His team rolled over for the Twins to end any semblance of a race in the AL Central, but that didn’t stop Ozzie Guillen from uttering his latest highly amusing soundbite.
Guillen praised the Twins for playing so well despite losing stars like Justin Morneau and Joe Nathan, and then specifically mentioned rookie Danny Valencia coming out of nowhere to hit .330 after playing in the same high school conference as Guillen’s son, Ozzie Jr.:
They go and get this kid Valencia. When you play against Ozzie Guillen Jr. in the same division in high school, you’re very horses*** because Ozzie Guillen Jr. is not going to choose any good conference to play baseball. And [Valencia] is a superstar [for the Twins].
Now, admittedly I probably find that quote a lot funnier than, say, Ozzie Guillen Jr. does, although presumably he’s used to it by now. And you know what? He’s not totally wrong about Valencia.
Remember Manny Banuelos? He was once a top pitching prospect for the Yankees and then, apparently disappeared from the face of the earth. Or at least it felt like it. Now he’s in the news, however, as the Dodgers have signed him to a minor league contract.
OK, Banuelos didn’t disappear. He was traded to the Braves in 2015, had a cup of coffee with them, pitching pretty ineffectively in seven big league games, was released by Atlanta in the middle of 2016 and then latched on with the Angels. This past season he posted a 4.93 ERA over 95 innings while being used mostly as a reliever at Triple-A Salt Lake.
Banuelos pitched in the Future’s Game in 2009 and was a star in the Arizona Fall League in 2010. He was a top-50 prospect heading into 2011 before falling to Tommy John surgery in 2012. With Atlanta he suffered some bone spur problems and then some elbow issues that never resulted in surgery but which never subsided enough for him to fulfill his potential either. He suffered injuries. A lot of pitchers do.
It’s unrealistic to think that Banuelos will fulfill the promise he had six years ago, but he’s worth a minor league deal to see if the 26-year-old can at least be a serviceable reliever.