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Twins Sign RHP Tim Stauffer, Outright Eric Fryer

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Introducing either your new and most likely improved Anthony Swarzak, or your relatively cheap setup reliever.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Today the Twins announced that they signed RHP Tim Stauffer to a 1-year, $2.2 million contract. With the 40-man roster already being full, they outrighted catcher Eric Fryer in a corresponding move.

Stauffer, 32, has spent his entire 9 year career with the San Diego Padres, working as both a starter and reliever. His best year as a starter was in 2011 when he started 31 games spanning 185 2/3 innings with a 3.73 ERA. In spite of that though, his best season overall was actually the year prior when he made only 32 appearances (7 starts), but he maintained an impressive 1.85 ERA over 82 2/3 innings.

He originally wasn't much of a strikeout pitcher, instead being the beneficiary of calling the spacious Petco Park home. However, he oddly has evolved into more of a shutdown reliever after undergoing surgery to repair the flexor tendon in his right elbow in 2012. Before the surgery, Stauffer was a swingman that averaged about 6.5 K/9, but after the surgery he has posted nearly a strikeout per inning while almost exclusively working out of the bullpen.

Even though it seems like Stauffer might be projected to fill the same role Anthony Swarzak had as a long reliever and occasional starter, I've been seeing suggestions that he may actually be replacing Jared Burton as a setup guy for Glen Perkins. The shift to the bullpen hasn't caused his velocity to spike, and he actually continued to pitch as if he was a starter by continuing to feature five pitches. He has the ability to get ground balls with his two-seamer, he has an excellent change-up, and I bet the Twins believe they may have just gotten themselves a steal that will slide in next to Casey Fien in the bullpen.

Departing the 40-man roster is catcher Eric Fryer, who was your typical catch-and-throw receiver that didn't do much with the bat. Losing him doesn't mean much of anything and the fact that no other team claimed him off waivers demonstrates that fact. The only interesting thing to note about Fryer being outrighted is that the Twins now have only two catchers on the 40-man roster in Josmil Pinto and Kurt Suzuki. Yeah, Chris Herrmann is there too, but he caught a single inning last year and I wonder if the Twins weren't attempting to shift him away from the position.

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Bullet points from Jesse

  • Stauffer voluntarily told the Padres about shoulder issues he'd experienced before they drafted him, and took a paycut as a result
  • Padres fans absolutely loved this guy
  • Hot take: this is a good signing for the Twins