Friday, February 8, 2013
Notes, quotes and comment
Tampa Bay this week designated shortstops Reid Brignac and Elliot Johnson for assignment, removing them from the 40-man roster and starting the clock ticking for some sort of disposal of their contracts.
Last year I would have been in favor of picking up either; now I'm ambivalent. Both are good-field, no-hit types; so are Pedro Florimon and Eduardo Escobar, or at least they figure to be. I don't know that the Rays refugees would be a true upgrade over the unproven guys, and their periods of team control would be significantly less.
MLB.com on Thursday released its Top 20 list of Twins prospects, and certainly in the Top 10 there's no significant break from the consensus.
The same 10 show in the top 10 of every list I've seen, and in these groups: Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton are the top two; No.3-6 are some order of Oswaldo Arcia, Kyle Gibson, Aaron Hicks and Alex Meyer; No. 7-9 are some order of J.O. Barrios, Trevor May and Eddie Rosario; and Max Kepler takes up the rear.
The divergence begins after Kepler. The MLB list has three pitchers in the Top 20 -- Corey Williams (16), Ryan Pressly (18) and Hudson Boyd (19) -- not in Baseball America's top 30. BA listed middle infielders Jorge Polanco (14) and Levi Michael (16) in its Top 20; MLB.com com didn't, but did squeeze Niko Goodrum into its list at No. 20 (while expressing doubt that he'll stay in the middle infield).
Consensus of the type seen in the Top 10 tells us something; divergence of the type seen in the Second 10 tells use something else. MLB.com ranks guys whose big league futures, if any, are clearly in the bullpen over almost all the middle infield propects in the system; Baseball America didn't. I think BA has the more correct idea there.
Francisco Liriano was reported in December to have reached a deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates; then it hit a snag over an injury to his non-pitching arm. A couple of weeks ago it was reported that the two parties had rewoked the deal. Well, it still hasn't become official.
And meanwhile, the Pirates have signed Jonathan Sanchez, another left-hander with outstanding stuff and sub-optimal "pitchability." I begin to wonder if Liriano's deal is going to happen, or if the Pirates are moving on.
Recent ex-Twins free-agent signings: Jon Rauch with Miami; Kyle Waldrop on a minor-league deal with Pittsburgh. I continue to believe Waldrop can be an effective reliever, but I also understand that there are a lot of marginal guys like that, and I can't be all that critical of the Twins for looking elsewhere.
One way of looking at the Waldrop departure is that the Twins essentially swapped Triple A relief arms with Pittsburgh: The Pirates got Waldrop, the Twins got Tim Wood (much earlier this offseason). Wood had a big year in Triple A in 2012, but the Pirates never saw fit to call him up. We'll see how they fare in new environments.