Taylor's Twins Talk

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

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Bye Bye Randy & DL News

Randy Choate had a terrible spring for the Twins, but rather than accept an assignment in the minor leagues, he's elected for free agency (which as a veteran player he had a right to do), reports Joe Christensen this morning. This means that Choate becomes the first player acquired over the winter to say goodbye to the Twins for good, and I doubt he'll be the last over the next week as rosters shake out.

Normally, if a player struggles as badly as Choate did, it would make sense to take a minor league assignment rather than elect for free agency, simply because teams aren't likely to be knocking your door down to get to you if you didn't prove yourself in the spring. Choate's situation was a little different, however, and I think he made the right decision. First off, I'm not convinced that the Twins would have actually assigned Choate to a minor league team. They have a lot of lefty relievers who are already slated to pitch in Rochester, and Choate doesn't make sense anywhere else. I think he was being kept around for insurance purposes in case a spot opened up, but when push came to shove in a week, I think he would have been released. Second, it's no secret that the Twins have a pretty darned good bullpen. Choate wasn't going to find himself in a position where the Twins were restructuring the 'pen in a month. Instead, he would have needed to hope for an injury, and specifically an injury to Dennys Reyes. If Mike Venafro doesn't make the team, then Choate would have been even less likely to make it to the majors. It just didn't make sense for him to hang around.

I wish him luck at latching on with a team that's more likely to need his services -- I hear the Red Sox could use some help in the bullpen . . .

Finally, the Twins made three completely expected roster moves this morning, placing Lew Ford and Alejandro Machado on the 15-Day DL and Francisco Liriano on the 60-Day DL. Because you can place a player on the DL retroactive to the last time that player played in a game, Lew Ford is already eligible to come off of the DL -- as soon as he's healthy, in other words, the Twins would have the option of activating him. Machado also hasn't played in an official game this spring, so I suspect the same applies to him; however, Machado is more likely to be placed on the 60-Day DL after he undergoes surgery for his torn labrum and the Twins are more certain about how long he'll be out.

As a practical matter, today's moves mean that the Twins now have an opening on the 40-man roster, just waiting to be filled by either Sidney Ponson or Mike Venafro.

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