7/31/2014 7:29 P.M. ET
Twins acquire Milone from A's in exchange for Fuld
Left-hander will report to Triple-A Rochester; prospect Vargas recalled
By Rhett Bollinger / MLB.com
KANSAS CITY -- The Twins bolstered their rotation before Thursday's 3 p.m. CT non-waiver Trade Deadline, acquiring left-hander Tommy Milone from the A's in exchange for outfielder Sam Fuld.
It was the lone trade of the day for the Twins, who also decided to hold on to catcher Kurt Suzuki, as they signed him to a two-year extension worth $12 million with a $6 million vesting option for 2017 based on plate appearances in '16.
Additionally, the Twins recalled first baseman/designated hitter Kennys Vargas from Double-A New Britain to join the team in Kansas City on Thursday. Vargas, ranked as the club's No. 11 prospect by MLB.com, was hitting .281/.360/.472 with 17 homers, 17 doubles and 63 RBIs in 97 games.
Milone, 27, has been a solid starter in parts of four seasons with the Nationals and A's, going 32-22 with a 3.84 ERA in 78 starts and two relief appearances. The left-hander was 6-3 with a 3.55 ERA this season with Oakland to go along with 61 strikeouts and 26 walks in 96 1/3 innings.
"This is a guy we've always liked," Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said. "He's won wherever he's been going back to USC. He was a winner with Washington and with Oakland. And even this year he was sent down to the Minors with numbers that were very good in most rotations. He's not an overpowering pitcher but he knows how to pitch and changes speeds. He's a fly-ball pitcher who should fit in well at Target Field."
Milone was at Triple-A Sacramento at the time of the trade, as the A's had plenty of pitching depth after acquiring Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel in early July. He'll report to Triple-A Rochester, as Vargas will take Fuld's spot on the roster.
But Milone isn't expected to be at Rochester for long, as the Twins have high hopes for the left-hander. Milone isn't overpowering, as his fastball averaged just 86.6 mph this season, and is also fly-ball prone given his 38.4 percent fly-ball percentage this season, but has still had good results in the Majors.
"It was tough to see Sammy go but we got a nice pitcher here," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He's a guy with Major League experience who can get people out. Suzuki played with him and said he's game on. He's a hard worker and a good teammate."
It's the second time Milone has been traded in his career. He was originally drafted by the Nationals in the 10th round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Southern California, but was traded to the A's from Washington along with right-hander Brad Peacock, catcher Derek Norris and pitcher A.J. Cole for left-hander Gio Gonzalez and right-hander Rob Gilliam on Dec. 23, 2011.
He played with Suzuki for three seasons in Oakland, and the catcher was excited to hear Milone was heading to the Twins.
"He's a competitor," said Suzuki, who talked to Milone on Thursday after he heard the news. "He's not going to light up the radar gun but he knows how to pitch and get guys out even when he doesn't have his best stuff."
Fuld, 32, played in 53 games with the Twins after being acquired off waivers from the A's on April 20. The outfielder hit .274/.370/.354 with one homer, 10 doubles and 12 stolen bases for Minnesota.
"There was a lot of interest in Sam Fuld," Antony said. "There were multiple clubs that called on Fuld, but this was one that made sense for us. We liked the opportunity to get a pitcher who is still just 27 and under control for the next five years."
The Twins also had other potential trade candidates, including outfielder Josh Willingham and right-hander Kevin Correia, but only moved Fuld on Thursday. But the Twins could still make moves in August.
Now that the non-waiver Trade Deadline has passed, deals involving players on the 40-man roster cannot be made unless the players already have cleared waivers. In other words, the player must be offered to the other teams in reverse order of the standings, and if he is claimed by one of the teams, he cannot be traded. The club that placed the player on waivers can either withdraw the request and keep the player, or let the player go to the claiming team, which would then have the rights to the player.
Antony said he wouldn't rule out any other trades this season, as they've made a few notable August trades in recent seasons such as sending Jim Thome to Cleveland in 2011, dealing Delmon Young to Detroit that same year and trading Justin Morneau to Pittsburgh last season.
"If something makes sense," Antony said, "if we were able to make a move and get something in return, we'd consider that in August."