Exactly one week ago, when news of the Rangers shopping Julio Borbon really started gaining traction, Darren Wolfson reported that there was at least some interest from the Twins. He also sensed that while they wouldn't go so far as to trade for him, they might take a closer look if he hit the waiver wire.
#MNTwins are kicking the tires on OF Julio Borbon, per a team official. My sense: won't trade for, but could possibly claim if in that spot.— Darren Wolfson (@DarrenWolfson) April 11, 2013
Yesterday evening, Jon Heyman reported that Borbon had indeed been placed on waivers.
Borbon is going on waivers. No trade made— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) April 17, 2013
Since the Rangers are in the American League, each AL team will have priority over any National League club, from worst team in the league at the time of the waiver move to the best team in the league. If no AL team makes a claim, the same reverse standings rule would apply for the NL. This means that, depending on the date of the actual move from the Rangers, the Twins will be between third and fifth in line for Borbon.
At 27 years old Borbon is young enough that his skills that are appealing, primarily his speed and his defense, won't need to be a cause for concern. The Twins could make a claim on Julio and be confident that when they needed a strong defensive presence in the outfield, they'd have it. Our own Steve Adams said this yesterday when talking about this subject at MLBTR:
The 27-year-old Borbon is a career .283/.324/.358 hitter whose value comes primarily from a strong glove and plus speed. He's stolen 40 bases in 53 career attempts (75 percent), and both The Fielding Bible and UZR suggest that he's saved seven to eight runs in 1,365 career innings in center field.
Aaron Hicks will continue to get time in center field in the near future, which is probably the right move for now, but with Darin Mastroianni continually unavailable and with the recent injury to Wilkin Ramirez, the Twins are in need of a player who can play center and backup in the corners as well. Oswaldo Arcia's addition to the club just means the Twins have three corner outfielders between him, Josh Willingham, and Chris Parmelee. Borbon's strong defensive abilities would have a definitive role in Minnesota.
Borbon will be arbitration eligible for the first time in 2014.