Minnesota Twins fans have long dreaded talking about 2008’s Johan Santana trade, namely considering the mediocre return that the organization wound up getting from the quartet of players that they’d receive from the New York Mets for their long time ace. Three of the players that the team acquired in the deal (Carlos Gomez, Philip Humber, Kevin Mulvey) are all long gone from the organization and it would seem the last one remaining, Deolis Guerra, may not be too far behind as the team outrighted him off their 40-man roster on Friday afternoon.
Guerra, now 23, was originally signed as an international free agent by the Mets at the age of 17 out of Venezuela. Guerra’s first two professional seasons weren’t overly impressive, he allowed too many walks with too few strikeouts, but scouts still largely raved about his potential (he was selected to appear on the World Team in the 2007 Futures Game) and considered him to be a vital piece to the package that the Twins received for Santana. Baseball America even ranked Guerra as the game’s 35th best prospect heading into the 2008 season. It’d be the only time he’d appear among the game’s top prospects. In the five seasons since there have been some improvements – an increase in strikeout rate, for one – but generally speaking Guerra has continued to underwhelm in Minnesota’s minor league system. But where he’s seen some successes, there have been an equal number of failures along the way. Guerra’s hit rate and WHIP have been largely unimpressive, directly contributing to a highly inconsistent ERA overall.
Wanting to protect him from being eligible for the Rule 5 Draft, Minnesota added Guerra to their 40-man roster in November 2009 but after three years of waiting it would seem the time has come for things to be re-evaluated. Guerra has been outrighted to the team’s Triple-A affiliate but will receive an invitation to Spring Training. Not already being on the 40-man roster, however, it will take a superb performance for the 6’5” right-hander to win a spot on the team’s active roster. With a career record of 46-57 with a 4.87 ERA in 750.0 innings of work over the past seven seasons, Guerra may be nothing more than organizational filler at this point in his career.