The Twins officially announced the signings of Carlos Santana and Jay Jackson this afternoon. In addition, they claimed Zach Weiss off of waivers from the Red Sox. To make room for three players, the Twins designated Jordan Balazovic, Bubba Thompson, and Daniel Duarte for assignment. You can read our breakdowns of the Santana and Jackson signings in the links provided.
It’s a high-profile fall from grace for Balazovic, who was a Top 100 prospect as recently as 2022. Balazovic put up dazzling numbers in the low minors, but was never able to translate that into success in the upper minors or MLB. While he put up a league-average 4.44 ERA for the Twins last season, it was accompanied by a 6.01 FIP, high walk rates, and low strikeout rates while allowing a ton of hard contact. He was even worse at Triple-A St. Paul, where he never found success over two seasons.
Perhaps more relevantly, Balazovic was out of options and didn’t have a path to a 26-man roster spot. With the acquisitions of Anthony DeSclafani, Justin Topa, Jay Jackson, and Josh Staumont this offseason, Balazovic simply couldn’t leapfrog enough players to justify making the Opening Day roster. Even if several players got hurt or moved, others like Jorge Alcala, Kody Funderburk, Josh Winder, Cole Sands, and Matt Canterino could be viewed as better bullpen options. By making this move now, the Twins have a better chance to pass him through waivers and keep him in the organization than if they did it at the roster deadline.
Also DFA’d were Bubba Thompson and Daniel Duarte, both of whom were waiver claims by the Twins in the last couple weeks. The Twins would likely prefer to keep both of these players in the organization as well, but both have options remaining making them much more likely to be claimed than Balazovic.
Weiss was the final piece of today’s roster shuffling, a reliever who spent last season with the Red Sox and Angels, and was actually in the Twins’ system in 2019. He is a 31-year-old reliever who has yet to establish himself in the majors with a middling fastball and, you guessed it, and good slider he throws about 60% of the time. Weiss still has an option year remaining, but should be viewed as a placeholder like Thompson and Duarte before him. The back end of the roster is always in flux this time of year, so don’t be surprised if he gets sent out when the Twins claim another player or sign a free agent.
cough cough Michael A. Taylor cough cough