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Twins sign former Mariners top prospect to minor league deal

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#1 Parker Hageman

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 10:23 AM

According to MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger reports that the Twins have signed catcher Jeff Clement, a former Baseball America's Top 50 prospect, to a minor league deal. Clement, 28, never gained any traction at the major league level with Seattle and was later traded to Pittsburgh in 2009 for Ian Snell and Jack Wilson.

In the International League last year, Clement hit 16 home runs and 35 doubles (second most in the league) but like a true swing big, miss big type of hitter, he also struck out in 101 at-bats (22% of plate appearances).

Clement was a Twins former 12th round draft pick in 2002 out of his Marshalltown, Iowa high school but chose to attend USC instead.

"You spend a good piece of your life gripping a baseball and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time." -- Jim Bouton, "Ball Four"


#2 nicksaviking

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 10:37 AM

Good news for Rochester I guess. Although I don't hink he's done much catching in the last several years.

#3 Top Gun

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 10:42 AM

I suppose he still could catch fire, I remember him well.

#4 Parker Hageman

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 10:45 AM

Right, in fact, he has caught just one game in the Pirates system since 2009. He's defense was always in question and has been projected to be moved out from behind the plate. I assume he will take the Parmelee/Bates/Burroughs role for Rochester in 2013.

"You spend a good piece of your life gripping a baseball and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time." -- Jim Bouton, "Ball Four"


#5 roger

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 10:49 AM

If I recall, the Twins tried very hard to sign him following the draft. He chose instead to attend college. That worked out well as he was the Mariners first round pick, #3 overall. I believe he set some type of national home run record while in high school.

Most likely will be at Rochester, although they now have four catchers (Clements, Fryer, Herrmann and Lehmann) which seems a bit crowded. Will Lehmann begin another year at AA? Or is this a sign that Butera could be on his way out as a non-tender candidate? On the other hand, the Twins always like to have a couple AAAA catchers around.

#6 gmarais66

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 11:03 AM

If I recall, the Twins tried very hard to sign him following the draft. He chose instead to attend college. That worked out well as he was the Mariners first round pick, #3 overall. I believe he set some type of national home run record while in high school.

Most likely will be at Rochester, although they now have four catchers (Clements, Fryer, Herrmann and Lehmann) which seems a bit crowded. Will Lehmann begin another year at AA? Or is this a sign that Butera could be on his way out as a non-tender candidate? On the other hand, the Twins always like to have a couple AAAA catchers around.


He's no longer considered a catcher. He's a first baseman.

#7 Jim H

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 11:10 AM

Roger, I doubt if the Twins really signed him to be a catcher, although he may get an invite to spring training to help with all the pitchers. These kind of signings are interesting because it is fun to speculate on the rationale. Was he signed to provide a bat at Rochester? Maybe the Twins think he can still catch and be a potential replacement if injuries befall Mauer or Doumit? Maybe he was signed just as a favor to his agent or see if he can recapture what made him a hot prospect?

Most of these type of signings of former high draft picks who were once hot prospects, never really seem to work out all that well. A lot of them are released in spring training or lanquish in AAA for a the whole year and then are released.

#8 greengoblinrulz

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 11:11 AM

Like the signing but hope this doesnt hold Chris Collabello back.
Suppose they share DH/1B spot

#9 SweetOne69

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 11:25 AM

Most likely will be at Rochester, although they now have four catchers (Clements, Fryer, Herrmann and Lehmann) which seems a bit crowded.


Herrmann will most likely be replacing Butera as the 3rd catcher when he get's non-tendered by Friday.

#10 greengoblinrulz

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 11:41 AM

Most likely will be at Rochester, although they now have four catchers (Clements, Fryer, Herrmann and Lehmann) which seems a bit crowded.


Herrmann will most likely be replacing Butera as the 3rd catcher when he get's non-tendered by Friday.


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#11 greengoblinrulz

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 11:50 AM

This pretty much showd ya what Roc's everyday players are.
C:Hermann/Fryer w/Pinto/Lehman in AA
1B: Collabello/Clement
MI: Dozier or Escobar w/Field/Betesford....Santana in AA
3B:Romero
OF: Dinkelman/Ramirez/Bigley w/either Benson/Hicks...other & Arcia in AA

#12 mike wants wins

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 12:02 PM

As long as it does not unnecessarily slow down development of real prospects, I do not care who is on the Rochester roster.

#13 roger

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 12:09 PM

This pretty much showd ya what Roc's everyday players are.
C:Hermann/Fryer w/Pinto/Lehman in AA
1B: Collabello/Clement
MI: Dozier or Escobar w/Field/Betesford....Santana in AA
3B:Romero
OF: Dinkelman/Ramirez/Bigley w/either Benson/Hicks...other & Arcia in AA


Remember when Romero was added to the 40-man roster while at Beloit? After a disappointing season, including injury, he was removed a year later. He has quietly moved up the ladder and following last year's all-star season is again a real prospect. Doubt he will be in contention for the third base job this year, but by September or spring, 2014 he could be.

#14 roger

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 12:28 PM

If I recall, the Twins tried very hard to sign him following the draft. He chose instead to attend college. That worked out well as he was the Mariners first round pick, #3 overall. I believe he set some type of national home run record while in high school.

Most likely will be at Rochester, although they now have four catchers (Clements, Fryer, Herrmann and Lehmann) which seems a bit crowded. Will Lehmann begin another year at AA? Or is this a sign that Butera could be on his way out as a non-tender candidate? On the other hand, the Twins always like to have a couple AAAA catchers around.


He's no longer considered a catcher. He's a first baseman.


Thanks, I hadn't followed him since he left the Mariners.

#15 spycake

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 12:37 PM

A former first-round pick, he had a very brief but promising first call-up at age 23, then followed by a poor partial season in the majors and a dominant half-season at AAA at age 24.

Interesting that the above statement can be applied to both Clements and to Parmelee. Not saying they are equivalent, but Clements' story does serve as a reminder to temper our enthusiasm about Parmelee a bit.

#16 Top Gun

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 12:55 PM

Clements tore up his left knee bad in 2011 and had surgery on it before that. pobably why he is at dh and 1b now.

#17 Seth Stohs

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 01:01 PM

Like the signing but hope this doesnt hold Chris Collabello back.
Suppose they share DH/1B spot



Clement is younger...

#18 Rosterman

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 01:02 PM

Last year we signed former draft pick Steve Pearce. What's with the Twins going after former draft picks (Lamb, Punto and such). I'm sure he is 1B and DH insurance. A proven AAAA bat.
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#19 greengoblinrulz

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 03:59 PM

Like the signing but hope this doesnt hold Chris Collabello back.
Suppose they share DH/1B spot


Clement is younger...

Lil sarcasm on Colabello but chris is only older by 2 months & 3days......both 29 nxt season

Edited by greengoblinrulz, 26 November 2012 - 04:01 PM.


#20 Jeremy Nygaard

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 04:27 PM

After Bollinger tweeted the news of the Clement signing, there were a number of replies about how the Twins need to sign real players instead of minor league guys. I get that. I think most of us here get that, especially considering no one here's complaining about the Clement signing.

Either way, I did a little research:

Last year, the Twins had 14 minor-league free agents they didn't re-sign (according to my records). They had 15 non-roster non-organizational spring training invites, most of whom weren't announced until later in the winter.

This year, the Twins have 17 currently not re-signed minor-league free agents (some still unsigned, some lost to others). The Twins have only signed four from other organizations. Obviously the door is still open for some of them to return - a name like Kyle Waldrop comes to mind - but it shouldn't come as any surprise if the Twins continue to add another dozen minor leaguers.

I would think Jeff Clement essentially replaces Sean Burroughs, who played a lot of first base last year. As mentioned above, Romero will probably get a lot of the 3B at-bats and Colabello will probably get a lot of ABs as well at 1B/DH.

I continue to look forward to more of these signings, even though they aren't very exciting.