In need of further infield depth with Josh Donaldson still on the Injured List, the Twins have made their first in-season active roster acquisition of 2020.
A fourth-year veteran, Ildemaro Vargas has spent all of his time in the MLB as a reserve for the Diamondbacks. He has seen most of his time in the field at second (56 appearances) and third (20) base, but has also appeared at first base, shortstop, and the corner outfield spots. As a hitter, Vargas has thus far filled the mold of “light-hitting infielder,” slashing .257/.287/.387 to this point in his career, a contrast to the bat of the Twins’ previous Vargas. (If Ildemaro elects to wear No. 19, fans of Kennys can repurpose their old jerseys.)
Last year was the best of the newest Twin’s young career. Appearing in 92 games, Vargas slashed .269/.299/.413 with six home runs, including a pinch-hit game-tier on September 24, a game he won in the 19th inning with a walk-off single.
The addition of Vargas can be compared to Minnesota’s 2017 acquisition of Ehire Adrianza. At the time of his joining the team, Adrianza (turned 27 during the ‘17 season) was two years younger than Vargas (turned 29 last month), sported a similar low slash line (.220/.292/.313), and had made most of his appearances in the middle infield.
In addition to trading for Vargas, the Twins activated Willians Astudillo from the COVID-19 reserve list and optioned him to the St. Paul alternate site. While we await La Tortuga’s return to the majors, it’s better now to see that he is back in good health.