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Catching up with old friends: Former Twins on the free agent market

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What’s up, Carlos Gomez?

Minnesota Twins v Los Angeles Dodgers
Sorry, no Terry Mulholland update. :(
Photo by Robert Leiter/MLB Photos via Getty Images

The Minnesota Twins are getting into a great era of baseball (no jinx) with some amazing young talent and veteran free agents making up the roster. But have you thought of how you, as a fan, got to where you are today—through all the years of pain and toil that is Minnesota baseball? And what happened to those players from those good ol’ days? You’ve reached the right place.

Below are former Twins players from years past that were in free agency this year. Many hours went into gathering this information, mostly while I was sitting at my desk at work, so I’d like to thank the company I work under for giving me the time to do this, even though you didn’t know I was doing this. I don’t even think anyone at work knows that I write here. Doing this was a lot of fun and I found out a couple of fun facts and tidbits about a few players here - and even a surprise retirement. Also, some good and not-so-good memories re-surfaced. Heck, there might be a fun Twinkie Town article or two from years ago.

I mention “last year’s update” a few times along the way, so here’s the link to that: Catching up with old friends: Former Twins in free agency this offseason

Below are the players in (hopefully) alphabetical order. Included is their position and the year(s) they were with Minnesota in parentheses. Following that is how they joined the Twins, how they left the Twins, and where they are now. Then I wrote a little bit of what they have been doing since they left Minnesota.

Fernando Abad, P (2016)

Joined: via free agency (minors deal)
Left: traded to Boston Red Sox (for Pat Light)
Now: Washington Nationals (minors deal)
Yes, we’re starting this off with Abad puns. After departing Minnesota for Boston, Abad pitched pretty okay as a reliever, putting up a 3.99 ERA in 66 games. However, he wasn’t resigned after the 2017 season and ended up in the big-league camp with the Philadelphia Phillies for Spring Training 2018. He ended up being released and signed a minor-league deal with the New York Mets and then did Abad thing and got suspended 80 games for testing positive for Stanozolol (sound familiar?), so the Mets released him. He landed with the Long Island Ducks (Atlantic League), putting up a 0.48 ERA (0.96 RA9) in 18.2 innings of work (not Abad). He signed a minors deal with the San Francisco Giants for 2019 and ended up pitching 13 innings of 4.15 ERA ball. He’s with the Nationals this year on a minor-league deal.

Buddy Boshers, P (2016-2017)

Joined: via free agency (minors deal)
Left: claimed off waivers by Houston Astros
Now: unsigned
Our buddy named Buddy was DFA’d by Minnesota and picked up by the Astros before the 2018 campaign started. He hopped around a couple times and landed with the Toronto Blue Jays for the 2019 season, where he turned in a 2.78 ERA over 32.1 innings with their AAA affiliate and a 4.05 ERA in 20 innings in the big-leagues. The lefty was outrighted by the Canadian team after the season ended and he elected free agency, which is where he stands today.

Drew Butera, C (2010-2013)

Joined: via trade from New York Mets (with Dustin Martin for Luis Castillo)
Left: via trade to Los Angeles Dodgers (PTBNL)
Now: Colorado Rockies (minors deal)
Sweet Drew has floated around as a journeyman-type catcher for the Dodgers, Angels, Royals, and Rockies since leaving the Twins. He hasn’t logged any more innings on the mound since our last update. He batted .163/.229/.233 with three RBI for the Rockies last year - even seeing a little time at first base - and he’s back in camp with them this year as a non-roster invitee.

Jason Castro, C (2017-2019)

Joined: via free agency (3 years, $24.5 million)
Left: via free agency
Now: Los Angeles Angels (1 year, $6.85 million)
After spending three years with the Twins, Castro signed a one-year deal with the Angels. I don’t know what he’s done since leaving the Twins. I’m not that nosy.

Juan Centeno, C (2016)

Joined: via free agency (minors deal)
Left: via free agency
Now: Boston Red Sox (minors deal)
Another journeyman-type catcher, Centeno has spent the past three season with the Astros (yes, in 2017), Rangers, and Red Sox; and their AAA affiliates. Since leaving Minnesota, he’s amassed 39 games and batted .192/.250/.288 with three homers and nine RBI. He’s back with Boston on a minors deal.

Bartolo Colon, P (2017)

Joined: via free agency (minors deal)
Left: via free agency
Now: Acereros de Monclova (Mexican League)
Big Sexy signed on with the Texas Rangers for 2018 and pitched to a 5.78 ERA in 28 games (24 starts) and still posting a K/BB of 3.24. It doesn’t look like he pitched for anyone in 2019, but he signed on with a team in the Mexican League for 2020. Fun fact: his similarity score on Baseball-Reference: Jack Morris. You gotta love it.

C.J. Cron, 1B (2019)

Joined: claimed off waivers from Tampa Bay Rays (1 year, $4.8 million)
Left: non-tendered
Now: Detroit Tigers (1 year, $6.1 million)
Another player from the Bomba Squad that I didn’t care to e-mail or telegraph, sorry. Cron was non-tendered and joined Gary’s Gang over in Detroit on a one-year deal. I guess it’s a job.

Brian Dozier, 2B (2012-2018)

Joined: drafted in 2009
Left: traded to Los Angeles Dodgers (for Luke Raley, Devin Smeltzer, and Logan Forsythe)
Now: unsigned
BullDozier has seen some time in the playoffs, but not much, since departing the Twins. He didn’t fare too well with the Dodgers after being traded (.183/.300/.350, 5 HR, 20 RBI). He signed on with the Washington Nationals and won a ring after batting .238/.340/.430 with 20 homers and 50 RBI in the regular season. He was granted free agency and is now unsigned. (Sad.)

Zach Duke, P (2018)

Joined: via free agency (1 year, $2.15 million)
Left: traded to Seattle Mariners (for Chase De Jong, Ryan Costello)
Now: unsigned
The lefty hurler ended up with a 5.52 ERA in 14.2 innings after being traded to the Mariners. He signed on with the Cincinnati Reds for 2019, showing up in 30 games for the club and pitching to a 5.01 ERA (6.47 FIP) in 23.1 innings of work. Ouch. No wonder he’s not signed yet.

Sam Dyson, P (2019)

Joined: traded from San Francisco Giants (for Prelander Berroa, Kai-Wei Teng, Jaylin Davis)
Left: non-tendered
Now: unsigned
Dyson was rightfully non-tendered by the Twins at the end of the season. He’s been the focus of a domestic abuse situation during the winter, in addition to his injury, so unless he is found innocent and healthy, I imagine he will not be signed by any clubs in the foreseeable future.

Logan Forsythe, 2B (2018)

Joined: via trade from Los Angeles Dodgers (for Brian Dozier; with Luke Raley, Devin Smeltzer)
Left: via free agency
Now: Philadelphia Phillies (minors deal)
Forsythe latched on with the Rangers in their old, yet still nice-looking ball park for last year’s campaign. He batted to a .227/.325/.353 line with seven homers and 39 RBI while appearing at all four infield positions throughout the season. He’s signed a minors deal with the Phillies and is an NRI this Spring Training.

Kyle Gibson, P (2013-2019)

Joined: drafted in 2009
Left: via free agency
Now: Texas Rangers (3 years, $30 million)
TJ might be a Texas fan now as his favorite pitcher for the Twins entered free agency and inked a three-year deal with the Rangers. This winter, Gibson gave away some signed Twins gear as a part of “Twins Gear for Good” with proceeds going to Gillette Children’s and Big League Impact. As much as I poke fun at TJ for being a big fan of Gibson, his leadership and generosity will be missed.

Carlos Gomez, OF (2008-2009)

Joined: via trade from the New York Mets (for Johan Santana; with Deolis Guerra, Philip Humber, Kevin Mulvey)
Left: via trade to Milwaukee Brewers (for J.J. Hardy)
Now: retired
Every time I think of Carlos Gomez, I think of Game 163 in 2009 at the Metrodome against the Detroit Tigers, him rounding third base to score the walk-off run. He announced his retirement while finishing off in a winter league this season. His last major-league action was with the Mets and did not do too well, but was still able to pull off three homers and 10 RBI in 34 games with the team. He pitched 0.1 innings for the Rays back in 2018, allowing three earned runs and walking four batters and balking twice. Okay, maybe I shouldn’t’ve mentioned that.

Luke Hughes, INF (2010-2012)

Joined: drafted as an amateur free agent in 2002
Left: claimed off waivers by Oakland Athletics
Now: retired
After getting claimed by the Athletics and going 1-for-13 he was very much sent down to the minors, where he put up a respectable .264 average while mashing six homers and notching 28 RBI between Oakland and Toronto affiliates. A native of Australia, he returned home and played for the Perth Heat from 2012 to 2017 with a detour to the Atlantic League with the Lancaster Barnstormers. His best season was a .327/.460/.660 showing in 2017. He has spent the past two season with the Melbourne Aces and has announced his retirement.

Brandon Kintzler, P (2016-2017)

Joined: via free agency (minors deal)
Left: traded to Washington Nationals (for Tyler Watson, international bonus slot money)
Now: Miami Marlins (1 year, $3.25 million)
The 2017 All-Star spent parts of two season with the Nationals (3.54 ERA/3.63 FIP, 68.2 IP, 3 SV) before being traded to the Chicago Cubs in 2018. His 2019 season was very good from the bullpen, as he pitched to a 2.68 ERA/3.56 FIP and 3.69 K/BB in 57 innings of work. He hit free agency and signed a one-year deal with the Marlins.

Francisco Liriano, P (2005-2011)

Joined: via trade from San Francisco Giants (with Joe Nathan and Boof Bonser; for A.J. Pierzynski)
Left: via trade to Chicago White Sox (for Eduardo Escobar, Pedro Hernandez)
Now: Philadelphia Phillies (minors deal)
I won’t recap Liriano’s entire time post-Twins, but you can read it here if you’d like. If you recall, he did spend some time with the 2017 Astros team. He spent made the Pittsburgh Pirates bullpen in 2019 and pitched in 69 (nice) games, posting a 3.47 ERA/4.53 FIP. He’s signed a minors deal with the Phillies.

Tommy Milone, P (2014-2016)

Joined: via trade from Oakland Athletics (for Sam Fuld)
Left: via free agency
Now: Baltimore Orioles (minors deal)
I honestly thought Mommy Tilone retired. I did. I never heard about him or anything. He apparently pitched in 23 games for the Mariners last year, putting up a 4.76 ERA in 111.2 innings of work with a 4.09 K/BB. He’s an NRI with the Orioles this spring, wearing number 69 (nice....?).

Mike Morin, P (2019)

Joined: via free agency (minors deal)
Left: via trade to Philadelphia Phillies (for “cash considerations”)
Now: Milwaukee Brewers (minors)
Another 2019 player, but one that was given the boot and exposed to waivers during the purge of the bullpen. The Twins ended up trading Morin for cash considerations to the Phillies, where he worked 28 innings in 29 games. A 5.79 ERA, 4.61 FIP, and a 1.214 WHIP lead to him being granted free agency. He signed a minors deal with the border rivals in the Brewers and is in their major-league camp this spring.

Logan Morrison, 1B/DH (2018)

Joined: via free agency (1 year, $5.5 million)
Left: via free agency
Now: Milwaukee Brewers (minors)
After a fantastic showing for Minnesota in 2018 (remember when he hit .186/.276/.368 in 95 games for them?), he spent some time in the minors with the Yankees last season and then was released. He signed on with the Phillies and was with their AAA affiliate as well. He was called up for 29 games and slashed a line of .200/.263/.400 with two homers and three RBI. He’s also with the Brewers on a minor-league deal and is an NRI in their camp. If you thought you heard his name this winter, you did. He came out and said that other teams cheat using film to steal signs.

John Ryan Murphy, C (2016)

Joined: via that infamous trade from the New York Yankees (for Aaron Hicks)
Left: via trade to Arizona Diamondbacks (for Gabriel Moya)
Now: Pittsburgh Pirates (minors deal)
J.R. spent parts of three seasons (2017 through 2019) with the Diamondbacks and their AAA affiliate, the Reno Aces. He got the most playing time with the big-league club in 2018, where he batted .202/.244/.375 with nine homers and 24 RBI. He was traded to the Atlanta Braves for cash at the trade deadline, but before that, he pitched three sterling innings in relief for the DBacks, allowing nine earned runs, three homers, and three walks. Hey, at least he didn’t balk two times like Gomez. He’s with the Pittsburgh Pirates on a minor-league deal and is also in their major-league camp for Spring Training.

Pat Neshek, P (2006-2010)

Joined: drafted in 2002
Left: claimed off waivers by San Diego Padres
Now: unsigned
Since being claimed off waivers by the Padres, Neshek has spent time with the Athletics, St Louis Cardinals, Astros, Rockies, and Phillies. He also was with the Orioles’ AAA club for part of a season. He was an All-Star in 2014 (1.87 ERA, 2.37 FIP, 71 games, 67.1 IP, 6 SV, 7.56 K/BB) for the Cardinals and in 2017 (1.59 ERA, 1.86 FIP, 71 games, 62.1 IP, 11.5 K/BB) for the Phillies before being traded to Colorado. His 2018 and 2019 was derailed by a right shoulder strain and a left hamstring strain. At 39 years old, he is an unsigned free agent.

Eduardo Nunez, INF (2014-2016)

Joined: via trade from New York Yankees (for Miguel Sulbaran)
Left: via trade to San Francisco Giants (for Adalberto Mejia)
Now: New York Mets (minors deal)
Nunez was traded to the playoff-bound Giants in 2016 and bated .269/.327/.418 with four homers and 20 RBI. He was ripping the cover off of the ball in 2017: .308/.334/.417 with four homers and 31 RBI and was traded to the Red Sox, where he continued his hot hitting (.321/.353/.539, 8 HR, 27 RBI). His next two season with Boston didn’t go quite as well (combined .255/.277/.366, 12 HR, 64 RBI) and he was released by the Red Sox in the middle of last season. He’s with the Mets on a minor-league deal with the big-league camp.

Blake Parker, P (2019)

Joined: via free agency (1 year, $1.8 million)
Left: designated for assignment; elected free agency
Now: Philadelphia Phillies (minors)
Hey, another pitcher from that bullpen purge! Parker declined the assignment from the Twins and joined Morin by signing with the Phillies. He, too, put up an ERA north of five (5.04, to be exact, and a 4.69 FIP), but in 25 innings of work, he posted a 11.2 K/9 and 5.17 K/BB. He was granted free agency, but re-signed with the Phillies on a minor-league deal and is also in their big-league camp this spring.

Martin Perez, P (2019)

Joined: via free agency (1 year, $3.5 million)
Left: via free agency
Now: Boston Red Sox (1 year, $6 million + club option)
Another pitcher from 2019! Perez and the crazy Red Sox agreed to a one-year deal with a club option for 2021. He changed his number for some reason and asked for help deciding on a new number via Twitter and TeamCrazyMatt and I chimed in. Well, he didn’t take our advise as he decided on number 54.

Addison Reed, P (2018)

Joined: via free agency (2 years, $16.75 million)
Left: designated for assignment
Now: unsigned
You want info on more pitchers from 2019? Will Reed count? He pitched five games in Rochester (14.40 ERA and I’ll stop there) before being released. Last thing heard about Reed is purchasing a mansion in Arizona for $3.525 million, paying in cold-hard cash. It comes with “custom light fixtures,” (what does that even mean?) “marble countertops, multiple fireplaces, and a temperature-controlled wine room”. But wait! There’s more! “Grounds ... include a patio, a built-in barbecue area, and a pool cabana”. Livin’ the dream.

Fernando Rodney, P (2018)

Joined: via free agency (1 year, $4.25 million)
Left: via trade to Oakland Athletics (for Dakota Chalmers)
Now: unsigned
The Fernando Rodney Experience hit the road after being traded to Oakland, where he played the rest of 2018 and part of 2019. He pitched 14.1 innings in 17 games for the Athletics, where he put up a 9.42 ERA (5.59 FIP) and Oakland promptly released him. The Nationals signed him on and he went on to pitch to a 4.05 ERA in 38 games with a 9.5 K/9. He appeared six times in the postseason and won a ring with the World Series Champions. He’s currently unsigned, but still garnering interest at 42 years old.

Hector Santiago, P (2016-2017)

Joined: via trade from Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (with Alan Busenitz; for Alex Meyer, Ricky Nolasco, and cash)
Left: via free agency
Now: Detroit Tigers (minors)
Since our last update, Nolasco appeared in eight games for the Mets (6.75 ERA, 8 IP, 1.875 WHIP) in 2019 and was released. He was signed on by the White Sox, where he pitched to a 6.66 ERA (6.10 FIP) with a 11.9 K/9 but a 1.909 WHIP. He’s with Gardy’s Gang on a minors deal with an invite to big-league camp.

Jonathan Schoop, 2B (2019)

Joined: via free agency (1 year, $7.5 million)
Left: via free agency
Now: Detroit Tigers (1 year, $6.1 million)
Schoop and Cron are basically twins (not the Minnesota team) at this point. Both signed deals that were announced on the same day to the same team for the same year and amount of money. Have fun being “Schoopy”, Schoop!

Kohl Stewart, P (2018-2019)

Joined: drafted in 2013
Left: outrighted; elected free agency
Now: Baltimore Orioles (1 year, $800,000)
Yet another pitcher from 2019. Stewart was outrighted and elected free agency in November. Before the New Year, he was signed by the Orioles and will have a chance to compete for a spot in their rotation. Good luck, buddy.

Anthony Swarzak, P (2009-2014)

Joined: drafted in 2004
Left: non-tendered
Now: Philadelphia Phillies (minors)
Swarzak is now 34 years old an an unsigned free agent. He spent time in Cleveland, the A.L. side of Chicago, both New York teams, Cleveland, Seattle, Milwaukee, and Atlanta. I bet he has a lot of frequent flier miles. He had a good 2017 with the White Sox and Brewers: 2.33 ERA (2.74 FIP), 77.1 IP, 2 SV, 10.6 K/9, 0.7 HR/9. 2018 and 2019 were not too kind to him, as he pitched to a 5.08 ERA in 79.2 innings of work, a 1.519 WHIP and 2.0 HR/9. He’s currently another former Twins player in the major-league camp of the Phillies on a minor-league deal.

Delmon Young, OF (2008-2011)

Joined: via trade from Tampa Bay Rays (with Brendan Harris, Jason Pridie; for Eddie Morlan, Jason Bartlett, Matt Garza)
Left: via trade to Detroit Tigers (for Cole Nelson, Lestor Oliveros)
Now: Melbourne Aces (Australian League)
I was thinking of a few other Twins that we probably haven’t hear of in a while and Delmon Young popped into my head. The last time he was in the states was in 2015 with the Orioles. He hopped over to Australia to play for the Melbourne Aces in 2017, batting .280/.351/.561 with 13 homers and 29 RBI. He then played in the Mexican and Venezuelan leagues in 2018 and last season played with the Aces again on their way to a championship, batting .345/.394/.662 in 40 games with 13 homers and 42 RBI, mainly as the DH. (Fun fact, former Twins player Shane Robinson was also on that team!) Every time I hear about Young, I think of this great article about Young and a hibachi grill.

That wraps up this year’s update on former Twins on the free agent market. Are you surprised about any players’ seasons post-Twins? Any that you would sign again? Did I miss one? (Yeah, probably.) Share your memories and thoughts with us in the comments.