December 18, 2022

At least the Twins have Jose De Leon, right?

What a week to be a Minnesota Twins fan.

After it appeared the Twins might be on the verge of retaining Carlos Correa and adding San Francisco Giants pitcher Carlos Rodon, Correa exited stage left for a ridiculous amount of money to play for those Giants, while Rodon was snapped up by the team that always beats the Twins — a team that needs no mention from me.

Instead, the Twins went out and signed pitcher Jose De Leon (to a minor league deal?), catcher Christian Vazquez and slugger (?) Joey Gallo, which really put Twins Territory in a fine mood.

Like I said, it was quite the week to be a Twins fan.

If the name De Leon rings a bell it’s because he was once considered a trade target when the Twins were trying to move slugging second baseman Brian Dozier. A Dodgers prospect at the time, the Los Angeles club wanted more than just Dozier and the Twins wanted more than just De Leon, so the two teams never struck a deal. Why target De Leon? Well, he put up some impressive numbers in the minor leagues, compiling a 28-18 record with a 3.42 ERA and 607 strikeouts in 452 innings pitched.

Interestingly, De Leon announced on Twitter that he had joined the Twins. The announcement was picked up by MLB Trade Rumors, but I haven’t seen any other reporting about his arrival.

More widely reported was the news about former Boston Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez, who joins the Twins on a three-year, $30 million agreement. He will share time behind the plate with the Twins’ Ryan Jeffers, and although Jeffers is likely viewed as the starting catcher on the team, Vazquez could easily fill that role. For his career, Vazquez has slashed .261/.310/.386.

And then there’s Gallo, the former Yankee outfielder who was essentially booed out of the Bronx for his free-swinging ways. Frankly, there’s not much to like here. Yes, he has some power and he can field his position and he earns his share of walks, but he also strikes out a lot. In fact, he has about the same number of career strikeouts as Miguel Sano, who the Twins took a pass on by not picking up his contract option. Gallo, who has a career .199 batting average, agreed to a one-year, $11 million deal.

The Gallo announcement, plus the other free agents the Twins missed out on, appeared to push Twins Territory over the edge. A sampling:

And then there was this…


Hi, I’m Rolf Boone, Twins fan.

I became a fan of the Minnesota Twins after a friendly wager in the early 1980s. I survived Ron Davis, the meltdown in Cleveland, Phil Bradley at the Kingdome and then marveled at a rising generation of stars and two World Series wins in 1987 and 1991. Brad Radke made the 1990s bearable, while Kirby Puckett’s eye injury, exit from the game and eventual death made it almost too much to bear. The new century ushered in more talent — Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau — and consecutive seasons of playoff baseball, followed by consecutive seasons of losing baseball. A winning season returned in 2015. So here we are. Go Twins.