Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Sierra Signed, Other Invitees Named

ESPN.com and the Twins are reporting that they have signed DH Ruben Sierra to a minor league deal. The deal is confusing for many reasons. This seems to fall under the philosophy of the Darrell May deal, which is, "Well, the guy hit us pretty hard in the past, he must be good." That, or they love the playoff experienced, gritty old veteran, a la Jose Offerman. If you recall, Sierra knocked the Twins out of the 2004 playoffs when he hit a three-run homer off of Juan Rincon.

Of course, the homer was more of a testament to Rincon utilizing his slider way too much and his fastball not enough than to say anything about Sierra's talent. Sierra also is a DH who really can't play the field. As I recall, he was an outfielder at some point, but nothing noteworthy. Since White is already the DH as long as he remains uninjured, (which means as long as he isn't playing in the field), there really isn't room for Sierra as a starter.

The probable result is that he'll make the team as a lefty off the bench. He's potentially an improvement offensively over fellow switch-hitters Nick Punto or Glenn Williams; however, he isn't exactly a great right-handed bat who can kill lefties off the bench. From 2003-05, with the Yankees, he was significantly better as a left-handed hitter. He had more homers (20 to 10), a higher average (.261 to .235), and a higher OPS (.748 to .688). Basically, Sierra would not really solve our problem in needing a lefty-masher off the bench, but he would give us a much more powerful left-handed bat to choose from.

As my fellow blogger suggests, we could drop Juan Castro to get Sierra on the roster, but that's unlikely to happen. I would support that move, because I'm not that big of a Castro fan anyways. In all honestly, Punto and Williams can serve as adequate backups while offering more "offense." So, it appears unlikely that we will actually see Sierra on our team this year, which is unfortunate if they guy taking his roster space is Darrell May (like Corky over Restovich last year).

Finally, the report also shows that Pete Munro is back with a minor league deal, along with right-hander Ryan Glynn and outfielder Tim Raines Jr.

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