After the Twins claimed reliever Oliver Drake off waivers from Toronto, the Twins needed to clear a roster spot for him. Conveniently, fellow reliever Matt Magill was placed on paternity leave to be present for the birth of his child. Now, Magill has used the maximum three days allowed to be away from the team and his return meant the Twins needed to clear a roster spot, which was created by placing Matt Belisle on the 10-day disabled list with right knee chondromalacia. While chondromalacia is a real thing and is colloquially known as “runner’s knee,” we can simply say his knee is sore.
For many Twins fans, this is a relief in the sense that Belisle is off the active roster. After spending two stints with Cleveland where he tallied a 5.06 ERA in 10 2⁄3 innings spread over 8 appearances, he’s been an utter disaster as a Twin. While his strikeout rate has improved back to an adequate 20% of batters faced, he has a 9.15 ERA, 5.75 FIP, .382 batting average allowed, .446 BABIP, 2.29 HR/9, I could go on and on but we all have other things that need to be done today. In summary, he’s been awful and frankly it’s been frustrating that he’s been given such a long leash thanks to his “veteran
presents presence.” I did a double-take when I saw he’s already appeared in 19 games for the Twins this year.
Fortunately, the team will be gaining a significant improvement in Magill. An offseason minor league signing, he initially appeared to be a Quadruple-A reliever that would make a handful of appearances before getting designated for assignment, a la Drew Rucinski from last year. However, Magill has been much better than expected as he has a 3.86 ERA while pairing a mid-90s fastball and sharp breaking pitches with pinpoint control. If anything, the problem is that he’s been forgotten in the bullpen as Paul Molitor has commonly gone without him for four or more days in a row. In fact, he made just five appearances in June and six in July, and although he had an ERA in the mid-5s over that time, the culprit was a plethora of home runs allowed which was reflected in his 3.95 xFIP (FIP but home runs are normalized to the league average) over that time.