Twins Transaction Thoughts

9 Nov

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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.
    • 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.  

What do you think? Send me an e-mail, or leave your Comments here.


15 Responses to “Twins Transaction Thoughts”

  1. Greg November 9, 2009 at 11:49 pm #

    Can”t beleive I am the first one tyo comment. I like Morillo allot. Nobody throws harder and we all would like a power arm in the pen…Maybe Andy has some magic and can harness him. tough to lose Gabinoe but the Twins are loadewd with pitching…he does well he does well.

    who’s spot would he take.

    why palyers aren”t offered in trade is baffling than just lose them. I guess teams are just as savy when someone is offered.

    We lose them, then we find them…

    Win Twins!

  2. USAFChief November 10, 2009 at 12:22 am #

    The minor leagues are filled with Armando Gabinos.

    They are not filled with 98 MPH fastballs.

    If the choice is one or the other, it’s a no brainer. Gabino has a CHANCE to be the 12th man on a pitching staff.

    Morillo has a CHANCE to be an impact pitcher.

  3. David November 10, 2009 at 5:00 am #

    In the grand scheme of things, none of these transactions mean a hoot. Neither Garbino nor Morillo will ever excel at the major league level. At 27 they are what they are.

  4. roger November 10, 2009 at 7:10 am #

    As above Seth, I see Gabino as a nice minor league guy who has very limited upside in the big leagues. Maybe he will surprise us, but not likely imo. I think we have heard enough to know they wanted to keep Morillo…hoping they can reduce his walks.

    The problem I see is that there still are 5-6 guys they must add to the 40-man roster and as of the free agents coming off the roster only have spots for 2 or 3. I expect we are gonna see a couple guys leaving in the December Rule V draft.

  5. Han Joelo November 10, 2009 at 9:16 am #

    Interesting waiting game with the 40 man decisions. I have a couple of theories about what is going on:

    1)You don’t want to outright all your guys at once, too soon before the deadline.
    Now that Gabino has been claimed, that means Baltimore has one less spot to claim others. Drop in the bucket, I know, but it adds up across the league. You definitely wait till the end to outright the best guys.

    2)The best guys have trade value anyway, and are being shopped. Maybe this 15 days isn’t as exciting as the trade deadline, but it is pretty interesting to watch. Every team has a lot of decisions to make.

  6. travistalks November 10, 2009 at 12:02 pm #

    It is not as simple as everyone wants to make it out to be. Morillo is out of options so they would have to put him on the major league roster to keep him. Bottom line is there already is not enough spots for all the bullpen arms. Twins will probably go with 12 pitchers out of spring training with 5 starters and 7 relievers.
    1. Nathan
    2. Guerrier
    3. Crain
    4. Mijares
    5. Rauch

    Question Marks for 2 spots
    Bonser(Out of Options)
    Morillo(Out of Options)
    Perkins(Probably will be traded but in organization today)

    That is 8 guys for 2 spots with either Duensing or Liriano as the 5th starter and the other in the bullpen. So that is 7 guys for 1 spot.
    I can see the Twins starting Neshek in Fort Myers in extended spring training to finish his rehab from Tommy John surgery. Manship and Swarzak will more than likely be in AAA as they have options.
    However, I can not see the Twins letting Bonser go as he can be a very good reliever so in my opinion Morillo won’t have a spot so I see no reason to add him. In my opinion the opening day pitching rotation will consist of:
    1. Baker
    2. Slowey
    3. Blackburn
    4. Pavano
    5. Liriano


    When Neshek is ready Twins will have to look into either trading Bonser or going with only 1 lefthander in the bullpen. So like I said I see no room for Morillo

  7. Joel Thingvall November 10, 2009 at 12:21 pm #

    Interesting choice of keeping Morillo, who essentially can’t be sent back to the minors without doing a waiver claim.

    But…and it’s a big but….he’s that reserve if one or two guys get injured in spring training AND if Neshek needs to start the season in the minors. So, it’s always nice to have someone on the roster who could slip into the back of the bullpen in an emergency. Plus, you always need a name or two on the 40-man to trim, if need be, come the end of spring training and you add that rookie prospect or free agent signee.

    And, who knows, maybe Japan WILL buy him from the Twins!

    And, in the end, he might just stick with the Twins if sent down (and no one claims him) because the Twins have shown a little faith in him, very little, but still a little!

  8. gobbledygookguy November 10, 2009 at 12:27 pm #

    there will be plenty of comings and goings on the 40 man roster between now and opening day, no need to get very excited at this point.

  9. sam November 10, 2009 at 12:53 pm #

    is huber free to play for some other team?

  10. TT November 10, 2009 at 8:49 pm #

    ” Morillo is out of options so they would have to put him on the major league roster to keep him. ”

    Morillo passed through waivers last year. So its not at all impossible he would pass through waivers again next spring. He may be able to declare himself a free agent, but doing that at the end of spring training has the risk that he won’t find a better spot than he has with the Twins. If he has harnessed that 100 mph fastball by the end of spring training, he is going to be in the bullpen ahead of someone.

  11. clyde November 10, 2009 at 11:04 pm #

    Ploufe to the mound?

  12. travistalks November 11, 2009 at 6:31 am #

    Tell me exactly who he will beat out for a spot because I can’t find anybody I would throw off for him. Think about what you want to say before you say it because it doesnt make sense. Its one thing to say i want him on the team, but another to say how you would do that. so im curious how you would make room for him.

  13. GBG November 11, 2009 at 9:18 am #

    I think TT’s point is that if Morillo CAN show that he can throw the heater for strikes, you make room for him. Who goes? Well, that’s why they have spring training and don’t play the game on paper!

  14. Jeremy November 11, 2009 at 4:58 pm #


    I’m a little surprised to see the Twins release Ozzie Lewis. I watched him in person earlier this season, and he looked lost – but the fact that they’ve given up so early leaves me a little shocked, especially since they had another year to make a decision on him… wondering if he’s decided to give football another shot?

    I also saw the Twins released Jeff Christy. That was a little less surprising. Was it you that said a few years ago that he had no right going in round 6? Well, if it was, you were right.

  15. Jeremy November 11, 2009 at 5:54 pm #

    Hmmm… throw football out the window. Have you heard anything?

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