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Five “free” players that could help the Twins right now

Chicago Cubs v San Francisco Giants Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Twins are hurt, and hurting. They’re six-deep in centerfield, and about two missed starts away from moving Willians Astudillo to starting pitcher. The bullpen, by contrast, has been pretty healthy, just disgustingly inept. Meanwhile, there are a whole bunch of players floating around out there that the Twins could get help from.

Like a fantasy football player who accidentally left his team on “autodraft,” its time to look at the waiver wire. For MLB players, the “DFA” period lasts one week, or until they are traded or waived. Right now, these guys could be traded for—or if made available on waivers, claimed. So, these players are still in limbo, and soon will be free for the Twins to pick up while only committing to a veteran minimum salary. Typically a trade for a guy in this position is for cash considerations, for an absolute lotto ticket at the lowest levels of the minors, or for a guy in a similar predicament.

(and Juan Minaya, who the Twins just DFA’d, doesn’t count)

RF Nick Martini

Formerly of the Chicago Cubs, Martini was DFA’d yesterday. He’s now 31 years old, and played on four MLB teams, sparingly. He has only hit .083/.200/.083 in 15 plate appearances for Chicago, although he is a .261/.363/.366 career hitter, he would, more importantly, be a warm body in the outfield. He’s played 16 very-bad pro innings in center field, and he also pitched a scoreless inning a couple years ago in Oakland, so why not?

LHP Scott Kazmir

In the “anyone is better than Matt Shoemaker” derby, we bring you Scott Kazmir. The veteran leftie is actually younger than JA Happ. He made two starts for San Francisco this year, three total appearances totaling only seven innings. Its hard to think of him as a traditional starter, but he could be an interesting player to try as an “opener” and piggyback with one of the younger righties in the organization. He could also provide some value as a middle reliever, although Caleb Thielbar, when healthy, might be a better version of the same idea. Prior to this season, Kazmir last pitched in the bigs in 2016, so he is a great story, regardless of outcome, and he is still striking out plenty of men, although his control seems a bit lacking.

LHP Brandon Waddell

If you’re like me, you’re just realizing he isn’t a part of the Twins’ organization anymore, but he was just designated for assignment by the Orioles on Friday. Waddell is an intriguing pitcher who can reasonably make a spot start or two, which is exactly what the Twins need right now. He made one appearance out of Baltimore’s bullpen, walking one man, but getting three outs without allowing another baserunner. His four appearances with the Twins went much, much worse, but perhaps he is worth another look? After all, in the past, he’s flirted with MLB success, while never actually getting there.

RHP Nick Tropeano

Another player recently DFA’d by the Giants, Tropeano was designated on Friday to make room for Kazmir on the roster. Seems a worthwhile move. Tropeano made four bullpen appearances for San Fran, and was basically serviceable. He also made three triple-A starts, only throwing 9.2 innings in the minors, but with a K/9 over 12, he has stuff that can play. Like Kazmir, he is an interesting option as an opener or out of the bullpen.

RHP Shawn Armstrong

Another Orioles castoff, Armstrong is a reliever, unlike the other pitchers on this list, who have also started. Armstrong would be a bit of a project for Wes Johnson, but there is reason to believe he could be successful—for one, he was pretty good as recently as 2020. He’s been rocked this season, but is still striking out nearly ten hitters per nine innings. He’s always struggled with giving up walks, but when he controls that, he’s “sub-2.00 ERA” good. He’s already made 20 appearances for Baltimore this season, and been around the majors a bit, coming up with Cleveland back in 2015. He’s always been an AL guy, which also helps. At this point, it can’t be more frustrating than giving innings to Alexander Colome.

2B/SS Luis Marte (bonus)

Marte is a ten-year MiLB veteran, despite making his debut this season at age 27. The wonders of being signed at 17. He walked and struck out once each in three plate appearances with Miami. If Luis Arraez is out for a bit, he could serve in the same role as Nick Gordon, who doesn’t seem to get playing time in Minneapolis, so might as well get some in Saint Paul.