The big news on Sunday was when Pat Neshek tweeted that he was now a member of the San Diego Padres. It was pretty interesting to watch my Twitter feed blow up with remarks from stunned Twins fans and media members.
He was put on outright waivers on Friday and picked up by the Padres on Sunday. He still had one more minor-league option, but rather than just option him to AAA, the Twins put him on waivers. They did this to open up a spot on the 40-man roster, but Bill Smith indicated that the Twins aren't adding anyone right away. Kelsie Smith of the PiPress tweeted that this means that the Twins tried to trade him, couldn't, so they placed him on waivers. It's still kind of head-scratcher, though.
Pat is a local kid and a fan favorite. He gained a lot of popularity as soon as he broke into the big leagues with his funky pitching style and his approachability through his blog, Twitter, and Facebook. He had great promise in 2006 and 2007, but then was sidelined by Tommy John surgery in 2008 and missed all of 2009. He never really got his groove back in 2010, and looked absolutely out of gas by the end of the season. This spring, his velocity hasn't yet peaked where it should be, and it seems like his sharpness is still a work-in-progress.
He also may have fallen slightly out of favor with the Twins coaching staff and front office. In 2010, when he has having forearm soreness, he announced on Facebook his frustration with the Twins' medical staff for misdiagnosing his injury. However, as Phil Mackey from ESPN notes in his blog, if they were really upset, they wouldn't have re-signed him this off-season.
This may be a great opportunity for Pat. It's clear that he wouldn't have made the big club out of spring training; he may have a better chance for being in the major league bullpen with the Padres. Also, he'll have an advantage going to the National League and facing batters who aren't used to his delivery. I speak for Twins fans when I say that we wish him all the best of luck in San Diego. (Psst...the Padres are due to visit Target Field in June. Let's hope we get to see him then.)