The shuffling of the Titanic's deck chairs continues. Per Dustin Morse, the Twins announced that Tommy Milone cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Rochester, while Casey Fien was claimed off waivers by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Meanwhile, lefthanded starting pitcher Pat Dean and righthanded reliever Brandon Kintzler were both called up from Rochester to take the open roster spots.
The struggles of Milone and Fien were well-documented and it's not too hard to see why they were placed on waivers. For Fien, despite a rebound in his strikeout rate, he was still far too hittable and plenty of his offerings were being sent over the outfield fence. As for Milone, it was simply an issue of the home run too, along with the inability to pitch deep into ballgames.
The Dodgers are one of those teams that is constantly searching for minor league depth so the waiver claim of Fien isn't too surprising. Additionally, having just shy of the highest payroll in the majors means that taking on another $2 million or so of Fien's contract wasn't going to be an issue. However, I also would not be surprised if the Dodgers turn around and DFA him before the end of the season, not due to performance but because the Dodgers just simply try to hoard as much talent as possible.
Regarding Milone, I'm a little surprised he wasn't claimed by another team, especially the Los Angeles Angels who are hurting for rotation depth right now. However, his ~$3 million salary must have been an issue and perhaps his mid-80s fastball scared off some teams as well. The fact that the Twins retained his services is a small victory in my book because I still feel he could be a decent starter in the back of the rotation. Additionally, his removal from the 40-man roster means the Twins now have one spot open. Commence your pipe dream of signing Tim Lincecum now.
As for the call-ups, Kintzler's name may sound familiar to some. The 31-year old reliever spent his entire major league career with the Milwaukee Brewers from 2010 to 2015, recording a 3.38 ERA while inducing ground balls nearly 60% of the time. He's not a sexy replacement for the bullpen, especially when I'm sure many people were hoping for J.T. Chargois or some other hard-throwing young reliever, but he should be an adequate addition as a low-leverage reliever.
Meanwhile, I am absolutely baffled by Pat Dean. An odd addition to the 40-man roster prior to the season in the first place, the Twins' infatuation continues by promoting him to the major leagues. A starting pitcher for all but his first four professional appearances, Dean is a lefty that has always succeeded thanks to a refusal to hand out free passes to 1st base. Beyond that, I can't see any reason to be excited about him. He relies entirely on weak contact, a strategy that can work but needs to be paired with a decent amount of strikeouts which Dean does not accomplish. He won't actually start a game for the Twins unless something goes horrible wrong and should most likely be used either as a LOOGY (Lefty One Out GuY) or a long reliever. Long story short, Dean won't make much of an impact on this team, but I also think the Twins could have found a higher-upside pitcher to replace Tommy Milone.