MINNEAPOLIS — The Twins got busy early Thursday, the final day of baseball’s non-waiver trade deadline.
Minnesota acquired left-handed starting pitcher Tommy Milone from Oakland, sending outfielder Sam Fuld to the A’s. Fuld, 32, began the 2014 season in Oakland but was later placed on waivers and claimed by Minnesota. He appeared in 53 games for Minnesota, batting .274 with 17 RBI.
"He isn’t an overpowering guy, but he really knows how to pitch," Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony told FOXSportsNorth.com. "He’s got tremendous makeup and he’s had success wherever he’s been, from USC to nationals to the Oakland A’s. . . . He’s coming into a good situation here. I think it’s a good get for us."
Milone, 27, made 16 starts for the A’s this year but was the odd man out of the rotation after Oakland acquired Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel from the Cubs on July 5. Milone was 6-3 with a 3.55 ERA in 96 1/3 innings this year for the A’s. He was sent to Triple-A Sacramento on July 5 and was 1-1 with a 6.43 ERA in four starts with the River Cats.
The Twins assigned Milone to Triple-A Rochester, the same level he was at when Minnesota acquired him. It doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be there long, though. He made his last start two days ago and isn’t due to pitch until this weekend.
"I just told him to go down there, get situated and get working, and everything else will take care of itself," Antony said. "First we’ve got to see what some guys up here can do. If Tommy goes down there and pitches well in Rochester, he’s going to get an opportunity up here."
Milone doesn’t possess electric stuff, as his fastball averaged just 86.5 mph this season, according to FanGraphs. Still, the Twins receive a potential major-league arm in exchange for an early-season waiver claim by completing this deal.
The acquisition of Fuld gives Oakland another outfielder after it traded Yoenis Cespedes to Boston in the Jon Lester deal. Fuld’s previous tenure in Oakland was brief, as he played in just seven games before he was placed on waivers.
Antony said Fuld’s versatility in the outfield, as well as his low price tag — he’s making just $800,000 this season — made him appealing to several teams. In the end, Oakland won out and brought Fuld back to the Bay area.
Besides trading for Milone, the Twins are recalling first baseman Kennys Vargas from Double-A New Britain. Vargas, 23, hit 17 homers and drove in 63 runs in 97 games with the Rock Cats this year. The Puerto Rico native also played in the Futures Game, representing the World team. In six minor-league seasons, Vargas batted .288 with 59 homers. While his bat has been impressive in the minors, Vargas’ defense at first base remains a bit of a work in progress.
Vargas joined the Twins in Kansas City on Thursday but was not in the lineup. He’ll likely split time between first base and designated hitter.
"We’ve been struggling to score some runs, and he’s an offensive-type player," Antony said. "We just think that adding his bat to the lineup might provide a little energy and hopefully score some runs and help the offense out. Right now’s probably a good situation for him to get his feet wet."