October 4, 2005

He Gone!

There haven't been nearly enough Twins-related things that made me smile this year, so I'm happy to present the following news from the Official Twins Beat Writer of AG.com, LaVelle E.Neal:

The Twins on Tuesday parted ways with second baseman Luis Rivas, the first product of their Venezuelan Academy to reach the majors and a contributor to three division championships.

Rivas, along with infielder Brent Abernathy and outfielder Mike Ryan, were outrighted off the Twins' 40-man roster and will become free agents. While the club is interested in keeping Abernathy, they will not make any attempts to re-sign Rivas or Ryan.

Rivas was the Twins' full-time second baseman for nearly three seasons (2001-2003) and made his debut in 2000 with a lot of promise.

"It's not just this year but a couple of years," Twins General Manager Terry Ryan said. "We have deep ties with him. It just didn't happen."

Rivas, 26, batted .250 with a homer and 12 RBI in 58 games. He spent July 17 to Sept. 5 at Class AAA Rochester and showed no improvement when he returned. Since he made $1.6 million this season, and was eligible for arbitration, he would have been expensive to bring back in 2006.


Rivas was considered the long-term answer when he made his debut in 2000. In 2001, he batted .266 and stole 31 bases. He also made numerous excellent plays in the field, along with shortstop Cristian Guzman.

But he never hit higher than .266 and didn't get on base enough to take advantage of his ability to steal bases. And he struggled with positioning in the field.

His career with the Twins began to fade during the 2003 season, when his range and attentiveness came into question, and he began to be benched occasionally. That continued the past two seasons, when he was sent to the minors.

"Rivas has been here the better part of four or five years at the major league level," Ryan said. "Maybe he needs a change of scenery, and we're going in different directions."

It is truly the end of an era, as Rivas has been this blog's whipping boy since Day 1. Here is the legacy he leaves behind in Minnesota:

YEAR       G      AVG      OBP      SLG     RCAA*
2000 16 .310 .323 .414 -2
2001 153 .266 .319 .362 -20
2002 93 .256 .305 .392 -12
2003 135 .259 .308 .381 -23
2004 109 .256 .283 .432 -11
2005 59 .257 .311 .316 -5

TOTAL 565 .262 .307 .383 -73

*RCAA stands for Runs Created Above Average. And yes, those are all negative numbers.

Rarely has a young player arrived in the major leagues at the age of 21, been given over 2,000 plate appearances spread over six seasons, most of them as an everyday player for a contending team, and shown such an across-the-board lack of improvement.

Congrats, Luis! Oh, and good riddance.

Today at The Hardball Times:
- Playoff Preview: Braves-Astros (by Aaron Gleeman)
- Sox vs. Sox: Game 1 (by Dave Studeman)
- Red Dawn: Cardinals Hold Off Padres to Take Game 1 (by Brian Gunn)

Today's Picks (114-100, +$1,220):
Houston (Pettitte) -100 over Atlanta (Hudson)

Thursday's Picks:
Houston (Clemens) +125 over Atlanta (Smoltz)

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