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  • Making Sense of the Edwar Colina Decision


    Cody Christie

    Edwar Colina was projected to be part of the Twins future bullpen, but Minnesota’s front office had different plans, and he was claimed off waivers by the Rangers. With pitching needs for 2022, does the Colina decision make sense?

    Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, Twins Daily

    Originally, Edwar Colina signed as a teenager out of Venezuela. He spent his first five seasons as a starter in the Twins organization and made it to Triple-A. In over 300 innings, he posted a 2.80 ERA with a 1.22 WHIP and 8.8 K/9. Even with his successes, he projected to fill a bullpen role at the big-league level. 

    During the 2020 season, Colina made his big-league debut, but things didn’t go perfectly. He allowed three earned runs on four hits while only recording one out. Even with this poor debut, he entered 2021 spring training with a chance to make the Opening Day roster. However, elbow inflammation became an issue, and he eventually underwent a season-ending arthroscopic debridement in late May. 

    Before his elbow issues, scouting reports on Colina had him with a 60-grade fastball and a 60-grade slider. Both of those pitches were good enough for him to be a successful reliever. There were questions about his control, which was one reason to shift him from starter to reliever. That being said, he was still considered among the team’s top prospects. 

    So, why did the team try and pass him through waivers?

    According to Twins POBO Derek Falvey, Colina recently underwent a second medical procedure, which likely added doubt to when he will return from injury. He also makes it seem like the team will need plenty of roster spots for the moves they plan to make this winter. 

    Minnesota has plenty of other players on the 40-man roster that seem more expendable than Colina. Andrew Albers, Kyle Baraclough, Ian Gibaut, Drew Maggi, Nick Vincent, and Danny Coulombe are just a few fringe players who will likely not be on the 40-man roster when the team sets its roster in late November, prior to the Rule 5 draft. In fact, they may already be on waivers as you read this. It remains to be seen why these players couldn’t have been moved off now instead of Colina.

    The current Twins front office hasn’t had a great track record when it comes to self-scouting. Minnesota has multiple players not protected on the 40-man go on to have success with other organizations. Colina has the chance to follow this same path. It may turn out that he never returns from injury, but he also has two dominant pitches that can make him a bullpen weapon. Time will tell if the Twins made another self-scouting mistake. 

    Why do you think the Twins made this move? Will it come back to haunt the team? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. 

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    I wish they had chosen different timing, later on when a flood of players are all hitting the waiver wire at once.  I don't think Colina is super unique as a target for acquisition, it's just that this looks to me like a temporary move by the Rangers, who will in turn put Colina on waivers and likely be able to stash him in the minors but off their 40-man. That's the aspect I'd like to have Falvey elaborate on.

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    Agree with first 2 commenters. It's the timing that I don't get at all. Just feels like a completely unnecessary move to make right now. There are a ton of guys on the 40 man who the Twins have to have 0 plans to have there for the long-haul. Why not waive them right now and wait til other teams have their 40 mans more set and have harder decisions to make about if a post-surgery Colina is worth cutting somebody else for? Just seems like an unforced error here.

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    They maybe didn't have to make the move this week but I think the strategy was that maybe if they could get him past the few bottom teams he might slip through. None of the playoff teams were likely going to take him so that eliminates almost 10 teams.  It was a long shot but one they must have felt they needed to take if he likely wasn't going to be ready for 2022.

    I don't love the move in a vacuum but as others have said let's wait and see how they fill out the 40 man before getting too upset. 

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    Doesn't make sense to me. There are many others players which have less future value than Colina, that should have been let loose before him including Cave. I think they could sneak Colina through waivers. Didn't work again. Later after cutting the others loose after other teams fill their roster and we still need to make room then try to sneak him through if we can't trade enough players off the 40 man.

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    I just don't understand the timing, like everyone else. But it would make some sense they were trying to sneak him through while nobody was looking.

    I watched the interview with Falvey after my original shock and angst and found myself looking at the situation a bit differently. While we have heard ZERO specifics, and probably never will, it appears painfully obvious that his 2022 is in doubt. And while the Twins HAVE to make moves via FA and trade to augment and change portions of the team, they also need 40 man spots to do so, as well as protecting a handful of some quality kids in the system. Remember, Enlow has to be protected and is coming off surgery. Hopefully he will be ready to take the mound at some point in 2022, but when? And Maeda also has to be protected. Right there are 2 pitchers taking up 2 spots that can't be counted on for much of anything at this point. Not sure there is room for. 3rd.

    I'm disappointed and frustrated, but I'm starting to see the logic here. 

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    Akil Badoo 2.0.  After this regime has a disastrous season, they start off with what looks like an unforced error to start the offseason.  Just doesn't seem like they like to be employed.  One more year like this year and it will be time to clean house, which is disappointing.  Hopefully they can make something of their young pitching but if they are just going to give them away it's going to get dicey fast.

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    It’s interesting to see the personal narratives fly in this thread, like so many others of this kind over the years.

    I’m not saying people shouldn’t be critical of the front office - they earned it after this season - but the certainty stated in this thread over an injured minor leaguer just makes me roll my eyes.

    And I know some of the same characters were saying the same things about Joe Benson, Oswaldo Arcia, and Nick Burdi.

    Some temperance is needed here. I may not like the decision but I have a narrow view of the situation. We should all acknowledge some ignorance.

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    9 hours ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

    It’s interesting to see the personal narratives fly in this thread, like so many others of this kind over the years.

    I’m not saying people shouldn’t be critical of the front office - they earned it after this season - but the certainty stated in this thread over an injured minor leaguer just makes me roll my eyes.

    And I know some of the same characters were saying the same things about Joe Benson, Oswaldo Arcia, and Nick Burdi.

    Some temperance is needed here. I may not like the decision but I have a narrow view of the situation. We should all acknowledge some ignorance.

    I think that the FO pushing Colina into an unsuccessful MLB debut when he was not ready led all of us to believe that they saw this pitcher as a future part of the BP.   We signed Pineda when we knew he would be out a year recovering from surgery.  Now we drop a young, seemingly talented young arm in a pitcher starved year because he had two operations.  It makes no sense to me.  And the PR hit that moves like this make - like not giving Maggi an AB - stuns me.  

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    22 minutes ago, mikelink45 said:

    I think that the FO pushing Colina into an unsuccessful MLB debut when he was not ready led all of us to believe that they saw this pitcher as a future part of the BP.   We signed Pineda when we knew he would be out a year recovering from surgery.  Now we drop a young, seemingly talented young arm in a pitcher starved year because he had two operations.  It makes no sense to me.  And the PR hit that moves like this make - like not giving Maggi an AB - stuns me.  

    The two operations are a pretty big deal. 

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    Like most people on here the timing is very curious.  I don't think the move matters much at this point because they will probably keep most of the stiff fringe players on the 40 man roster, players very few organizations want.  Then they probably will sign a couple of aging guys from the pitching cemetery to fill out the team.  I want to be hopeful but I'm not yet sold on this front office yet.

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    1 hour ago, mikelink45 said:

    I think that the FO pushing Colina into an unsuccessful MLB debut when he was not ready led all of us to believe that they saw this pitcher as a future part of the BP.   We signed Pineda when we knew he would be out a year recovering from surgery.  Now we drop a young, seemingly talented young arm in a pitcher starved year because he had two operations.  It makes no sense to me.  And the PR hit that moves like this make - like not giving Maggi an AB - stuns me.  

    Very good analysis!

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    I think they did it right after the season in hopes he would pass through.  My understanding is they need to get back down to 40 by the winter meetings and can no longer use the 60 day DL, which they had a lot on it.  They also need to put guys they need to protect from the rule 5 draft as well. As of writing this comment I see 42 on the 40 man with 8 on 60 day DL.  The only player listed from the article as other DFA is Danny Coulombe, the others were DFA already.  Are there others above him that could have been DFA sure, but needing to get below the 40 to have room for others that need to be added for rule 5 draft purpose. I know of at least 4 that need to be added, Lewis, Sands, Widner and Miranda, plus others they may want to add.  So they still need to find 6 more guys to DFA to make room for the 60 day IL guys and the new additions.  

    That means hard decisions needed to be made, and the recent second surgery for Colina and right after the season reduces the amount of teams that was going to take a shot.  None of the playoff teams were going to put in a claim as they still have playoffs to deal with.  Every team is in a similar situation as the Twins, needing to DFA players for the coming year.  I bet we see Colina on the waiver wire again during the off-season as TX tries to sneak him through much like Twins did. 

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    We have had so many top minor leaguers on the DL this year. I think a good article on this site would be to post all players who will need to be protected on the 40 man roster. Then we can evaluate who needs to make the list and where Colina would have slotted. Only way we can truly evaluate this move.

    But yes, it was a surprising move worthy of discussing. 

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    2 hours ago, mikelink45 said:

    How many have Maeda and Pineda had?  Or Kiriloff?

    None of them were hard throwing relievers with two surgeries to repair the same injury on their throwing arm in under a year. I’ll eat crow if Colina goes on to be something, but I doubt he’s going to. 

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    3 hours ago, prouster said:

    None of them were hard throwing relievers with two surgeries to repair the same injury on their throwing arm in under a year. I’ll eat crow if Colina goes on to be something, but I doubt he’s going to. 

    Okay - not sure I can remember, but I hope you are wrong

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    It don’t see it as a Cave or Colina question. I assume they have some plan on number of healthy pitchers they project on the 40. If he is healthy it is really a question of Colina and the pitchers on the edge of the 40 whether that is Smeltzer or Thorpe or a waiver claim. If he isn’t projected to be healthy I get it. They have a few other injured pitchers they are carrying and he really hasn’t pitched since 2019 with the option clock started. 

    Does this point to their intention to contend? A rebuilding team might keep a Colina and the upside. A team planning to contend needs to optimize those 40 man spots for players that contribute now.

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