Shortly after yet another defeat at the hands of the New York Yankees, the Twins announced that they have designated righthanded reliever Tyler Kinley for assignment. As a Rule 5 pick from the Miami Marlins, Kinley had to remain on the active roster for the entire season in order to become a long-term member of the Twins, but now he must clear waivers before being offered back to the Marlins.
The Twins selected Kinley in the Rule 5 draft, prioritizing him over other relievers such as J.T. Chargois, Luke Bard, and Nick Burdi. The selection was especially puzzling as Kinley appeared to be a carbon copy of Chargois and Burdi as he could hit the upper-90s with his fastball. However, that heater was also arrow-straight and hitters showed that it wasn’t difficult to knock it around as Kinley was battered for a 24.30 ERA, 12.19 FIP, and .474 batting average allowed while recording just 10 outs over 4 games. With the bullpen exhausted ever since their extra-inning affair in Puerto Rico last week, there was a need to bring in a fresh arm and Kinley ended up being the odd man out.
Of interest is that Bard, another Rule 5 selection by the Los Angeles Angels, was recently designated for assignment himself. While there are plenty of deserving candidates to join the Twins in Gabriel Moya, John Curtiss, Jake Reed, and others, Bard could be placed on the active roster immediately after rejoining the Twins organization.
Recent Rule 5 relievers for the Twins include Ryan Pressly, J.R. Graham, and Justin Haley. Haley was also designated for assignment midway through the 2017 season, while Graham was let go the season after he fulfilled the Rule 5 requirements. Pressly, of course, is still with the team.
Edit: While perusing the MLB transactions page, I noticed that the Twins have recalled righthander Aaron Slegers. Normally a starter, he’ll serve as a long reliever going forward. He was off to a strong start thus far in Triple-A, carrying a 2.00 ERA (2.52 FIP) in 3 starts spanning 18 innings, though he had struck out just 10 hitters.