Rockies acquire Jose Morales in minor swap with Twins

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From the Twins’ official Twitter feed comes word that the club has traded catcher Jose Morales to the Rockies for young left-hander Paul Bargas.

Morales, 27, hit .194/.295/.250 with zero home runs, two doubles and seven RBI over 36 at-bats in 2010 for the Twins.  He will serve as a rarely-used backup in Colorado behind Chris Iannetta, who is finally getting a chance at real playing time.

Iannetta had 16 homers in 289 at-bats for the Rockies in 2009 and 18 homers with an 895 OPS back in 2008.  When given everyday looks, he has produced.  Now it’s time for him to produce over the course of an entire season.

Bargas was selected by Colorado in the 13th round of the 2009 MLB Amateur Draft.  He hasn’t climbed out of Single-A, but the 22-year-old posted a solid 3.59 ERA and 1.12 WHIP over 67.2 innings this past year in the South Atlantic League and may have a future as a big league setup man if he continues to flash good numbers down on the farm.

The Twins appear comfortable with Drew Butera serving as Joe Mauer’s primary backup in 2011.

Ramón Laureano made an absolutely ridiculous play yesterday

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I talked about it in the recaps, but dear lord does Oakland A’s outfielder Ramón Laureano’s play in yesterday’s game against the Blue Jays deserve it’s own post.

Jays first baseman Justin Smoak led off the second with a single Then Teoscar Hernández then came up and hit a long drive to center. In what, in and of itself, would’ve lead the highlight reels yesterday, Laureano ranged back to the wall and reached over to rob Hernández of a homer.

Laureano is known best for his arm, though, and that’s when he unleashed that hose, attempting to double off Smoak at first base all the way from the warning track. The throw was not on target — indeed, it sailed way past first base — but that was itself impressive as all get-out. As A’s pitcher Brett Anderson said after the game, he’s pretty sure the throw went farther than Hernández hit the ball in the first place. The arm strength on display there was simply phenomenal. But it was also lucky.

Lucky because the throw went so far into foul territory that it gave Smoak the courage to break for second base. Laureano was not the only one playing great defense on the play, though: A’s catcher Nick Hundley backed up the play, got Laureano’s errant throw and fired it down to second, nailing Smoak. And heck, Hundley’s throw was nothing to sneeze at either:

That did not go as an outfield assist for Lauerano, obviously, as his bad throw — which would’ve been an error had Smoak managed to advance, we must admit — broke that up. So, in the books it goes as an F7 and then a separate 2-4 putout. Still, it just shows Laueano’s incredible defensive abilities, both with the leather and with that cannon he has for an arm.

An arm that, this play not withstanding, gets him plenty of assists. Indeed, he has has five assists this season already and has 14 assists in just 70 games, which is a lot. To put it in perspective, it usually takes somewhere between 12-18 to lead the league in a full season with 20 being an outlier of sorts, only seen once every five years or so.

So, if you’re gonna hit it to center against the A’s, make sure you hit it all the way out. And if Laureano gets to it, for god’s sake, don’t run on him.