Baseball

Twins Claim Kyle Garlick, Designate Brandon Waddell

The Twins have claimed outfielder Kyle Garlick off waivers from the Braves, per a team announcement. Left-hander Brandon Waddell was designated for assignment in order to open a space on the 40-man roster.

It’s the latest stop in a growing list of organizations for Garlick, 29, whose stay with the Braves will only prove to last for a few days. Garlick was the Dodgers’ 28th-round pick back in 2015, but in the past calendar year he’s been traded to the Phillies, claimed by the Braves and now claimed by the Twins.

Minnesota still needs a 40-man spot to make Alex Colome’s one-year deal final, so it’s far from a sure thing that Garlick will last on the roster for too long. It’s fairly common for clubs to claim a player and then try to pass him through outright waivers shortly thereafter — thus allowing the team to retain him without committing a 40-man roster spot.

Garlick spent most of the 2020 season at the Phillies’ alternate site in Lehigh Valley, though he did appear in a dozen games at the MLB level. He went just 3-for-22 with a double and seven strikeouts in that time, however. Garlick showed a bit of promise with the Dodgers in 2019 when he made his big league debut and hit .250/.321/.521 with three long balls and four doubles in a small sample of 53 plate appearances. He’s a career .281/.332/.568 hitter in 645 Triple-A plate appearances and does have a minor league option remaining as well.

As for the 26-year-old Waddell, he was a 2015 fifth-rounder by the Pirates out of Virginia. He made his MLB debut last year with Pittsburgh and tossed 3 1/3 innings with a pair of strikeouts and walks apiece. The Twins claimed him off waivers back on Oct. 30.

Waddell has a strong track record up through the Double-A level and was solid at Triple-A in 2018 as well. Like most Triple-A pitchers in 2019, however, his season was an unmitigated disaster as offensive levels spiked to all-time highs in that league amid the widely held belief that the ball was juiced. (Triple-A adopted the same ball used in MLB that season.) Even after being clobbered for 59 runs in 61 innings of Triple-A ball that year, Waddell has a 4.12 ERA in 478 minor league frames with a 20.4 percent strikeout rate and a 9.8 percent walk rate. He’s not a huge strikeout pitcher but induces grounders at an above-average clip and has two minor league options remaining.

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