* Earlier this week the Twins claimed left-hander Dusty Hughes off waivers from the Royals, designating Rob Delaney for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster.
This qualifies as an extremely minor move that will probably end up not mattering, but I still find it a little puzzling. Hughes is a 28-year-old who stuck in the majors for the first time last year, putting up mediocre numbers in the Kansas City bullpen. He adds another upper-20s borderline AAA/MLB arm to a mix that already included Eric Hacker, Jeff Manship, Glen Perkins, Anthony Swarzak, Phil Dumatrait, Chuck James and Jim Hoey.
Ostensibly, the value of Hughes is that he gives the Twins another left-handed option for the bullpen. It stands to reason, though, that the team will carry only two left-handed relievers; one will surely be Jose Mijares and the other might be Brian Duensing. So Hughes has been signed and given a 40-man roster spot to compete with Scott Diamond, Perkins, James and Dumatrait for a role that may or may not even be available?
By bringing in Hughes, the Twins risk losing Delaney on waivers. A 26-year-old right-hander with middling stuff and velocity, Delaney isn't the prospect his 2.96 career ERA in the minors makes him out to be. Most likely, he doesn't have enough arm to succeed in the majors. But he's younger than a lot of these pitchers the Twins keep adding and he's posted a 130-to-38 strikeout-to-walk ratio and 1.27 WHIP over 127 innings in Triple-A over the past two years. If nothing else, he seemed like a candidate to come up and throw strikes in the big-league bullpen this year, as many of the other relief options have exhibited serious command issues. Delaney is nothing special, but he just doesn't seem like a guy you risk losing for the sake of bringing in an aging non-prospect who was cut by the Royals.
Like I said, not a big deal one way or the other. Delaney might not even get claimed. I'm just continually having a hard time understanding the front office's line of thinking this offseason -- with moves big and small.
[UPDATE: Delaney was claimed on waivers Friday by the Rays.]
* TwinsFest will get underway this weekend, transplanted from its usual location in the Metrodome to the National Sports Center in Blaine. One person who won't be in attendance is Justin Morneau, who the Twins have asked to remain in Arizona and concentrate on his recovery.
I wrote a lengthy story on the subject of Morneau and concussions for this year's Maple Street Press Twins Annual (which you can pre-order now, by the way), but I haven't touched on it directly too much here on the blog. There's a reason for that.
We can try and read between the lines on quotes from him and the team, we can look at past examples of serious concussion cases in sport, and we can conjecture a whole host of possibilities. Ultimately, we need to acknowledge that with Morneau, and with Joe Nathan, we're not going to have any idea what to truly expect this year until we see them on the field in spring training.
Fortunately, that's now only a month away, so we won't have to deal with this lingering uncertainty hovering over our heads for too much longer.
* Like Morneau, I won't be attending TwinsFest this weekend. I went once -- seven or eight years ago -- and while it was a fairly enjoyable time, I'm not a big collector so there's only so much value I can get out of the event.
This isn't the kind of news that's going to bring me back.