August 16, 2011 – The Twins payroll reduction began yesterday when the Twins finally gave up on Delmon Young whom they had acquired from Tampa in 2007 for pitcher Matt Garza and shortstop Jason Bartlett and sent him packing to the first place Detroit Tigers of all places. The Twins acquired High-A ball pitcher Cole Nelson, a Minnesota native and a player to be named later who was announced today as minor league reliever Lester Oliveros.
Cole Nelson is a 22 year lefty and stands 6’ 7” and goes about 235. The Twins like their pitchers big and Nelson fits the mold. Nelson played baseball at Edina High School and went on to play for Des Moines Community College before moving on to Auburn. Nelson was drafted in the 10th round in 2010 by the Tigers and started his pro career in rookie ball in 2010.
Lester Oliveros was signed by the Tigers as an amateur free agent in 2005 and has been working his way up the Tigers minor league system since 2006. The 6’ 225 pound Venezuelan right-handed Oliveros has been used exclusively as a relief pitcher since 2006 and he has struck out 317 batters in 254+ innings and has a 3.22 ERA. On the down side, Oliveros averages 4 walks per 9 innings.
It would be easy to say that GM Smith should have traded Young after last season when he hit 21 homeruns and knocked in 112 runs but it did not happen so now we have to hope that one or both of these prospect pitchers come through. I think that the Twins have a bad habit of holding on to players and prospects too long and then getting nothing for them when they have a bad season or do not live up to their potential. I would rather see the Twins trade a player a year or two too early versus holding on to them too long and walking away empty handed.