It's just been announced that the Twins placed outfielder Joe Benson on outright waivers and that he was quickly snatched up by the Texas Rangers.
At first it's another odd move in a long line of curious decisions, but one should look no further than Benson's 2012 and 2013 seasons. Regarded as one of the better prospects in the organization for the past couple years, Benson made his major league debut in 2011 after hitting .285/.388/.495 in Double-A. You may remember that he was promoted along with Chris Parmelee as both skipped Triple-A. However, while Parmelee flourished in September, Benson struggled by hitting only .239/.270/.352 with awful plate discipline.
2012 was supposed to be the year that Benson would hit at Triple-A for a bit and then possibly achieve another call-up, but he fought injuries and ineffectiveness, eventually being sent down all the way to the rookie level and High-A. He did hit well down there in limited time, but he couldn't crack a .200 batting average in either Double-A or Triple-A while failing to log even 300 plate appearances last year.
This season was more of the same for Benson, as he still was not hitting over .200 in 164 plate appearances (.192/.256/.285 to be exact). Also, his plate discipline (a bit similar to Aaron Hicks in which he would strike out a ton but also draw plenty of walks) continued to deteriorate as his walk and strikeout rates were the worst they've ever been in his career. I wonder if the Twins were trying to sneak Benson through waivers, and they nearly succeeded until the Texas Rangers claimed him. As Rhett Bollinger points out, the Rangers were one of the last teams to have a shot at claiming Benson, so it was clear that most teams did not find him to be an appetizing player to acquire.
The loss of Benson appears to further cement the fact that Aaron Hicks is this team's center fielder, as Benson was originally seen as the dark horse for the center field competition this spring training. Instead, he now joins the Rangers, who have a current rotation of Craig Gentry and Leonys Martin as their center fielders.
Finally, cats have nine lives. Drew Butera apparently has ten.
Where's Oswaldo? Well, he's on a plane back to Rochester, it seems.
Needing to clear a 25-man roster spot so P.J. Walters can start Saturday against Detroit, the Twins settled on optioning outfielder Oswaldo Arcia to Triple-A Rochester, though a corresponding 40-man roster move still needs to be made. It seems rather odd that the Twins would demote a guy that's currently hitting .255/.318/.449 with 4 homers in just 107 plate appearances this season, but the truth is that Arcia has only had 3 hits in his last 34 plate appearances, with 4 walks and 11 strikeouts in that span.
However, one could easily argue that Chris Parmelee - batting .207/.290/.306 after Friday's game - is more "worthy" of a demotion than Arcia. For whatever reason, the Twins disagree, and Arcia is the one that draws the short straw. Brian Dozier, Chris Colabello, or even Eduardo Escobar could have been other options for the demotion, but with Pedro Florimon suffering a sprained finger on Thursday, the Twins are a little short on infielders right now. Still, it should be noted that Florimon did enter Friday's game as a defensive replacement after Colabello pinch hit for Escobar.
I don't think Arcia will stay down in the minors for long. Eventually, the Twins will realize that while Parmelee has shown he can handle the outfield defensively, his bat simply is not an asset and they will need Arcia back in the lineup.
To be honest, however, the sign that Arcia's bat needs to be in the lineup should have been evident after being one-hit on Friday.