While the free agent market for Madison Bumgarner, Hyun-Jin Ryu, and other noteworthy hurlers continues to boil, the Minnesota Twins have snuck off on a side trail to bring back one of the best nicknames of the 2010s.
As first reported by KSTP’s Darren Wolfson, the Twins have brought southpaw reliever Caleb Thielbar back into the organization on a minor league deal.
Welcome back to the #MNTwins organization, reliever Caleb Thielbar. He has agreed to terms on a MiLB deal. H/t to @dogmannnnnnnnnnnn for using his first ever tweet to send me a note to check on. His intel was spot on. Thielbar pitched for the Twins in parts of 2013, '14, and '15.— Darren Wolfson (@DWolfsonKSTP) December 13, 2019
Thielbar broke into the majors with Minnesota in 2013 and quickly became a fan favorite for three reasons:
- he was born in Minnesota;
- he started his career by pitching 20 scoreless innings;
- and his nickname is Meat Raffle, a moniker that spurred a man named Stu from the land of RandBall to write an open letter to Ron Gardenhire after the then-Twins manager preferred calling Thielbar “T-Bar.”
2013 marked an outstanding rookie season, as despite his scoreless innings streaks cut short at (fittingly) a score, Thielbar finished the year with a 1.76 ERA in 49 appearances, walking 14 (excluding IBBs) and whiffing 39, and posting a WHIP of 0.826. But in 2014, his ERA jumped to 3.40 and his WHIP to 1.406, and after just six appearnaces in 2015, the Twins designated Thielbar for assignment.
Since then, Thielbar’s career has consisted of stints in four minor league systems and two separate seasons with the St. Paul Saints, a team he also pitched for in 2011 while trying to make his way up to the majors.
Now he has a chance to return to the other of the Twin Cities.
Despite the thrill of this reunion, some fans aren’t so pleased:
Apparently our hot stove is packed in dry ice.— Tim Snell (@tj_snell) December 13, 2019
Welcome back, Meat Raffle.