If you haven’t heard already, Kenny Wilson, who was designated for assignment by the Blue Jays early in the week after they claimed outfielder Darin Mastroianni off waivers from the Twins, is going to Minnesota after the Twins claimed him. Many people are saying that it essentially works out to be a trade of the two players although the Blue Jays certainly lose out when it comes to upside.
Wilson is actually not physically going anywhere because he’s been optioned to Double-A New Britain by the Twins. The New Hampshire Fisher Cats just finished a three-game series in New Britain (capped by a 5-3 win with a great start by Deck McGuire) and Wilson was traveling with the team but he wasn’t allowed to be in uniform thanks to the DFA limbo he was in.
Wilson, 24, was put on the 40-man roster this winter after a strong finish to his campaign in Double-A and a good showing in the Arizona Fall League but failed to really capitalize on any of that early this year, hitting for a .210/.239/.306 line in 68 plate appearances with the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats.
The Blue Jays must have felt that they were able to get a major-league-ready, 28-year-old journeyman outfielder in Mastroianni (who was drafted by the Blue Jays in the 16th round of the 2007 draft) from the Twins. Mastroianni had a decent showing as the Twins’ fourth outfielder in 2012, hitting .252/.328/.350 with 21 stolen bases in 186 plate appearances (over 77 games) but his numbers really slid in 2013. He’s had 24 Triple-A at bats this season (with Rochester and Buffalo) and is 10/24 without a stolen base (and has been caught once).
Fangraphs’ Marc Hulet figured that this would happen, tweeting that Wilson has some upside.
Like the re-acquisition of Mastroianni but don’t like the dump of Kenny Wilson. Only on his 1st option. Has good speed/def, defn worth flyer
— Marc Hulet (@marchulet) April 22, 2014
What no one has ventured to guess is whether Twins’ GM Terry Ryan is basically giving Alex Anthopoulos the middle finger with this roster move. Obviously the Twins didn’t need to pick up Wilson after a series of moves that they made. The timeline goes a little like this:
The Twins first claimed outfielder Sam Fuld from the Oakland A’s on Sunday.
They DFA’ed Mastroianni to make room on their 40-man roster on the same day.
In between the time the Twins designated Mastroianni and the Jays claimed him (on Tuesday), they also released shortstop Jason Bartlett on Monday, creating one more space on the club’s 40-man roster.
Losing Mastroianni, the Twins could have made a waiver claim on any other player to fill their last 40-man roster spot. Because they had DFA’ed Mastroianni to make room for Fuld, the Twins actually had the same number of outfielders on their 40-man roster as they did before. They released an infielder but replaced him by picking up Wilson.
My question here is whether or not Terry Ryan saw more than simply an opportunity to pick up a younger guy with more potential and upside by claiming Wilson and also take a swipe at Alex Anthopoulos in a “you took my guy so I’ll take yours” kind of way.
What do you think? Was there an absence of malice in Terry Ryan’s move? Was it simply a way to fill a spot with a guy with more “prospect shine?” Or was it a deliberate knock on AA?
In my opinion, this is the second time this season that the Blue Jays have been gamed by other GMs (the first was when Marcus Walden was taken by the A’s off waivers from the Jays).
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