DETROIT – It hasn’t yet been two weeks since the Twins traded Brandon Kintzler, in effect signaling that they didn’t believe a playoff spot was within reach. Now that they’ve reached one, at least for the moment, Twins GM Thad Levine said the front office is trying to supplement the roster once again.
The Twins “have placed a lot of [waiver] claims on players we think can help our team,” Levine said, but have not been able to negotiate a trade. “It’s not for lack of effort on our part,” he added. “We’ve already pivoted once in this process, and I think we demonstrated a willingness to respond to the way the team is performing. … We have the support of ownership to do it, and we’re going to continue to be creative and aggressive the rest of the season to help our team.”
Levine said he and chief baseball officer Derek Falvey have been impressed with how the Twins responded to the trade of Kintzler and Jaime Garcia, going 8-3 to open August and move to the head of a six-team race for the final wild-card spot.
“You’ve got to give [manager Paul Molitor] and his staff a ton of credit, and the players for responding to the challenge,” Levine said. “It’s really great to see.”
Perhaps obscured by Byron Buxton’s sensational catch on Friday, a play that was ranked the day’s top play by ESPN, was Max Kepler’s difficult catch on the right field warning track in the eighth inning, which he turned into an inning-ending double play.
But that’s OK with Kepler.
Buxton “is the one who gives me the motivation to not shy away from the wall,” Kepler said. “He’s hit the wall multiple times and look, he’s still walking. I look up to him defensively.”
Kepler said he enjoys being part of such a tight defensive trio, with Buxton and Eddie Rosario. “Buxton has always impressed me, especially his style of attacking and not being afraid to make mistakes. He’s taught me a lot just by watching him,” Kepler said. “And Rosario just by using his arm. He’s not scared. He’ll overthrow here and there, but he’ll make amazing plays with his arm in return.”