As expected, the Minnesota Twins have cut ties with former Wizard’s pitcher, Juan Rincon, though they have offered him a place at Triple-A. The right handed reliever had been the longest tenured player on the Twin’s roster. He had spent 11 years in the Twins’ organization, and now has 72 hours to decide if he will accept an outright assignment to Triple-A Rochester or become a free agent.
It was a hard thing to do,” manager Ron Gardenhire said before the Twins played the Cleveland Indians. “I’ve been with him a long, long time. This is not a fun day for myself, for my coaching staff and I don’t think it’s a fun day for the players either [source: ESPN.com]
Rincon, 29, was once among the top setup men in the game but has struggled over recent seasons since testing positive for a banned substance in 2006 and most notably this year. He has a 6.11 ERA over 28 innings this season and has coughed up 33 hits, 16 walks and five homers in that span.
He singed with the Twins organization as a 17-year-old from Venesuela in 1996 and joined the Wizards (who were a Twins affiliate at the time) in 1998. With the ‘zards that year, he went 6-4 with a 3.83 ERA and 74 strikeouts over 96.1 innings pitched.
He would have been back for the 1999 season had the Wizards not switched to a San Diego Padres affiliate that year. For Quad Cities that year, he went 14-8 with a 2.83 ERA in 37 games; 13 of them were starts.
According to my records, if Rincon leaves the organization, Michael Cuddyer is the sole remaining former Wizards player on the Twins from an affiliation that produced 33 big leaguers over 6 years. In comparison, the Padres affiliation has produced 31 (soon to be 32) in 9-plus seasons.
UPDATE 6/13: As expected, Rincon has rejected the Twins offer for reassignment to Triple-A Rochester:
“It’s very sad to leave,” Rincon said. “I’m 29 and I’ve been with this team for over a third of my life. Twelve years is a long time, a lot of memories . . . But I’ve got to go do something, find another team to make it back to the big leagues.”