Consistently getting one's butt kicked will lead one to make changes. Sorry for sounding like the Queen, but it's true, and Terry Ryan made a small handful of roster moves last night. At this point, you really just have to throw something at the wall to see if it sticks.
Eric Fryer designated for assignment
Fryer has never hit enough to keep a Major League job, or a 40-man roster spot. By my count this is the second time the Twins have DFA'd Fryer, who hit .167/.286/.222 in seven games and now owns a .235/.316/.324 career triple slash in 152 plate appearances split over five seasons.
With a defensive reputation like Fryer's, even if he refuses his assignment and becomes a free agent there's a good chance he'd catch on for a Triple-A club somewhere. He has Major League experience, and is now a nine-year veteran of the minor leagues. He's 29.
Fryer's removal from the 40-man roster means the Twins now have one spot open. It could be used for a call up, which I'll bring up in a moment, or perhaps a player off of the waiver wire.
Chris Herrmann called up
Taking Fryer's spot on the active roster is another familiar face. Herrmann's Major League production is no better than Fryer's in 2015, as the 27-year old hit .156/.239/.281 in 25 games prior to his demotion. What's kinda funny is that Fryer's career OPS (.639) is still higher than Herrmann's (.542). Which more or less makes this move like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.
For a team that's 5-14 since the All-Star break and 1-5 in August, though, maybe that's the best thing the club can do until Josmil Pinto is fully ready to go. But more on him in a moment. For Herrmann, there's no doubt that this was a promotion of desperation, and perhaps a reflection of the .260/.364/.342 line he put up for the Red Wings in 23 games this year.
Tyler Duffey optioned to Rochester
That seems a bit harsh, but it's not terribly surprising either. The Twins have three games before an off-day on Monday, which means that the fifth starter's spot in the rotation won't come up again until Saturday, August 15. Minnesota coule turn to Jose Berrios or Taylor Rogers for the start, but could they also be considering shifting Trevor May back into the rotation? With just four starters and the addition of right-hander Achter to the bullpen, that relief crew now consists of nine - yes, nine - pitchers.
It's not plausible. It doesn't seem like something the Twins would do. Tommy Milone can return from the disabled list on August 16, which would again give Minnesota six starters. But, yes - if they wanted to the Twins could stretch out Trevor May so that he could give the team 80 or 90 pitches next Saturday.
I doubt it will happen, though. Which leaves us with an exciting possibility: that Jose Berrios could soon be making his Major League debut.
A.J. Achter recalled
Achter has been chillin', just hanging out on the 40-man roster and doing his job tremendously well in Triple-A, waiting for a call. It's finally happened. In 40 games and 44.2 innings for Rochester this year, the 26-year old Achter has posted a 2.82 ERA and 0.85 WHIP, holding opponents to a .167 batting average.
For a player of his age, Achter is an interesting character. A 46th-round draft pick doesn't make The Bigs very often, but he's shown an advanced understanding of his own strengths and weaknesses and it's helped him be very effective at the top levels of the Twins' farm system going back to 2013. He's used to handling late-inning situations for the Red Wings. And even though he's mostly a three-pitch guy (fastball, slider, change), scouting reports also indicate a good curve.
Where Paul Molitor ultimately deploys Achter will be up to the pitcher. There's nobody in the bullpen right now that has taken the proverbial bull by the horns in ownership of any role, outside of Glen Perkins as closer and perhaps J.R. Graham in long relief. If Acther can find a way to get those swinging strikes to translate a bit better to the Major League level, or even just find a way to be consistently effective and in command, there's no reason he can't find his way into a high-leverage role by the end of the year.
Of course, this is all dependent on him not being sent down automatically the next time the club needs to make a roster change.
- The hope is that Tommy Milone will be able to hop right from the disabled list back into the rotation on August 16. His rehab program is underway and is apparently all systems go for the moment.
- Josmil Pinto has been recovering from a concussion since early June, but he's now symptom free and will be able to make his way back into the lineup in the near future provided he passes baseball's concussion protocol. He'll need a lot of work before he's called up to Minnesota, so don't get your hopes up there. A long layoff, not to mention dire months of May and June (regardless of whether those results were concussion-related or not) indicate that he'll need plenty of game time before the Twins consider bringing him up as Kurt Suzuki's backup.
- Byron Buxton will join the Rochester Red Wings today as a part of his rehab process. He'll start off as the designated hitter just to ease him back into the game, but he'll be playing center field this weekend and there are no restrictions on plate appearances or outfield innings to worry about. It sounds like this Triple-A stint will last at least 20 days, after which Buxton will be evaluated. Suffice it to say it's great to have him healthy and back on the field, but we probably won't see him in Minnesota until September.