Twins send Wilson Ramos back to Triple-A

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Minnesota returned to a 12-man pitching staff following yesterday’s win over Chicago, activating Jose Mijares from the disabled list and sending Wilson Ramos back to Triple-A. Ramos going 4-for-5 with a double in his debut and 3-for-4 with two doubles in his second game initially had many Twins fans clamoring for him to stick around all year, but the 1-for-18 stretch that followed seems to have muted most of that talk for now.
Ultimately collecting seven hits in his first two games didn’t mean Ramos was ready to thrive in the majors any more than going 1-for-18 in his next five games means he’s not, but as a 22-year-old with little experience above Single-A and zero success at Triple-A sending him back to Rochester for a while is the best move. Ramos needs to play every day and with Joe Mauer healthy that simply wasn’t going to happen in Minnesota.
You don’t stall a 22-year-old prospect’s development and burn through his service time just so he can start twice a week and despite the immediate giddiness created by his historic debut Ramos just isn’t good enough offensively yet to be a great fit as a part-time designated hitter. He’s a very good prospect, but a huge portion of his upside comes from being a catcher and as a hitter alone he’s a promising work in progress who has yet to crack an .850 OPS at any level.
Drew Butera and Jose Morales are better current fits as a little-used understudy and if Mauer is injured again the Twins can have Ramos on the first plane from Rochester. In the meantime he’ll start 4-5 times per week behind the plate and either show enough offensively to convince the Twins he has big value in a role that isn’t strictly catching or build trade value so they can swap him for someone who fits better on a team with baseball’s best catcher signed through 2018.

Giants interested in John Lackey

John Lackey
AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast
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Ben Cafardo of the Boston Globe speculated on Sunday that there might be a connection between the Giants and veteran free agent right-hander John Lackey, and now FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that San Francisco is indeed in pursuit.

Rosenthal says the Giants, “like most clubs seeking pitching, [are] examining [a] wide range of options” in this starter-heavy free agent market. Lackey would make a ton of sense for any contender on something like a two-year deal. His free agency is tied to draft pick compensation, but that shouldn’t be much of a deterrent.

The 37-year-old right-hander registered a career-best 2.77 ERA across 218 innings (33 starts) this past season for the National League Central-champion Cardinals and he was St. Louis’ most reliable starter during the playoffs.

It’s well known that he wants to remain in the National League.

Angels sign catcher Geovany Soto to one-year contract

Geovany Soto
AP Photo/Alex Gallardo
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As first reported by beat writer Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, the Angels have signed free agent catcher Geovany Soto to a one-year major league contract.’s Alden Gonzalez says the deal is worth $2.8 million guaranteed.

Soto will offer some veteran presence at catcher for the Halos alongside 25-year-old Carlos Perez, who hit .250/.299/.346 as a rookie in 2015.

Soto slashed .219/.301/.406 with nine homers in 78 games this summer for the White Sox.

The 32-year-old backstop is a .246/.331/.434 career hitter at the major league level.

White Sox acquire right-hander Tommy Kahnle from Rockies

Tommy Kahnle
AP Photo/David Zalubowski
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According to the official Twitter account of the Chicago White Sox, the club acquired right-hander Tommy Kahnle from the Rockies on Tuesday evening in exchange for minor league pitcher Yency Almonte.

Kahnle was designated for assignment by the Rockies last week in a flurry of moves made in preparation of next month’s Rule 5 Draft. The 26-year-old former fifth-round pick posted an ugly 4.86 ERA, 1.77 WHIP, and 39/28 K/BB ratio in 33 1/3 innings this past season for Colorado and he wasn’t much better at Triple-A Albuquerque.

Almonte, 21, had a 3.41 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, and 110/38 K/BB ratio in 137 1/3 innings this past season between Low-A Kannapolis and High-A Winston-Salem.

It’s a straight one-for-one deal of two non-prospects, and the timing of it — in the evening, with Thanksgiving approaching — has our Craig Calcaterra wondering whether an executive was just trying to get out of some family responsibilities …

Mark McGwire to become the Padres bench coach

Los Angeles Dodgers batting coach Mark McGwire roams the field during practice for the National League baseball championship series Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013, in St. Louis. The Dodgers are scheduled to play the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 1 of the NLCS on Friday in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

The other day Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reported that the Padres were in discussions with former Dodgers hitting coach Mark McGwire about their bench coach job. Today Jon Heyman reports that the deal is done and will soon be announced.

McGwire has been the hitting coach for Los Angeles for the past three seasons. When his contract was not renewed following the end of 2015 he was rumored to be up for the Diamondbacks’ hitting coach job. He likely view staying in Southern California to be a plus, as he makes his home in Irvine, which is around 90 miles from Petco Park. That’s a long commute, but Mac can afford the gas, I guess.