Monday, August 1, 2016

Twins Flip Abad For Pat Light

As the Minnesota Twins barrel towards the trade deadline, there's been three players I've been adamant on needing to be moved by August 1st at 3pm central time. The group includes Brandon Kintzler, Kurt Suzuki, and Fernando Abad. Three hours prior to the deadline, Minnesota has moved the last name on that list.

Fernando Abad was a non-roster invite to Twins big league spring training. He was lit up for the Athletics last year, but Minnesota was confident he was tipping his pitches. Needing lefty relievers, and jettisoning Brian Duensing, it appeared that Abad had a lock for the pen from the get go. It turns out that Minnesota was smart to bet on Abad.

I wrote a piece not too long ago about Terry Ryan's ability to snag guys on minor league deals. Abad is the latest to fall into that category. He turned in a shiny 2.65 ERA across 34.0 IP for Minnesota. Abad dominated lefties and was capable against righties. He gave Minnesota everything they could have expected from him, and then he became expendable.

On a team destined to lose 90 games, Abad has no place on Paul Molitor's club. He's arbitration eligible a year from now, but he's taking a roster spot from up and coming relievers in the Twins system that could use the final months of the season to develop. Interim GM Rob Antony flipped him over to the Boston Red Sox, a team that makes a ton of sense. Abad projects as a nice lefty out of the pen, and fits in well for a team that has serious playoff implications in its future.

In return for Abad, the Twins get the Red Sox 14th overall (per MLB Pipeline) prospect, Pat Light. Light was drafted by the Twins in the 28th round of the 2009 draft out of high school but didn't sign. He was taken 37th overall in the 2012 draft by the Red Sox and has served as the Triple-A closer this year.

Light has struck out 10.5 batters per nine this season, and he has the stuff to push it up to 100 mph. I saw him recently at Pawtucket, and he made striking out the likes of Rochester Red Wings batters look easy. He has walked nearly 5.0 batters per nine this season however, so control issues are definitely a concern for him.

At some point in 2016, the expectation should be that light will appear in the Twins pen. He's a nice piece, and he gives the Twins added relief depth. For a team that has failed to put strike throwers in their pen for quite some time, the winds appear to be shifting. If Minnesota can hone in Light's control, this acquisition could look even better.

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