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Twins claim Erik Komatsu off waivers from Cardinals, designate Clete Thomas for assignment

May 4, 2012, 2:44 PM EDT

St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Komatsu gets ready for batting practice during workouts before a spring training baseball game against the Boston Red Sox in Fort Myers Reuters

Three weeks ago the Twins claimed Clete Thomas off waivers from the Tigers and gave him the fourth outfielder job, sending Ben Revere back to Triple-A for some additional seasoning.

Thomas homered in his second at-bat for Minnesota … and then went 3-for-26 with 16 strikeouts, and today the Twins designated him for assignment while claiming a new backup outfielder, Erik Komatsu, off waivers from the Cardinals.

St. Louis selected Komatsu from Washington in the Rule 5 draft and before that the Nationals acquired him from the Brewers for Jerry Hairston, so this is the 24-year-old’s fourth team in about 10 months. It’s also worth noting that the Twins had the No. 2 pick in that Rule 5 draft and passed on Komatsu to take Terry Doyle from the White Sox, only to offer him back in mid-March.

Komatsu doesn’t project as a regular, but he can play all three outfield spots and has good speed with a .389 career on-base percentage in the minors. He’ll fill the same role as Thomas.

  1. JB (the original) - May 4, 2012 at 2:54 PM

    I love it when a plan comes together…… (eyeballs rolling so hard they’re starting to smoke)

  2. tcostant - May 4, 2012 at 3:01 PM

    Give the Nationals there minor leaguer back!

  3. Ben - May 4, 2012 at 3:02 PM

    It’s just embarrassing being a Twins fan these days. Still love ‘em, but man, this team is just terrible.

    • kopy - May 4, 2012 at 3:18 PM

      But the jokes are pretty fun.

  4. highwaymen27 - May 4, 2012 at 3:03 PM

    The whole team needs to be designated for assignment…

    • Ben - May 4, 2012 at 3:25 PM

      That’s the thing, the Twins SHOULD clean house and rebuild. But they can’t. They have no parts anyone would actually want, except Span, and probably Willingham. The better part of their whole 25-man roster wouldn’t make the bench on a contending team. Mauer is untradeable because of the contract, Morneau is a mess. Their entire starting staff and bullpen, except for maybe Glen Perkins is totally fungible. They don’t even have worthwhile trade bait.

  5. rooney24 - May 4, 2012 at 3:20 PM

    Really wish Willingham could have adjusted to RF. Then, you could get by playing Revere in LF, at least part time. But, there is no way you can play Revere’s noodle arm in RF.

    It is difficult watching the Twins some days. Have a feeling Gardy will end up losing his job over this, and it really isn’t his fault. Although, I wouldn’t mind seeing Rick Anderson leave. They have been terrible developing pitchers and even worse trying to diagnose/fix them when they have injuries.

    • Ben - May 4, 2012 at 3:27 PM

      You don’t want Revere in LF. Noodle is way too generous a description of his arm.

      • kopy - May 4, 2012 at 3:35 PM

        A noodle arm plays best in LF though, since they have the shortest throw to 3rd. Throws to 2nd and Home are equidistant from any OF spot, and the long throw to 1st is a non-issue.

      • Ben - May 4, 2012 at 3:40 PM

        Yeah, I get the theory–I’m not sure Revere could throw a strike to 3B.

  6. ndnut - May 4, 2012 at 3:42 PM

    However, LF is shorter than RF at Target Field. I see a case for either one.

  7. tjwilliams - May 4, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    So are the Twins just a bad fantasy team now? Streaming 4th outfielders?

  8. Tim OShenko - May 4, 2012 at 3:48 PM

    What’s really frustrating from a fan perspective is that the organization – from the top down – doesn’t seem to have any sort of plan at all.

    -The new stadium was supposed to allow them to jump from being a small-market to a mid-market team, yet they refuse to bump payroll in order to attract any established talent.

    -They have a pitch-to-contact rotation that gives up way too many walks and homers. Sometimes they claim to be a “defense-first” team, but then put sub-par fielders at every position. Other times they try and add more punch to the lineup, only to tell their guys to just slap the ball to the opposite field.

    -They spend the offseason acting like they’re one or two pieces away from having a contending team again, then fill the roster with aging, low-upside minor leaguers.

    So what do they need? New roster? New coaching staff? New management? All of the above? It’s time to rebuild, not pluck 4th outfielders off the waiver wire.

    • Cris E - May 5, 2012 at 2:03 PM

      Their payroll is still around $95m, which is within about $3m of the White Sox. They spent a lot more last year and made offers to a bunch of guys that left like Nathan and Cuddyer that would have put this year’s number much higher. But whatever, they are writing checks that put them squarely in the middle of the pack.

      They got some new management over the winter that pretty much addresses a lot of your other frustrations. Bill Smith made some dumb moves, took a few gambles that didn’t work out, and utterly failed to provide depth at several spots where the team had clear and obvious injury concerns. He was fired.

      Your other questions are silly. The skills of the individual players are what dictates how they hit and pitch. You think that if Zumaya had stayed healthy they’d have said a word to him about contact? What’s the number of opposite field singles by Willingham so far? The fact is different guys need to take different approaches and your complaints sound like petulant whining more than actual questions or suggestions. Go read Brackin’s column in the Strib on pitching to contact if you really want to learn about it.

  9. buddygrant - May 4, 2012 at 4:55 PM

    There are high hopes in Twinsville as Erik “Deckchair” Komatsu gets shuffled into the Minnesota lineup.

  10. spudatx - May 4, 2012 at 6:05 PM

    Why keep bothering with these dumpster dive prizes? Clete Thomas and Erik Komatsu are hardly the team’s answers to any of their problems. Neither are even unlikely to provide equivalent overall value to what Ben Revere, Brian Dozier, or Joe Benson could, but if the team is shopping Denard Span around for starting pitching, it leaves the team with options of who to bring up later and allows these younger guys time to play ball regularly in the minors.

  11. creek0512 - May 4, 2012 at 8:28 PM

    I kinda feel bad for the guy, going from the Cards to the Twins, even if he’ll get more time in Minny.

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