Twins happy for Tigers' Akil Baddoo, even as he haunts his former organization
What do the Minnesota Twins make of Akil Baddoo, and his hot April start that nicked the Twins in a couple of early games at Comerica Park?
They are, officially, happy — for Baddoo, who now is Tigers property thanks to the Rule 5 draft. But they clearly wish he were back in Minnesota’s system, grooming his skills for potential big-league life at Target Field, as he was before Detroit grabbed him last December.
That the Tigers might return him to the Twins — the primary option if Detroit chooses not to retain Baddoo on the 26-man active roster during all of 2021 — isn’t likely, as Derek Falvey, president of baseball operations for the Twins, all but conceded during an interview last week with Twins media members.
Part of the transcript follows:
► Is Akil Baddoo now a bigger regret than trading Lance Lynn?
“Yeah, Akil, great kid, through and through, one of the greatest makeup kids we have in the system. Certainly, what he’s done already has been tremendous, through the course of his spring training and the way he’s gotten off to this start. I’m really happy for him, personally, on that front. I think for us as we went through the decisions to protect as we do every offseason, they’re not easy decisions when you kind of get to the line and where you’re going to draw the line. He was certainly in the conversations to add to the (40-man) roster at that time. I think our position at the time was just looking at it where we were with our roster, what we needed to keep open for open slots for free agency, where our major league team was — and at the time, our view of where Akil was relative to the major-league level. But, clearly, he’s got off to a tremendous start. Disappointed we don’t have him, for sure, especially when he goes and does that against us (Baddoo’s performance last week against the Twins). But I will tell you that I’m happy for him, personally.”
► Did you even think someone would take a guy who hadn’t played in two years and only got to A ball?
“I mean, what you’re identifying is probably a lot of the conversation we had in our room around just the potential for that. We always know that any player you leave open or unprotected who’s a good player, which we thought Akil is and did think then and still think now, that’s always a possibility. But ultimately proximity to the major leagues, with what you just said, a lot of time down, clearly he’s done a nice job to keep himself as prepped as possible through the course of this offseason so that he could get off to the start he has.”
More: A scout’s notes, and some improbable timing, helped deliver Baddoo to Tigers
► Did you ever come close to protecting him?
“Yeah, definitely. It’s easy to say now, but I can tell you this is the truth, and you can vet it with a lot of our group, he’s right on that edge of the last guy or so that we were going to protect. Every year, though, we get to that line, and you just have to make a call. You always want to protect more players. You hate to lose players. But you also get in a position where if you over-protect, you really jam up your roster and then you don’t have the ability to make changes. It’s also a lot easier to claim somebody on waivers who has three options than it is sometimes to Rule 5. So that was part of the calculus for any player we add or don’t add in the process.”
Lynn Henning is a freelance writer and former Detroit News sports reporter.