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After three days of nuthin', Thursday was a major day in Twins Territory as they moved another center fielder for pitching help, shored up the bullpen, and said they weren't done working.
The Twins went into the Winter Meetings with the general expectation that they would do something, most likely via free agency. Until some rumors started leaking Wednesday night, though, I don't think anyone thought the big move would be trading another center fielder in what is likely their signature move of the off-season.
Ben Revere, who was supposed to replace Denard Span when the latter was shipped to Washington, was also traded to an NL East contender yesterday, going to the Phillies for starting pitchers Vance Worley, 25, and top prospect Trevor May, 23.
Worley joins Scott Diamond in the Twins' starting rotation, and the reliably fantastic Parker Hageman analyzes what we can expect from him. (Nickel version: he can strike people out looking, induce ground balls and limit homers, so long as his elbow works.)
The second piece of the trade is what has led a number of analysts, both professional and armchair, to praise Terry Ryan's work. May was the #2-ranked prospect in the Phillies organization and 69th overall by MLB.com. Despite some control issues, he strikes out pretty much everyone he faces, and will start the season in AA ball. He joins Alex Meyer, the bounty from the Span trade, as tantalizing options for the Twins rotation in 2014-2015.
As for who is going to play center field now? In an interview with 1500ESPN yesterday, Terry Ryan said there would be a competition in Fort Myers between Darin Mastroianni, Joe Benson and Aaron Hicks. My guess is Mastroianni holds down the fort until Hicks is ready for primetime, with the once-coveted Benson acting as a wild card. Whoever it is, he will have a LOT of ground to cover between (presumably) Josh Willingham and Chris Parmelee.
In that same interview, Ryan said that the Twins were still looking to add starting pitching via free agency. Given that the rotation doubled on Thursday and still consists of just two guys? No shit. The FA cupboard is still larded with with arms (Myers, McCarthy, Lannan, Frankie, etc.) that the Twins have allegedly shown interest in. It's fair to expect that one or two of them will be Twins within the next week. Minnesota's 2013 payroll currently sits at $71 million, so there is ample room to add salary, assuming they pay out in $90/$100 million in the coming season.
There were also a handful of minor-ish moves made yesterday. To wit:
- Former Astros outfielder-turned-relief pitcher Jason Lane was signed to a minor league deal. Per Ryan, this was done due to the recommendation of former Twin Gary Gaetti, who managed Lane in minor league ball last year.
- The Twins selected righty reliever Ryan Pressly in the first round of the Rule 5 draft yesterday. Jesse had plenty of analysis on this move yesterday morning, but an important thing to know is that Minnesota needs to keep him on the 25-man roster all season or offer Pressly back to the Sox.
- Minnesota extended Jared Burton and his sketchy, Bon Iver-esque beard for two years and $5.3 million, with an option for a third year.
- Via Doogie "Darren" Wolfson, the Twins signed ANOTHER Australian guy, pitcher Virgil Vasquez.