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Twins pay steep price to avoid sending Rule 5 pick Scott Diamond back to Braves

Mar 28, 2011, 3:22 PM EDT

scott diamond minors

Rule 5 pick Scott Diamond wasn’t going to make the Twins, but rather than having to offer him back to the Braves as per the draft’s requirements the two sides have worked out a trade.

Minnesota will be able to keep Diamond and can now send him to the minors as if he weren’t acquired in the Rule 5 draft, but the price was a remarkably steep one, as the Braves receive 2009 second-round pick Billy Bullock in exchange.

I ranked Bullock as the 10th-best prospect in the Twins’ farm system, whereas I had Diamond ranked 36th on the same list, so this deal is a head-scratcher. Bullock was the 70th overall pick just two years ago and is a reliever with a mid-90s fastball who’s racked up 150 strikeouts in 108 innings.

He has control issues, but projects as a potential late-inning reliever. To trade him for someone with mid-rotation starter upside who was left off the 40-man roster and available to any team in the Rule 5 draft is odd enough, but to make that trade when the Twins could have simply kept Diamond around for nothing as a long reliever or mop-up man is doubly confusing.

Helluva move by the Braves though, picking up a high-upside reliever prospect for a guy they didn’t even protect from the Rule 5 draft three months ago.

  1. brentsaindon - Mar 28, 2011 at 3:37 PM

    Seems like the Twins style. They make bad moves like this, especially with pitchers. There is some kind of rule in the Twins organization that pitchers are not allowed to issue walks. Any pitcher with command issues is going to be severely undervalued in that organization.

    • fcmlefty1 - Mar 28, 2011 at 4:46 PM

      Where are these bad moves at? What former Twins farm hand is lighting it up on somebody elses roster? I can’t seem to come up with one.

      I too question some of thier moves, but don’t recall any major episodes where it has blown up in thier faces

      • mschempp - Mar 28, 2011 at 8:02 PM

        Grant Balfour and Craig Breslow are two. Both are now on the A’s, but Grant was useful for the Rays, too.

        To a different extent, Kyle Lohse and Matt Garza are two more.

  2. Kanonen80 - Mar 28, 2011 at 4:39 PM

    How is Bullock’s make-up? Maybe there were some red flags in that area that lead to his being traded. This would make more sense if Bullock was refusing instruction for coaches, or was a club-house cancer. A big part of the organization is “The Twins Way”. While frustrating for the fans, it seems to have worked out pretty well for the Twins.

    Now, if Bullock was a stand-up guy with an electric arm and just needed some mechanical tweaks to tighten things up, I’d have a problem with this trade. Stats-wise, the move makes zero sense. Who says it can’t make sense ‘employee’ wise?

    • atlsp - Mar 28, 2011 at 5:00 PM

      Apparently you’re not familiar with “The Braves Way.” The Braves are notorious for shipping out young prospects (even those with potential) for having character blemishes. I highly doubt they would bring in a guy with questions surrounding his make-up.

      • Kanonen80 - Mar 28, 2011 at 5:11 PM

        Guilty as charged, but perhaps the Twins are sneaky and are hiding said potential blemishes!

        In all seriousness though, maybe it was something that isn’t public knowledge and the Twins are keeping on the down-low? Or maybe the Twins just love them some left-handed finesse pitching!

  3. mplsjoe - Mar 28, 2011 at 7:03 PM

    Is this like the Matt Garza situation? The Twins really don’t trust hard-throwers. They’ll take a soft-tosser with good command over a hard-thrower with mediocre command every time.

  4. philosofly - Mar 29, 2011 at 3:17 AM

    The Twins are mentally challenged when it comes to pitching. Is it Billy Smith (probably part of it), is it Gardy (well, perhaps) or is it Rick Anderson (probably just the man, not the stache)?

    Sure, the Twins have an incredible offense!! However, the only pitcher whose “stuff” scares any hitter is Francisco Liriano’s! The sad thing is there have been rumors posted about the Twins’ interest in shopping him!?!

    Does this make any sense to anybody who follows baseball? Does this make sense to any Twins fan who wants to see them actually win a playoff series? NO!

    So the fat Twins brass keeps eating their BS while the rest of the league snickers (thinking, if I had that offense, I’d surely pair it with a Cliff Lee, Felix Hernandez, keep Francisco Liriano, keep Johan Santana, get a fireball thrower to go with the weak arms that seem to fill out the rotation every year.

    Nope, never happens. They get so close until the pitching CLEARLY becomes the problem. Then we never hear about what they will do to fix it. Instead they take their ticket/merchandise sales and spend it on resigning overpriced utility players, unproven infielders, then trade people like J.J. Hardy for a couple of noodle arms so they have more excuses to “fire through the internet”.

    I’m a life-long Twins fan, born and raised in MN. I witnessed the ’87 and ’91 miracles but honestly? The Mets have a better chance to win the World Series than the 2011 Minnesota Twins!

    • purnellmeagrejr - Mar 29, 2011 at 8:38 AM

      philosofly As a Mets fan I have to contradict you”re evaluation of their chances vis a vis the Twins.
      Why would anyone think this writer knows more about the pitcher the Twins gave up thean the Twins .. a well run team?

  5. philosofly - Apr 29, 2011 at 1:59 AM

    Is it safe to say “I told you so” yet?

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