the season in Rochester. The thought was that he could work there all year and try to gain better control. So, as a Twins fan, which do you pay more attention to… his 87 strikeouts in 67 innings, or his 51 walks in 67 strikeouts? As wonderful as a 98 mph fastball can be, 6.9 walks per nine innings is horrible. Of course it is better than the 8.4 walks per nine innings in 2008. If he could find a way to throw enough strikes to walk less than five per nine innings, he could be a decent reliever. If he could get it below four, he could be an 8th inning guy. Does anyone see that happening? Not me.
o So there needs to be another explanation, right? I think I’ve got one. A few days ago, NPB reported that there may be some interest in Japan for Morillo. If Morillo became a free agent (something he would have), he could have signed with any team in the US or Japan. The Twins decided to protect him. Therefore, if he wants to go to Japan, or a Japanese team wants to sign him, they will have to compensate the Twins.
Both Gabino and Morillo will turn 27 years old during the 2010 season. Morillo throws hard. Gabino throws strikes. Morillo’s ceiling is dominance. Gabino’s ceiling is solid long reliever. Gabino has two option years left. Morillo is out of options.