Taylor's Twins Talk

Focusing on the Twins, with a few ramblings on other things that catch my attention

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Tons of Info

Alright, forget the speculation. Tons of Twins moves tonight, and all sorts of interesting things involved with all of that.

First, let me say I was wrong. I didn't expect the Twins to call anyone up until after the minor league season. That theory was blown out of the water tonight. Second, I didn't expect anyone to be added to the 40-man roster in order to be called up for September. I was wrong on that count as well. I was, however, correct that the Twins wouldn't make any of those moves prior to the midnight deadline to set playoff rosters, because they didn't need to. The injury to Shannon Stewart makes it a moot point, because the Twins can add anyone they would like to the post-season roster. Moving Stewart to the 60-day DL may affect that, however; more on that later.

Here are the important things, which can all be read about on the Twins website here:

1.) Phil Nevin

The Twins pulled the trigger on this deal to pick up Nevin. It's an interesting move, and I assume Nevin will be primarily a designated hitter down the stretch. He may start out at 3B, if Punto plays a lot of 2B in the next week or so to give Luis Castillo time to rest his ankle. In the end, though, I assume Nevin is primarily a DH for the Twins. Rondell White hit a HR tonight, but just hasn't hit well enough to retain his position. Even though Nevin is only hitting .245 this season, this has to be seen as an upgrade offensively.

We don't know what this cost the Twins in the end, because the Cubs are getting the infamous "player to be named" back in this deal. Incidentally, there are a number of ways that this PTBN works. One possibility is that the teams agreed on a player who hasn't been in the league for a long enough time to be traded. I believe players have to have been under contract for a year before they can be dealt. It's possible, then, that the teams know the name of the guy who will be dealt, and we'll hear about it once the service time has been completed. It's also possible the teams agreed on a list of players, with the choice to come later. Or it's possible that the player is injured. Basically, there are a lot of reasons that this transaction involves a PTBN.

To wrap up the Nevin discussion, there's the little issue of getting Nevin on the 40-man roster. The Twins went the simple route, transferring Shannon Stewart to the 60-day DL. Players on the 15-day DL count on the 40-man roster, but players on the 60-day DL don't, so this is basically a freebie for the Twins. Incidentally, this MAY eliminate the Twins ability to use Stewart's roster spot as a free pass to add someone to the playoff roster. Normally, the deadline to set that roster is tonight at midnight, but if a team has an injured player they get a ton of flexibility. I don't know if that extends to players on the 60-day DL as of the deadline, however. In fact, I suspect that it doesn't. So, the free pass might be gone unless Francisco Liriano is unable to come back. And frankly, I'd rather have Francisco than a free pass to add someone else.

2.) Roster Expansion

The Twins are making a statement that they're taking this race seriously, and the decision to call up three players immediately is part of that statement. Two of the names aren't in the least surprising, as Scott Baker gets the call (and, as mentioned earlier tonight, the Saturday start), and Chris Heintz was called up to sit on the bench in case the Twins need a pinch runner late for Mike Redmond.

Conveniently, the Twins also called up that likely pinch runner, in the form of Alexi Casilla. Or, I should say, will call him up tomorrow when the rosters expand. The interesting question is how the Twins will get Casilla on the 40-man roster. By far the most likely answer is that Mike Smith will be waived. In fact, I almost can't fathom a single other possibility. I would be absolutely FLOORED if Casilla got into games as anything other than a pinch runner; he's not ready for the big leagues yet, and would be severely overmatched against MLB pitching. This was being called for by many fans and bloggers, like Seth, who wanted to see some infield speed. I can't disagree with the move.


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