With the World Series fully in the rear-view mirror, the Minnesota Twins have begun their offseason housecleaning — starting with pieces on the 40-man roster. This happens for every team every offseason, and the Twins are no exception as they look to make room not only for free agents and potential trade returns, but also a new crop of players they must protect from this year’s Rule 5 draft.
Players eligible for this year’s Rule 5 draft who are certain or at least likely to be protected by the Twins include Stephen Gonsalves, Jake Reed, Zack Littell, Lewin Diaz and Kohl Stewart. Seth Stohs over at Twins Daily has a good breakdown here.
The first departure announced on Friday was left-handed pitcher Randy Rosario, who was claimed off waivers by the Chicago Cubs.
Cubs claim LHP Randy Rosario off waivers from Twins. Rosario was pitching in Dominican Winter League as recently as week ago. 40-man at 33.
— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) November 3, 2017
Rosario was absolutely obliterated in two appearances with the Twins in early June — eight earned runs in 2.1 innings (30.86 ERA) — and was sent back to Double-A Chattanooga immediately thereafter. Rosario had a 1.90 ERA with the Lookouts prior to the promotion, but was markedly worse after being sent back: 5.61 ERA, .848 OPS allowed, 25-17 K/BB ratio in 33.2 innings. August was especially rough for the 23-year-old lefty, as he posted a 12.71 ERA (16 earned runs in 11.1 innings) with more walks (11) than strikeouts (10). Rosario had been with the organization since signing as an amateur free agent on Aug. 16, 2010.
Niko Goodrum outrighted off 40-man roster. Cleared waivers. Randy Rosario claimed by Cubs.
— Rhett Bollinger (@RhettBollinger) November 3, 2017
Goodrum, the team’s second-round pick in 2010, cannot refuse the outright assignment because it’s his first one, but he’s eligible for minor-league free agency. This was also true last offseason, when he resigned with the Twins and went on to hit .265/.309/.425 in 127 games/499 plate appearances at Triple-A Rochester before getting his first cup of coffee in the big leagues. Goodrum’s first big-league hit was an infield hit — and it was his only one in 18 plate appearances as he hit just .059/.111/.059. He can play pretty much anywhere but shortstop and can hit left-handed pitching, and he’s headed into his age-26 season. If he doesn’t return to the Twins, he’ll certainly draw interest elsewhere.
#MNTwins lose OF Daniel Palka to the White Sox, per league source. Couldn't get him through waivers. 40-man purge underway.
— Darren Wolfson (@DWolfsonKSTP) November 3, 2017
Palka was on outright waivers and plucked by the White Sox after hitting .274/.330/.431 in 90 games between Triple-A Rochester (84 games) and the Gulf Coast Twins (six). Palka missed a large chunk of the season with a fractured index finger, but when healthy hit 12 home runs in about a half-season worth of plate appearances. He hit 34 homers between Chattanooga and Rochester in 2016, albeit with a .296 OBP once he was promoted to the Red Wings.
There’s significant swing-and-miss in Palka’s offensive game — career MiLB whiff rate of 26.5 percent — and the scouting reports on his defense are not particularly flattering. Still, he should get a chance to stick with a White Sox team that is clearly in transition. The team’s current outfield depth chart at MLB.com features Nicky Delmonico in left field, Avisail Garcia in right and Matt Davidson at designated hitter. A Jose Abreu trade can’t be ruled out, either.
Further moves will still likely be necessary as the Twins continue to cull the roster. Trevor May, Phil Hughes, J.T. Chargois and Ryan O’Rourke need to be activated from the 60-day disabled list, and it’s possible a handful more players will still be on the chopping block.
Stay tuned here as we’ll update as more moves keep rolling in.