Twins lose Alexi Casilla, add Rockies reliever

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 3, 2012 - 7:14 AM

The team touched up its roster with several moves.

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Alexi Casilla had been with the Twins since 2006 but never was able to hold on to a starting job despite repeated chances.

Photo: Elaine Thompson, Associated Press - Ap

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On a busy Friday, the Twins said goodbye to infielder Alexi Casilla, welcomed a reliever to their major league bullpen, cut Samuel Deduno from their 40-man roster, and faced increased uncertainty about keeping Scott Baker.

The Baltimore Orioles claimed Casilla on waivers, and the Twins claimed two players who'd been placed on waivers by the Colorado Rockies -- reliever Josh Roenicke and shortstop Tommy Field.

Roenicke, 30, whose father, Gary, was an Orioles outfielder and uncle Ron is the Milwaukee Brewers manager, posted a 3.25 ERA in 63 appearances for the Rockies this season. He had 54 strikeouts and 43 walks in 88 2/3 innings and his fastball averaged 92.3 mph, according to Fangraphs.com.

"He's got a couple plus pitches with a plus fastball and slider," said Rob Antony, Twins assistant general manager. "We've always liked this guy. He's another one of those guys where if he throws a few more strikes, he's got a chance to be pretty good."

The Rockies tried to get Roenicke through waivers to clear a spot on their 40-man roster for younger pitchers. Several Rockies players expressed frustration with the move, according to the Denver Post.

The Twins were able to pass Deduno through waivers, with no other team willing to add him to its 40-man roster, and assigned him outright to Class AAA Rochester. Deduno, who went 6-5 with a 4.44 ERA in 15 starts, has the right to become a free agent, but the Twins want him back on a minor league deal with an invite to spring training.

"I think he will probably re-sign with the Twins," said Deduno's agent, Paul Kinzer.

The Twins declined Baker's $9.25 million option Monday, making him a free agent, but the sides had continued discussions about a new incentive-laced deal. Beginning Friday at 11 p.m., free agents could start fielding offers from other teams, and Baker's agent, Bobby Witt, hours earlier said via text, "Going to free agency."

The Twins know they'll be one of several teams vying for Baker's services, with other reported suitors including the Red Sox, Blue Jays, Cubs and Rangers.

"We haven't been able to zero in on anything [with Baker]," Antony said.

In Casilla's case, the Twins were expected to non-tender him this offseason rather than give him another raise from his $1.38 million salary through arbitration. He batted .250 with a .305 on-base percentage in seven years with the Twins.

The Twins have two other players with Casilla's versatility in Jamey Carroll and Eduardo Escobar and added Field to a group of young shortstops that includes Pedro Florimon and Brian Dozier.

"Alexi Casilla might go over to Baltimore and start every day at second base and do all the things that we envisioned him doing for the last five years," Antony said. "Alexi's got a lot of talent, and we've never doubted that.

"We gave him the second baseman's job, we gave him the shortstop's job and, for whatever reason, he just wasn't able to hold a starting job."

Field, 25, spent almost all of this season at Class AAA Colorado Springs, batting .246 with eight homers and a .715 on-base-plus-slugging percentage.

"He's got some power, and he can make the plays," Antony said. "He has the versatility to play second and short."

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