It was a big day in Rochester on Friday. Twins interim-GM Rob Antony has been in town to see and evaluate players. However, on Friday, he completed a trade, signed a minor league veteran, and was on hand to help the Red Wings announce a two-year extension to their current Player Development Contract with the Twins, keeping the Twins AAA affiliate in upstate New York through the 2018 season.
Let’s start with the trade. Chris Cotillo was first to announce that the Twins had traded Red Wings left-handed reliever Sean Burnett to the Washington Nationals in exchange for a player to be named later, or cash. It’ll likely be a few dollars. Burnett, a former big league All-Star, came to the Twins after opting out of his Braves minor league deal. While he had a mid-June opt-out with the Twins, he stuck with the organization with the understanding that if another team offered him a big league opportunity, the Twins would accommodate it. The Nationals are going to send Burnett to their AAA affiliate in Syracuse, but he is going to be called up to the big league club for September.
During the Red Wings game, Rochester Democrat & Chronicle beat writer Kevin Oklozija tweeted that veteran Edward Mujica was warming up in the Red Wings bullpen. He was throwing a side-session, having just arrived in Rochester that day. Mujica is a 32-year-old right-hander who was an All-Star in 2013 and has ten years of time in the big leagues.
From an affiliate standpoint, arguably the biggest news of the day was that the Red Wings and Twins agreed to continue their player development contract two more years, through the 2018 season. Representatives from the Red Wings and the Twins were very happy about the news.
Red Wings President, CEO and COO Naomi Silver said, ““The Twins have been an outstanding partner to the Red Wings. With a Major League affiliation, a Minor League club hopes for three important things: a competitive team, having future Major Leaguers and top draft picks being a part of that team, and a Big League team that values the importance of the Minor League system. The Twins have been great to us in each of these areas. They’ve regularly fielded winning teams here and we’ve seen a lot of great players come through Rochester. Every month someone from the Twins top management comes to town to see their players and to consult with field personnel and our front office. They rely on their Minor League system to develop young players, and we are the ones who benefit from that. We consider ourselves lucky that the Minnesota Twins respect and appreciate our organization and want to continue this affiliation.”
Rob Antony noted, ““It’s been a tremendous partnership that we’ve had with Rochester. The biggest things you look for in an affiliate are A. you want good ownership, Rochester has that, B. you want good facilities, Rochester has that, and C. you want a good fan base and the fans in Rochester have been very supportive of this club.”