FORT MYERS, FLA. – The Twins’ upcoming roster squeeze, a situation aggravated by the fact that eight players are out of minor league options, has assistant GM Rob Antony — and even GM Terry Ryan — talking to other teams about potential trades.
“There’s a lot of conversation,” Antony said Tuesday. Other teams “might have somebody that might work better for us, and vice versa. … I communicate with all the other clubs about what they’ve got going on, what they’re looking for. Some clubs are more set than others, but some have a lot of guys who are out of options and they’d like to do something with them.”
That’s because to send down a player who’s already been optioned to the minors in three previous seasons, a team has to pass that player through waivers, and any of the other 29 teams can claim him. The Twins have eight such players this spring — pitchers Scott Diamond, Vance Worley, Sam Deduno and Anthony Swarzak; infielders Eduardo Escobar and Trevor Plouffe; and outfielders Chris Parmelee and Alex Presley — and believe at least some of them would be lost to another club if they don’t make the Twins.
Meanwhile, the Twins are paying attention to what players might similarly be available once other teams make their final cuts. The team’s scouts created a list of all out-of-option players around the majors before camp opened, and Antony conducts a weekly conference call to discuss what players might be available.
Trading such players could help both teams, Antony said. Does he expect to find a match with another team? “You never know,” he said. “Any time there’s active conversations, a lot of roster maneuvering, there’s always a chance.”
Antony said some teams have contacted Ryan, who turned over the front-office reins to him in January when a lump on his neck was discovered to be cancerous. Most calls are from fellow executives concerned about his condition, Antony said, but sometimes player proposals come up.
“He forwards it on to me,” Antony said. “We talk about it, I get his thoughts, I talk with our people and let everybody know what we’re thinking.”
Ryan remains in the Twin Cities and is undergoing a six-week cycle of radiation treatments.
Hughes staying sharp
Phil Hughes continued his strong spring Tuesday, giving up one run over six innings in a game against Baltimore’s Class A team. Hughes, who has given up one earned run in 8⅔ innings against major league competition this spring, also struck out seven and walked one. His start, like that of Mike Pelfrey on Wednesday, was moved to the minor league side in order to allow fifth-starter candidates to pitch against big-league lineups.
“He looked really good, really sharp,” Antony said. “I think he’s looked sharp all spring.”
Brian Duensing and Casey Fien also pitched in minor league games, neither giving up a run.
Kyle Gibson and Deduno get their turns to make a case for a spot in the Twins rotation; each righthander will pitch three to five innings in Jupiter, Fla., vs. the Cardinals.