Can he provide some help?
Let's get something straight: Erubiel Durazo isn't the solution. He's not a silver bullet, he's not a juggernaut (bitch) and in fact he's not even with the Twins yet. Rochester has him for now. What Durazo does provide is a relatively inexpensive bench solution. At 32 he's had few chances to be an everyday player, but in spite of this posts a career .281/.381/.487 line. It's not intimidating, but it's solid.
Right now, solidarity could solve a few issues. He's a better backup first baseman than Terry Tiffee, if not defensively definitely because of his proven ability to hit major league pitching.
Like any inexpensive rose, the thorns are a little thick. He hasn't seen major league pitching in over a year, since being placed on the DL by the Athletics last summer. This year he'd been signed, released, signed and released by the Texas Rangers before signing a minor league contract with the New York Yankees in May. Now, he's with the Twins. What's been the problem?
Durazo's 2006 Minor League Numbers
Team AB H 2B HR RBI BB SO Avg Obp Slg
Texas 76 22 5 2 12 9 12 .289 .365 .434
New York 62 18 2 2 10 11 12 .290 .400 .419
Minnesota 7 4 2 0 1 1 2 .571 .625 .857
Totals 145 44 9 4 23 21 26 .303 .392 .448
As you can see he hasn't done poorly. So why can't he stick? In Texas he was put on the DL May 9, and besides, Texas didn't have a need for him with Mark Teixeira entrenched at first base and Kevin Mench getting all the at-bats as a designated hitter. New York has Andy Phillips, who came on strong in May and June before hitting poorly this month. Their designated hitter is Jason Giambi, and he's definitely not being displaced.
In addition, Durazo's contract with the Rangers included a clause that stated he was allowed free agency if he wasn't on the Major League roster by a certain date. I'm not sure if this was the case with the Yankees, but I do know that in the offseason there were talks that Durazo may not be ready to play until the middle of 2006 after the elbow issues from last summer. Whatever the case, Durazo's fragility has been a problem, in practice and in contract talks.
With his third team of the year, Durazo may have his best chance to see playing time. A rash of injuries and a lack of reliable bench hitters creates about a perfect of situation as he could ask for. Really...as perfect of a situation as the Twins and we as fans could ask for. We have a professional hitter who is far and away a better hitter than anyone on our bench, save perhaps Mike Redmond.
Year Age AB H 2B HR Avg Obp Slg
1999 25 155 51 4 11 .329 .422 .594
2000 26 196 52 11 8 .265 .373 .444
2001 27 175 47 11 12 .269 .372 .537
2002 28 222 58 12 16 .261 .395 .550
2003 29 537 139 29 21 .259 .374 .430
2004 30 511 164 35 22 .321 .396 .523
2005 31 152 36 6 4 .237 .306 .368
Career 1948 547 108 94 .281 .381 .487
I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking that Erubiel Durazo can do more good for the Twins actally with the Twins as opposed to with the Red Wings. Terry Tiffee continues sub-mediocre offensive performances. While there are also 12 pitchers on the active roster, there's also not a lot of room for pitchers back in Rochester. Luis Rodriguez, who hasn't been playing much recently, is too valuable being able to play the entire left side of the infield. If you make the move, you move Tiffee.
Erubiel Durazo can provide help in the form of a reliable bench hitter and occasional spot starter for Justin Morneau. He can even get at-bats as a designated hitter until the outfield gets healthy (cross your fingers). He's not Kevin Mench or Alfonso Soriano or Aubrey Huff, but he's an improvement over what we have. That's a move in the right direction.