Taylor's Twins Talk

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

Sunday, August 31, 2008

September Callups Announced

The Twins have announced the seven players who will be joining the team on Tuesday, and there were a few surprises. Just yesterday, I made my predictions on who I thought would be picked. I was right on with my "locks" and "close to locks" categories, and all but one of the players on the callup list was at least mentioned by me as a possibility (and I'll claim partial credit for the one I got wrong -- see below). Here are the names and some thoughts:

Matt Tolbert - IF
An obvious choice. Tolbert was playing well for the Twins before being injured in May, and he finished up the AAA season on a rehab assignment. He's not really a traditional September Callup, because he's just being activated from the DL. Still, the expanded rosters made his return possible without having to send someone else down. Tolbert should get some playing time, but not enough to take time away from the regular starters who have emerged.

Matt Macri - IF
Another virtual lock who played well with the Twins in May and June and should get some opportunities to play at 3B against lefties. Macri hadn't been playing well recently, but there was really no reason not to call him up and give the team some more matchup options.

Bobby Korecky - RHP
Korecky has been the focus of many fans hopes for the callups, because the Twins bullpen has been in need of another guy who could hold down an inning here and there. Like Tolbert and Macri, Korecky made his big league debut earlier this season and (stop me if you've heard this before) played well. Like Tolbert and Macri, I had him listed as a lock to be called up.

Philip Humber - RHP
Humber, who was acquired in the Johan Santana trade, struggled early in the AAA season. Since mid-July, however, he's been excellent. Since this was his last option year, and the Twins were unlikely to simply cut a key part of the Santana deal so quickly, he was virtually a shoe-in to be given a chance next spring to make the team. This September will be a chance for the Twins to start the evaluation process in earnest, and to transition him into a bullpen role. He was listed as "close to a lock" in yesterday's post.

Jason Pridie - OF
Pridie was the third player acquired from the Rays in the Matt Garza-Delmon Young trade this past off-season. He played reasonably well for AAA, but most importantly he's got some speed. He's unlikely to get a lot of playing time as a starter, but I would expect him to be used fairly regularly as a pinch runner. His callup gives the Twins another part to play around with, which is why I had him listed as "close to a lock" in yesterday's post.

Jose Mijares - LHP
Surprise number one was Jose Mijares, who at the beginning of the season looked like he'd miss the entire year after being involved in a car accident at home. Mijares instead made a comeback, and has pitched extremely well in the GCL, Ft. Myers, and New Britain once he came back. Like Humber, Mijares will be out of options going into next season, so this isn't as surprising as it might seem simply because, like Humber, the Twins will use September to start the evaluation process.

Actually, Mijares should have a fourth option year available for next year, much as Humber did this season. The rule is that a player gets a fourth option year if he does not have five full seasons of professional experience. A full season is defined as 90+ days on an active roster, so seasons spent in short season leagues (such as the GCL and Appalachian League) don't count unless the player also spent part of the season in another league and accumulated more than 90 days of play. Mijares had just 3 full seasons entering this year, so he should get the fourth option year. I used information available in the transactions glossary at Cot's to re-familiarize myself with the rule.

Ryan Jorgensen - C
Now, the most surprising pick. I expected the Twins to add a catcher to the roster, and since Jose Morales is injured the Twins were going to have to purchase the contract of a player to add them to the 40-man roster. I thought they would go with Drew Butera, who supposedly is a solid defensive catcher and who will be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft this December. Instead, they went with Jorgensen -- a journeyman who didn't seem to be as valuable to the organization in the long term. Call it a half-surprise in my book.

Surprising Omissions
Brian Duensing and Brian Bass both seemed to be likely additions to the 40-man roster, for different reasons. Bass had some big league experience and I figured the Twins would add him to the 40-man roster for September and then part ways with him again. Duensing is eligible for the Rule 5 Draft in December and almost certainly will have to be added to the roster to prevent him from being taken. It seemed to make sense to add him now and get some big league use out of him in September -- but the Twins might just want to shut him down and rest his arm for awhile.

The same rationale may have gone into not adding Luke Hughes, another Rule 5 eligible player who will probably be added before the Rule 5 draft rolls around. Since he'll be playing winter ball, however, the Twins probably wanted to give him a little bit of time off. Rob Delaney and Alejandro Machado were also both much discussed, and while the addition of neither would have completely surprised me, there were a variety of reasons that I didn't think they'd be added (see the previous post linked above for the reasoning).

Overall, I'm pleased with the selections. I think the Twins added the five players that were obvious additions, and made two other interesting and fairly logical selections. I can't wait to see some of these guys play starting on Tuesday!

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