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Twins Acquire Ildemaro Vargas

Tuesday afternoon, the Minnesota Twins announce that they have acquired infield Ildemaro Vargas from the Diamondbacks in exchange for cash considerations.
Image courtesy of Mark J. Rebilas, USA Today
Vargas was with the Diamondbacks on four occasions in 2019. The 29-year-old hit .269 with nine doubles, a triple and six home runs in 92 games.

He was off to a slow start this season and after hitting just .150 over 20 at bats, the Diamondbacks Designated him for Assignment.
Vargas has spent parts of the past four seasons with the Diamondbacks and in 126 games, he has hit .257/. 287/.387 (.674) with 10 doubles and seven homers.

In his career, Vargas has played all four infield positions as well as left field, though the majority of time has been spent at second base and third base.

Rocco Baldelli said before Tuesday's game "He's a guy we really like in a lot of different ways organizationally. A guy that we think can do a lot of different things. Versatility. Plays around the infield. Can help you pretty much anywhere. Good contact bat, probably a line drive type bat regardless of who he is facing. Can probably get the barrel on the all. All reports, some of them coming from Escy (Eduardo Escobar) over there, say he's a really good guy too, a guy who will fit in very well in the clubhouse. You add all that up, looks like an interesting guy that can complement our group and compete in a lot of different ways."

Vargas grew up in Venezuela. He originally signed with the St. Louis Cardinals, but after six seasons, he became a free agent. He played briefly for Bridgeport in the Atlantic League to start the 2015 season, but the Diamondbacks signed him by May. He debuted in late June of 2017.

Baldelli didn't yet know Vargas's travel plans but likely he will meet the team in Minneapolis. Nothing has been finalized yet.

It will also be interesting to see how the COVID protocols play out. Things have certainly changed. "A lot of our discussions go beyond the baseball part of it. Most of what we used to talk about, you acquire a player, you are just talking about the player, what he can do, how he is as a guy, all kinds of different things. Now we're talking about testing protocols, when the last time that he went through it, how we're going to approach it, where we're going to fly him in to, how that flight's going to work, talking with Vargas about how to approach that commercial flight. That's what we end up spending our time on."

Baldelli said that the Twins are likely to go beyond the MLB protocol which may mean some rapid testing, maybe some daily testing, for a little while.

In addition, the Twins announced that Willians Astudillo has been removed from the Injured List and optioned to the team's alternate site in St. Paul.

Baldelli noted, "He's doing very well physically. It's been 18-plus days since he's been off (the COVID list) and moving around. He's in great shape." He added, "Not much is going to change as far as what he's doing, he's doing very well. Knowing that he's an option for us always, at any given point, is a very good feeling. You never know when those moves are going to be needed. They could come at any time."

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28 Comments

Infield insurance in case Donaldson doesn't rebound?
    • Dman, adorduan and bighat like this

Interesting move, not sure where he fits in, if at all.Seems like he would rank below who we have but most likely above Gordon and Blackenhorn.I wonder if there is greater worry with Aarez knee. 

    • mikelink45 and Minny505 like this
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stringer bell
Aug 11 2020 02:22 PM

I assume that the Twins cannot option Vargas since he was DFAed. To keep him, somebody has to be taken off the 25-man, is that right? Also, they will have to make room on the 40-man roster.

    • bighat likes this
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stringer bell
Aug 11 2020 02:29 PM

I checked Vargas out on baseball-reference.com and it seems we now have cornered the market on switch-hitting utility infielders from Venezuela.

    • ashbury, 70charger, Dman and 4 others like this
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milldaddy35
Aug 11 2020 02:33 PM
OPS over 1.000 last year vs lefties, .863 in his career. I hope this doesn’t mean Donaldson is done for the year and they wanted another utility option with marwin becoming an everyday player. Assuming Donaldson does come back, maybe he gets some starts in Left field or second base against lefties. I’m guessing thorpe is sent down after he throws the “bulk” tonight.
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whosafraidofluigirussolo
Aug 11 2020 02:44 PM

MLBTR says "Minnesota will make a 28-man roster move to accommodate Vargas’ activation at a later date."

The point of a lot of the DFA rules is to keep players from getting stuck in limbo or shuttled back and forth to the minors indefinitely, no? Can the Twins announce the deal and still have a couple days to make room for Vargas if the week-long DFA period isn't over?

    • milldaddy35 likes this

Infield insurance in case Donaldson doesn't rebound?

Seems to be more of a middle infield type, with bat to match - potential for good BA but not much pop. He can fill a Donaldson role defensively, but nowhere close on offense.

 

I mean, he's a backup, so he's not going to replace Donaldson (or any starter). But his profile is not "poor man's Josh Donaldson." A poor man's Jose Iglesias, instead? Except for the switch hitting part, which makes it harder to suggest comps - a REALLY-poor man's Francisco Lindor. :)
 

    • DocBauer likes this

This is one of the most underwhelming moves I have seen.Blankenhorn gets no love from the team.Astudillo is put at CHS.And this player does not exactly look like a stud.AZ did not want him...

 

Still no Balazovic at St Paul.In fact, we might as well not have the extra 30 man.The only ones we pull off are the waiver wire signings.  

Sounds a lot like Adrianza to me.

    • ashbury and bighat like this
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ScrapTheNickname
Aug 11 2020 03:26 PM

He had some pretty good offensive numbers in the Minors, maybe he's a diamond in the rough.

 

Plus, we now have another nearly unpronounceable name. Erihe, Arraez, Ildemaro ...

    • DocBauer likes this

I don't read much into this.

 

A player they think is useful was available. Maybe he'll hold a backup utility position, maybe not. Probably the next Ronald Torres, so to speak.

Seems to be more of a middle infield type, with bat to match - potential for good BA but not much pop. He can fill a Donaldson role defensively, but nowhere close on offense.

I mean, he's a backup, so he's not going to replace Donaldson (or any starter). But his profile is not "poor man's Josh Donaldson." A poor man's Jose Iglesias, instead? Except for the switch hitting part, which makes it harder to suggest comps - a REALLY-poor man's Francisco Lindor. :)


Sorry, should have been more clear. Just meant more infield depth so Marwin can stick at 3B if Donaldson remains out.

And so far, no Gordon yet either, yes? Wouldn't mind seeing what Blankenhorn can do.

perhaps he is a "better than Blankenhorn" choice ??

    • Minny505 likes this
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Kaden Meeds
Aug 11 2020 04:18 PM
With Adrianza and Marwin in their final years I could see Vargas taking over the Adrianza role and Blankenhorn into a more super utility role.
    • 70charger and DocBauer like this

I think they made this deal because they still had a surplus of "Vargas" jerseys sitting around because the old clubhouse guy saw "Kennys" and thought there were two of them. Sure, they'll have to take them in a bit...

    • USAFChief, adjacent, Otwins and 5 others like this

 

Sounds a lot like Adrianza to me.

If Donaldson doesn't rebound, Adrianza is going to be our 3rd baseman with Marwin still filling his role of playing everywhere (including spelling Sano who is striking out at his old-fashioned alarming rate).

 

This new guy can spell Adrianza and Arraez once per week.

 

The other 4-5 teams who were in on the Donaldson bidding war are feeling VERY relieved they backed out. It's still early in his contract but so far, a big dud.

    • PDX Twin likes this

Interesting move, Vargas seems like he's got some decent contact and slugging ability, but struggles with getting on base. I wonder if he's any good defensively, but I see he's played the most at 2B, so I'm going to guess he's on the lower end of the spectrum.

 

I hope this is more of a "we've always liked this guy and think we can improve his game" move rather than a "Donaldson won't be back for awhile". It's also bad news for Astudillo and Blankenhorn, since Vargas is out of options.

    • bighat likes this

If Donaldson doesn't rebound, Adrianza is going to be our 3rd baseman with Marwin still filling his role of playing everywhere (including spelling Sano who is striking out at his old-fashioned alarming rate).
 
This new guy can spell Adrianza and Arraez once per week.
 
The other 4-5 teams who were in on the Donaldson bidding war are feeling VERY relieved they backed out. It's still early in his contract but so far, a big dud.

It's a bit early to say that about Donaldson... but hey, good thing we didn't sign Bumgarner!

    • 70charger and DocBauer like this
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jorgenswest
Aug 11 2020 06:39 PM
Do the Twins make this move if they think Donaldson will be back in any reasonable time frame?
    • DocBauer likes this

Do the Twins make this move if they think Donaldson will be back in any reasonable time frame?


Interesting question! Considering the Twins supposedly "liked him for a while" and costs only $ and not even a single prospect, I suspect they make the move anyway.

No offense to anyone, but I think it's safe to say he is a notch above a couple of the AAAA guys they have for depth over in St Paul.
    • Danchat, dbminn and Minny505 like this
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operation mindcrime
Aug 12 2020 01:02 AM
When has Willians Astudillo ever been in great shape? :)
    • Minny505 and snap4birds like this

Yeah, this seems to be a depth move. I like it. They need to add another position player to the roster and he is probably their best option. 

 

Right now, the team does not have enough position players on their active roster to fulfill the new 26-man requirement, which is 13. Obviously that requirement has been waived for 2020, but I still think it is in the best interest of the Twins to have 13. This move gets them there.

This probably doesn’t bode well for Nick Gordon, who just got cut in line for potential MLB playing time.
    • ashbury likes this

Not much excitement here. They may want to try moving Sano to third and Marwin at first and see what happens- either for a few games or until Donaldson comes back. Or maybe they are looking to trade someone (Adrianza?) for a pitcher- though he won't get much. Who knows.

This probably doesn’t bode well for Nick Gordon, who just got cut in line for potential MLB playing time.

I think he’s gotten used to that by now...

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