A Minor Trade?

30 Mar

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

The Pioneer Press’s Phil Miller reported on Saturday that the Twins will be keeping Rule 5 draft pick Jason Jones. To do so, the Twins and Yankees worked out a trade in which the Twins sent minor league reliever Charles Nolte to the Yankees.


When the Twins drafted Jones in the Rule 5 draft at the Winter Meetings in December, it really didn’t surprise me. I read a lot of minor league box scores throughout the season and it seemed like whenever the New Britain Rockcats played Trenton, Jason Jones pitched. And after Jones was promoted to AAA, he made a couple of starts against the Rochester Red Wings. On several occasions, I wrote about how Jones is a prototypical Twins pitcher. He doesn’t walk many. He doesn’t throw terribly hard or strike many out. And he just has kept working his way up the system. It was obvious when the Twins selected him that he would not make the Twins roster, so all along the big questions were, “How do the Twins keep him? Who will they have to trade to the Yankees to be able to keep Jones and put him into the Rochester rotation?”


And now we know the answer to that question. The Twins had to send reliever Charles Nolte to the Yankees.


So, taking a high-level look at this trade, the Twins acquired a 26 year old who will likely be the fourth or fifth starter at AAA, and if there are three or four injuries in the Twins starting rotation this season, he could get a shot. And they got him for a 23 year old reliever who hasn’t pitched above Low A ball. But that reliever had a pretty impressive 2008 season, and earned accolades. In the Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook – 2009, here is what I wrote:

Sleeper Watch! Nolte was the Twins 24th round pick out of San Diego State in 2007. In his two seasons at SDSU, he pitched in 16 games and threw 24.2 innings. He walked 27 and struck out 24. So, it is shocking in some ways that he has become such a dominant reliever, even in the Twins lower levels. After signing, he went 3-0 with a 1.85 ERA in 14 games for the GCL Twins. He was Beloit’s best reliever in 2008. In 44 games, he went 4-3 with a 2.05 ERA. In 70.1 innings, he gave up 63 hits and walked 35. He struck out 75. He gave up just one home run.

So, I don’t think that we should pretend that this is an insignificant trade. The Twins obviously really like Jason Jones and his potential. To acquire him, they had to give up something of value, and Charles Nolte could be very good (obviously depending up on his ability to throw strikes with his sinker). My initial reaction is not to be real happy about this transaction. But then I realize that as good as Nolte was in that Beloit bullpen, he is still behind the likes of Jose Mijares, Rob Delaney, Anthony Slama, Brian Duensing, Zach Ward, Blair Erickson and likely several current minor league starters who could eventually be vying for a spot in the Twins bullpen. So this is a fair trade.



I stayed away from the computer much of the weekend, so today is about catching up, but not too much!! We are one week away today from the Twins opener at home against Seattle. Over the week, there will certainly be plenty to discuss here, so be sure to stop back. Here are a couple of topics from the weekend:

·         Over at Baseball Digest, our Twins writers will spend the week predicting award winners, playoff teams and then several Twins predictions. The series started today with our predictions for the MVP Awards.

·         NOT SO FASTTyler Hissey writes about how the Rays “Fleeced” the Twins in the Garza/Young trade, but I think when the 2009 season comes to an end, people may feel a little differently about it!

·         Another New Twins Blog – Take a few minutes to read the Twins Band Director. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I saw the link, but it really provides a lot of interesting Twins content.

·         Fanatic Jack posted his All Metrodome team which is actually very interesting to think through. I’m sure he’d appreciate your comments on his list. My first thought? That’s the best we can do in LF???

·         According to a report from FanHouse.com, the Twins are quietly looking for an 8th inning guy who throws strikes. The Twins sure like their strike throwers, don’t they? Actually, I like the theory and agree completely. But in the 8th inning, isn’t some level of dominance fairly important too? Is the combination of dominance and control the ideal?

·         Chris Coste was named the Phillies backup catcher over the weekend when the team traded Ronny Paulino. Also, The 33 Year Old Rookie is now available in paperback.


Any other Twins thoughts as the season approaches? Feel free to Comment here.


7 Responses to “A Minor Trade?”

  1. Jeremy March 30, 2009 at 8:57 am #


    Does the trade remove Jones from the 40-man roster? I’ve read that he’s been “assigned” to Rochester, so I’m under the assumption that he cleared waivers and was removed.

    Do you think this gives Dickey a better chance at breaking camp with the big club?

  2. mike wants wins March 30, 2009 at 9:08 am #

    Even if the Twins “win” the trade this year, that makes it 1 year to 1 year, so it’s even at that point. I don’t get why people can’t admit that Young was bad compared to other LFers last year. He just was.

    As for Garza, he faced the 2nd best lineup of hitters of any starting pitcher last year (I think it was fangraphs, but it may have been baseballprosepctus that looked at the hitting that pithers faced, and said that Garza’s numbers look even better, as he faced the 2nd most difficult group of hitters of ANY starter in all of baseball last year).

    As fo the minor deal that just happened. It may be fair, but that doesn’t make it right. How many “starting” pitchers in their mid-20’s does one team need? Even if 4 starters in front of him get hurt, will having Jones out there really be good for the team? He’s older, he takes up a spot on the 40 man roster, and he’s the 8th-12th best starter in the majors/AAA/AA. Adding him does nothing much for the team at all, other than costing them a younger player, and having to make a decision either later this year or next about who to take off the 40 man roster.

    If Jones sees the field, what does that say about Humber and Mulvey (and the trade of Santana)? Given their lack of power, middle infielders, and OBP from their OFers, I’d rather they deal for depth there and see what happens. But, they’ll keep all these pitchers, and for what? They kept them all last year, and added what in the middle of the season again?

  3. rosterman March 30, 2009 at 9:20 am #

    Jason Jones, one of those guys you could return to the Yankees, he would probably egt lost in their system, and materialize as a minor league free agent in 2010. Unless there was the slightest chance he would graduate to the major league team in 2009, or that he was a hot young stud of a prospect, better to have let him walk.

    Although the flip side is that you can only have so many players at any level of ball, and giving someone an opportunity with another organization who is sitting behind a dozen otehr pitchers in the least is a plus for Nolte.

    Tampa was an exceptional team in 2008. If Harris ahd played as much as Bartlett overall, you could basically call that position a wash. Garza is a stud, as is Young. Both have reported “I’m the Real Deal” problems. Garza performed like he should. Young was actually quite good, but far from exceptional overall. I would still like to see the Twins give Young the three-spot in the order when Mauer is on the mend and see if he thrives even more hitting behind the speedsters and in front of Morneau, rather than buried behind Kubel and/or Cuddyer.

    The bigger question to answer about the Tampa/Twins deal. If the teams didn’t have the players in question, where would they have finished. And if they had kept their original players, where would they finish. The Twins could’ve been better off with Garza instead of Hernandez, for example. Then things would have gotten crowded in the rotation. The outfield would’ve been a shambles without Young. Monroe full-time? I think not. McDonald back in the outfield? Nah. Would Bartlett have anchored shortstop for the Twins, yes! Would Harris have proved mroe than adequate for the Rays. Again, yes!

  4. Tyler March 30, 2009 at 10:47 am #


    As you mentioned above, a lot can happen. Right now, though, when you consider the dollars/earned dollars/made scale, it’s clear that the Rays are on the better end of the deal.

    That could easily change, of course, if Young’s talent finally translates into on-field production. But his plate discipline is poor and he hits a hollow .290. The key for him, and for the eventual long-term outcome of this trade, is whether or not he can start hitting for power.

    We shall see.

    Thanks for the link.

  5. TT March 30, 2009 at 5:31 pm #

    I don’t think you need to do some weird evaluation based on dollars earned to know Tampa got more from the deal last year than the Twins. But I think the Twins expected them to. People seem to have forgotten, last year was a rebuilding year for the Twins.

    I would still expect the Twins to at least come out even on this deal. Young it two years younger than Garza, Harris is a year younger than Bartlett and Pridie, while older than Morlan, is probably going to be more valuable.

    I think Bartlett is the kind of guy who won’t age. He isn’t a great defensive shortstop and when his defense drops off his bat isn’t really going to carry well. Harris is more bat than glove, but his bat will hold up. I would not be surprised is he got dealt this week to a team that has more use for that bat.

    The real question for the Twins is whether young lives up to his promise. And that question hasn’t been answered. If he does, then the Twins got the better of the deal.

  6. TT March 30, 2009 at 5:41 pm #

    On Jones, I have a lot more faith in the Twins talent evaluation than the Yankees. Nolte looks like the kind of player who might develop into someone who would take a job away from one of the Yankees high-priced free agents. Hig reward, high risk.

    Jones probably would never get there. But for the Twins, he is another option at AAA. Despite all the talk, the Twins don’t appear to have anyone ready to step into the rotation if Duensing gets moved to the bullpen. All they have is possibilities. Jones is one more possibility.

  7. Jim H March 30, 2009 at 6:13 pm #

    People don’t remember or know that nearly half of Livan’s starts were quality starts. His overall numbers were bad because when he was bad, he was really bad. Garza was not better than the other 5 starters last year, and Bartlet wasn’t better than Punto. Young was better than a full time Monroe which is what we may of ended up with last year with out the trade. I think the trade likely benefited both teams last year.

    I think in the blogsphere, an idea or thought is sometimes run with, without too much to back it up. The idea that the Twins have strong prospects at 3b and are very weak in the middle infield doesn’t seem to hold up that well if you really look at it. Hughes put up a strong couple of months with the bat, but he hasn’t proved he sustain it or actually play at 3b long term. Valencia is a fine prospect but is no sure thing at this point. Both of the Romeroes are still in Class A.

    On the other hand, Tolbert and Castilla have both played in the majors and while both might end as utility types, they have enough talent to be better than that. Plouffe, Tolleson, Dinkelman, and Singleton are all closer to the majors than most of the 3b prospects and while not all will probably make the majors, all seem to be talented enough to potentially be a big league regular in the middle infield. Most could be as good Luis Castillo who was an all star at one point.

    Guessing which prospects will turn out and which won’t is part of the fun of being a fan. Personally though, I think the Twins have a nice stable of prospects all over the field including the middle infield.

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