The twins on Wednesday chose the contract of the veteran catcher Sandy Lyon – Happened in a secondary league swap With Cleveland yesterday – and the right veteran savior Joe Smith to commission (Twitter link via Do-Hyoung Park of MLB.com). Minnesota also brought back left-handed Caleb Tilbar From the list of the wounded for 15 days and the option of the catcher Caleb Hamilton to Triple-A St. Paul.
Smith, 38, signed a one-year, $2.5 million deal with the twins late in the season. He currently wears a faded 4.61 ERA by 27 1/3 frames, although that number is disproportionately similar to the nightmarish appearance on July 17, when Smith suffered a six-game defeat by the White Sox in an 11-0 blast loss. Aside from that awful ride, it was cast at 2.67 ERA.
However, the twins rarely gave Smith the eighth role of work, often counting on him in the fifth to seventh roles, often entrusting roles of higher influence to Johan DoranAnd the Griffin JaxAnd (with much less success) Emilio Bagan And the Tyler Duffy. Smith has been vulnerable to Homer this year even if one is willing to overlook the goodwill that the White Sox broke inside, and the Left set him on fire completely, posting the .303/.410/.606 hitting streak in 39 board appearances.
In the past, the lateral Smith excelled in terms of reducing difficult contact. After a short hiatus in that regard in 2020, it bounced back in 2021 – not to its previous peak, but the 87.9 mph average exit speed and 35.2% damage rate were strong enough signs. This season, Smith has an average exit speed of 89.2 mph, however, 42.1% of the hits against him have left the bat at 95 mph or more.
Smith still owes about $879,000 of this year’s $2.5 million salary, and any team that claims will be responsible for the rest of that sum. If not claimed in waivers, he can decline a minor league assignment in favor of free agency while keeping the entirety of that remaining salary. The new team will only be responsible for a prorated portion of the league minimums upon Smith’s signing and addition to the league’s big roster. Of course, the twins can no longer trade Smith now that yesterday’s deadline has passed, so he will either be in outright concessions or waivers over the next few days.
As for Leon, he’ll give the Twins a defensive boost that has long been praised for his receiving skills and defensiveness – even when paired with lean attacking. At this juncture in his career, the 33-year-old hitter is the standout veteran backup. He went 2 for 15 with a pair of singles but walked six earlier this season with the Guardians and has a .226/.340/.333 slash in the 100 Triple A games between Cincinnati and Cleveland of the year. The twins will be given a sturdy glove and a connected veteran of the game while they wait for the 25-year-old to return Ryan Jefferswho spent several more weeks with a broken thumb.
The twins will likely continue to include Lyon even after Jeffers returns, as Lyon will still serve as a better defensive backing behind the plate than Gary Sanchez, who can return to the role of the designated base hitter. On top of that, major league teams will get two more places on the roster in September, making it easier for both Leon and Sanchez. Twins regularly carried three catching options in previous seasons.
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