On Friday, the Miami Marlins designated reliever Jon Rauch for assignment, which means the club can either release Rauch, trade him or he can accept an assignment in the minors. Rauch, if you can remember, was once a member of the Minnesota Twins and was once-upon-a-time the closer in Minnesota due to the season-ending injury to Joe Nathan in 2010. Rauch ended up garnering 21 saves in 2010 with a 3.12 ERA in 57.2 innings pitched. Following the acquisition of Matt Capps, the Twins allowed Rauch to become a setup man and eventually a free-agent after the 2010 season was over.
This season was not a highlight for Rauch as he struggled to a 6.89 ERA in 16.2 innings with the Marlins, which prompted them do designate him for assignment after they successfully won the claim for reliever Duane Below. Since Rauch is back on the open market, is it possible that he may land back in Minnesota as a middle-reliever?
For his career, Rauch has a 3.90 ERA and a 4.32 ERA in the American League. I would say the chances of Rauch coming back to the Twins are very slim at this point, but a possible reunion is an interesting tidbit to think about. Rauch has been a solid middle-reliever and setup man over his career and I am under the belief that he could do a better job than some of the pitchers that we currently employ in our bullpen such as Josh Roenicke. Granted the Twins’ bullpen has done a masterful job so far this year, Rauch could possibly make them better. They do not have a lot of veteran experience in the bullpen, unless you consider Anthony Swarzak, Brian Duensing, Jared Burton or Glen Perkins a veteran of the bullpen.
Rauch has proven he is willing to take the ball in any situation and can get tough outs for a ballclub during tough moments. I think the Twins would be wise to put a claim in on Rauch and take a shot at catching lightening in a bottle one last time with Rauch. It is unclear if Rauch will make it through waivers far enough for the Twins to claim him; but if he does make it to the Twins, it will be interesting to see if General Manager Terry Ryan will be proactive enough to claim Rauch in an attempt to solidify an already strong bullpen.