Kendrys Morales signs with the Twins
The reaction to Minnesota dishing out a few million dollars to improve the team has had a nearly universal positive reaction, but there is certainly a portion of the fan base that isn't pleased. Primarily their issues are with reducing playing time to younger players and whether paying for the additional win or two provided by Morales is worth the money, but ultimately the impact of Morales isn't so great that it is going to have any discernible or quantifiable difference on the development of the players involved - primarily Danny Santana and Josmil Pinto.
In my 1,200 word feature on roster fallout from last night (because what else do I have to do on a Saturday night?) I outlined how Pinto and Santana could continue to receive regular playing time in spite of Morales' addition. The frustration over Pinto's lost playing time has little to do with Morales, since Gardenhire hadn't been giving him many DH starts over the last month anyway. So by those terms, sending Pinto to Triple-A to catch almost everyday may not be a bad thing. Not having Pinto in Minnesota makes the Twins a worse team, but if the primary concern isn't winning this year but allowing Pinto to develop, and if playing everyday is the only way that can happen and you don't think Gardy can successfully mix-and-match to keep the young catcher involved, then going to Triple-A is one way to allow that development to happen.
Santana's defensive versatility means his playing time isn't as susceptible to the addition of Morales as Pinto, but continuing to get him regular time would still necessitate Gardy finding ways to keep him involved. Considering that Gardy does like to keep everyone active, it really shouldn't be an issue.
After taking Nick Gordon with the first overall pick, Minnesota took pitchers with their next seven selections. They took 19 pitchers across the three days. The Twins also leaned more heavy on the collegiate side, taking 13 in a row after Gordon and spending 28 of their 40 picks on pitchers overall. Nine of their final 13 picks were prep selections, but considering how difficult some of those players can be to sign, Minnesota's strategy was clear.
Sam Fuld made his return to game action yesterday, starting in center field for the Double-A Rock Cats. He played well, but isn't due to return to the Twins for at least a few days. Once he returns, will the Twins send Aaron Hicks to Triple-A? They've been open about wanting to do so for the last couple of weeks, since he announced he was only going to hit right-handed from now on, but here's the thing: since the "Call to Gardy" meeting, Hicks is hitting .267 with a .400 on-base percentage in 20 games. I'm not implying that there isn't work to be done, but I'm also not entirely convinced that Hicks can't get that work done in Minnesota.
It might be easier for the work to be done in Triple-A. There's less pressure, as it would allow Hicks to work on seeing pitching exclusively from the right side without the fortunes of the Major League club riding on his results. But replacing Hicks with Fuld is likely to, as odd as it feels, make the team worse. As exciting as he is, Fuld will neither hit .267 nor post a .400 on-base percentage.
The Twins still have interest in Jon Jay, which would be a better replacement for Hicks than Fuld. With the aggressive nature of the Morales signing, it wouldn't surprise me to see the Twins pull off a trade for another center fielder in the next few days.
Early Monday evening, the Orioles announced that they had purchased the contract of Johan Santana. They moved him to the 15-day disabled list, and it would only be a matter of days until Baltimore activated him. He was sent on a rehab assignment.
Just four days later, on Friday night, it was announced that Santana tore his achilles tendon and was out for the year. If he does attempt to continue his career and make another comeback, he won't pitch for anyone until 2015. By that point it will have been three years since Santana made a Major League appearance, and he'll be 36 years old. I'll always wish the best for Johan, but right now his body is working against him.
See you back here in a couple of hours for the game!