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Late last week, the Twins announced that they had signed reliever Clay Condrey to a major league contract. He had been non-tendered by the Philadelphia Phillies. It came a day after the Twins announced they had taken Bobby Keppel off of the 40 man roster. For the Twins, this is certainly an upgrade.
Condrey is a model of persistence. In 1996, Condrey was drafted in the 96th round by the Yankees. He didn’t sign, but in 1998, he signed as a free agent with the San Diego Padres. In August of 2002, he made his big league debut. Following the 2003 season, he signed with the Philadelphia Phillies. He remained a starting pitcher at AAA Scranton/Wilkes Barre in 2004 and 2005. In 2006, he moved to the bullpen and after 39 AAA games, he was promoted to the Phillies. He has been part of the Phillies bullpen the past three years as well.
While with the Phillies, Condrey and Chris Coste spent a lot of time together as teammates. The two share a lot in common in their careers. Coste recently signed with the New York Mets. After the Twins announced the signing of Condrey, I sent Coste a message to see what he could tell me about the Twins new acquisition.
SethSpeaks: So, how will Condrey fit into the Twins clubhouse?
Chris Coste: He has always been a great teammate and a guy that will do anything to help his team. He treats his team like the military, meaning all of his teammates are like brothers and he will always have their backs.
SethSpeaks: Having caught him many times over the past five seasons, what would a scouting report on Condrey be?
Chris Coste: He is mainly a groundball type pitcher meaning he is a sinker baller. His secondary pitches include a cutter, slider, and a changeup. His go-to pitch is definitely the sinker, but all of his pitches are quality and can be used at any time.
He will not strikeout a lot of guys because he has a knack of getting quick outs by way of the routine ground ball. He would prefer to break a guy’s bat in pieces with one pitch rather that throw more pitches to strike him out.
SethSpeaks: So, what role do you think Condrey could fill for the Twins?
Chris Coste: He could be used in any role other than closer. He can be used in long relief if the starter gets knocked around early, and he could fill in as a setup guy in the short term as well. If a ground ball double play is needed, Clay is the guy. He has always preferred to be the anonymous soldier in the bullpen that can be called upon at any time to get the job done. He will always take the ball and never complain about anything.
Obviously we can all look at the stats and see a guy who has struck out just 5.5 batters per nine innings in his big league career. I thought it would be interesting to get some perspective and information on him from a guy who not only was a friend and teammate of Condrey’s, but also spent a lot of time as his catcher. If you have any questions or comments, please comment here.