Minor Signings

18 Dec

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

I received word that the Twins have signed a few minor league free agents. None are terribly exciting, but each has had at least a little bit of Major League time, and who knows, given the right set of circumstances, could get there again. Will it be with the Twins in 2009? Well, we shall see. They are:

Luis Matos – The former big-time OF prospect of the Baltimore Orioles. He spent at least part of each season between 2000 and 2006 with the O’s. Matos has been a journeyman the last couple of years. After being released by the O’s in July of 2006, he signed with the Nationals where he got 15 at bats in 14 games before being released. He split 2007 between the AAA affiliates of the Pirates and Mets. He did not receive an offer for the 2008 season, so he played in Mexico, for the Yucatan Leones. He is currently playing in Puerto Rico where he has been quite impressive this winter. Matos was once the CF of the future for the Orioles. He is now a journeyman 30 year old outfielder. In reality, the Twins probably just hope that he can come close to producing for Rochester as well as the recently departed Darnell McDonald did (McDonald signed with the Reds last week).

Bobby Keppel – Keppel was the 1st round pick of the New York Mets in 2000 out of high school. He started in the Appalachian League and basically moved up one level a year until he finally made his big league debut in 2006 at the age of 23 for the Kansas City Royals. In 34.1 innings, he gave up 45 hits and walked 15. He moved to the Rockies in 2007. He started 23 games in AAA before getting four relief appearances in Colorado. In four innings, he gave up six hits and walked three more. He spent 2008 in the Marlins AAA rotation, in Albuquerque, where he went 9-11 with a 5.99 ERA. In 159.1 innings, he gave up 208 hits and walked another 57. He struck out just 85. It is pretty difficult to get too excited about this signing. He is still just 26 years old with big league experience. I would imagine that he could fight for a spot in the Rochester starting rotation.  

Sean Henn – Henn was the 30th round pick of the New York Yankees in 1999. At 24, he made his big league debut in the Bronx in 2005 by making three starts and going 0-3 with a 11.12 ERA. In 2006, he got into four more games for eth Yankees. In 2007, he pitched in 29 games for the Yankees and went 2-2 with a 7.12 ERA in 36.2 innings. He began the 2008 season in the Yankees organization but was released and claimed by the San Diego Padres. He got into four games for the Padres. He walked nine and struck out nine in 9.1 innings of relief. Henn is a 27 year old, 6-5 lefty that could start for the Red Wings but could also work out of the team’s bullpen.  

Again, I don’t think any of these three players will being the 2009 season with the Twins. They provide depth to the organization. Any thoughts? Leave your comments here.   

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16 Responses to “Minor Signings”

  1. roger December 18, 2008 at 7:38 am #

    Seth, looks to me like three guys who should help at Rochester. They may be hoping that Matos could come in and do a good job to give Pridie competition if an outfielder gets hurt or they do end up trading an outfielder before opening day.

    I had projected the Rochester outfield as Hughes, Pridie and Martin. Also thought that Winfree could move up and be a fourth outfielder/DH. This signing may mean that they are going to keep Hughes at third at the start of the season. Does that mean that Macri plays more at first base?

  2. Shawn in Binghamton December 18, 2008 at 8:55 am #

    I at least recognize Sean Henn. Probably cause i live in Yankeeland.

  3. Dave December 18, 2008 at 9:14 am #

    Matos’s once fairly bright star has long since gone dim. Just so he doesn’t get in the way of the development of players with a future.

  4. TT December 18, 2008 at 9:37 am #

    Keppel and Mots demonstrate the frailty of the “top prospect” label. Henn looks like someone who could help out in the major league bullpen if he can improve his command. That is a big if.

  5. East Coast Twin December 18, 2008 at 9:39 am #

    Roger

    How do you see these signings affecting your projected AAA roster? I saw your projections over at Twinkie Town.

    Thanks
    Michael

  6. mike wants wins December 18, 2008 at 9:53 am #

    They also demonstrate why sometimes it is a good idea to trade prospects for proven players, even if the ceiling of the proven player is lower.

  7. roger December 18, 2008 at 10:38 am #

    East Coast Twin…I don’t think the pitchers will have any effect, as they have at least 2 openings on the Rochester staff and may want Manship to begin the season in New Britain.

    As for Matos, I think a lot depends on where they want to play Hughes. If they begin the season wanting him at 3B, then the outfield could easily be Martin, Pridie, Matos with Winfree playing some RF and also some time at DH. And maybe Winfree won’t start the season at AAA, but after two years at AA and a very good year last year in everything except average I was hopeful he would take a step up.

  8. East Coast Twin December 18, 2008 at 11:01 am #

    Thanks.

  9. East Coast Twin December 18, 2008 at 11:14 am #

    One other thought I forgot to add. Your projections did not include Henry Arias, the Twins recent Rule 5 draftee. Were your projections created prior to the draft or don’t you see him making AAA?

  10. Travis Aune December 18, 2008 at 11:16 am #

    what players have the Twins lost in their minor league system.

  11. Dan D December 18, 2008 at 1:21 pm #

    Does anyone know if Garrett Jones has signed anywhere?

  12. thrylos98 December 18, 2008 at 1:46 pm #

    I do not get the Matos signing at all. The last 3-4 seasons he was horrid in any level of play. It is frustrating that the Twins are signing players that block the development of their prospects. I get that the Rochester roster needs to be filled some way, but why not go after higher reward players like Tim Spooneybarger or Oneli Perez, instead of going after retreads… Keppel might be ok if you ignore his PCL numbers, but, again, he and Henn block prospects at this point. There is just a whole bunch of 24 and 25 year olds in New Britain that should be moving to Rochester before they stagnate further…

  13. Rosterman December 18, 2008 at 5:30 pm #

    I think Henry Arias does need to start at AAA, as that;s the team he was drafted for.

    We only need to look back and see that some of these guys (likely with an invite to spring training) don’t even make the cut come minor league roster time.

    Pridie and Martin should be in the outfield for Rochester, but they really don’t have a DH candidate at the moment (Lis?). I would suspect that after two seasons, Matt Moses needs to start the season at Rochester either in the OF or DH (no longer a 3B prospect).

    Often the minor league guys are signed for a partial season tryout, as someone in the organization starts the season at a lower level.

    And, you can never have too many pitchers going into spring training. Maybe 3-4 guys will go down for the year and you do need arms at certain levels.

    No one here excites, especially considering where they held jobs the previous season,

  14. Seth December 18, 2008 at 5:34 pm #

    The Twins can start Arias wherever they want. Remember the Twins took Brian Buscher in the AA portion of the minor league Rule 5, and started him at AA. But in earlier years, they took Jose Lugo and put him at Elizabethton to start… he never has gone to AA much less AAA. Armando Gabino was taken in the minor league draft (AA or AAA) and he started out in the GCL, I think. The minor league guys can start anywhere.

    Interesting to see that hte Twins are bringing Joe Gaetti back too… there’s an extra OF, DH option.

  15. Kunza December 18, 2008 at 6:48 pm #

    And we have Punto.

  16. brad December 20, 2008 at 8:16 am #

    Joe C is reporting that the Twins are interested in 2 Japanese pitchers, Kenshin Kawakami and Koji Uehara. Not sure what to think about this, only Dice K has really had a lot of success in the majors. Koji was a closer in 07 before being moved back to starter. Keith Law on ESPN has him the #22 free agent and here are his comments on him.

    Uehara is a control artist who probably missed his best chance for a big payday when his NPB team, Yomiuri, refused to post him after the 2006 season, when he started and won Japan’s semifinal game in the inaugural WBC. He then went and posted a 3.21 ERA in 168 innings during their regular season, with 151 strikeouts and just 18 unintentional walks. Since then, he’s been shuttled back and forth between the rotation and bullpen and has missed time with leg injuries that also hurt his effectiveness when he pitched.

    Uehara has, of course, incredible control, and misses bats with a good forkball. It’s tough to say how well that pitch will translate here, as American hitters might struggle with a pitch they rarely see, but may also learn to lay off a pitch that often finishes out of the zone. He mixes up his fastball between two-seamers and cutters, but neither pitch has any sink, so while he commands everything to the corners, he’s very prone to the home run when he gets too much of the plate.

    In an ideal environment — National League, non-hitters’ park — he could be a midrotation innings-eater because he’ll allow so few baserunners. In the American League, he’d be more of a fourth starter, but would have to have some luck keeping the ball in the park to keep his ERA under 4.00.

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