It seems like every week or two, there is a pitcher who is designated for assignment by a team. In the Twins Daily Forums, we discuss whether or not the Twins should consider claiming him or not. This article is no different.
On Friday, the Texas Rangers added Roy Oswalt to their 40 man roster. To make room for him, Mark Hamburger was Designated for Assignment.
Hamburger is a Minnesota native who went to Mesabi Range CC and later signed with the Twins after a tryout camp at the Metrodome. In 2008, he was closing for the Elizabethton Twins when he learned that he had been traded to the Texas Rangers for Eddie Guardado. He climbed consistently up the Rangers ladder. In 2011, he began the season in AA, advanced to AAA And made five appearances for the Rangers in September. Although he wasn't on the Rangers' playoff rosters, he was allowed in the dugout and clubhouse. What an experience.
In previous years, he was clocked with a fastball between 91 and 96 mph as a reliever. He also had a hard slider and a split-finger fastball. This year, the 25-year-old's velocity is said to be down around 90. He has pitched all season in AAA where he made three starts before moving to the bullpen. Overall this year, he has a 6.55 ERA in 45.1 innings. He has given up 66 hits (includind 7 home runs) and 21 walks while striking out 37.
So, there may be some concern about his numbers, and certainly some concern about the lack of velocity. But there are reasons for the Twins to consider claiming Hamburger. First and foremost, the team needs pitching. When he is on, he throws a lot of strikes and throws quite hard. He can miss bats. He could be a very good big league reliever. His numbers aren't good, but he is pitching in the Pacific Coast League. It is a nice story, the former non-drafted kid from Minnesota, signed afte a tryout camp, is always fun! Finally, he was not added to the Rangers 40 man roster until last September when he was promoted. In other words, 2012 is his first option year. He has two more option years.
I think it's worth the gamble.
Hamburger was taking the news well. In a text message to Twins Daily, he wrote, "It's all good. I'm not mad since Roy Oswalt is the (other half of the transaction). It should all work out for the best."
When asked about the possibility that the Twins could sign him, he wrote, "Wouldn't that be cool!"
We shall see.