|The Angels dealt pending free agent closer Brian Fuentes to the Twins for a player to be named, who turned into towering Dutch righthander Loek Van Mil less than a week later, on Sept. 1.
The tallest player in pro ball at 7-foot-1, Van Mil will supplant Jon Rauch as the tallest player in major league history—if he makes it. He has topped out at Double-A in each of the past two seasons, and Angels general manager Tony Reagins identified him as a “prospect with upside.” But this season with New Britain, the worst team in the minors, things went so poorly for Van Mil that the Twins designated him for assignment to make room for Fuentes. While none of the 29 other clubs claimed Van Mil on waivers, the Angels remained intrigued and requested him as the player to be named. For this reason, and because of Fuentes’ impact potential, we’re deviating from our usual no DFA rule with regard to Trade Central.
For their part, the Twins completed two summer trades for pitchers, acquiring Fuentes from the Angels and Matt Capps from the Nationals, much as they did in 2009, when they brought on Carl Pavano and Jon Rauch in-season and went on to win the American League Central.
|Loek Van Mil, rhp
Born: Sept. 15, 1984 in Oss, Netherlands.
Ht.: 7-1. Wt.: 220. Bats: R. Throws: R.
Career Transactions: Signed as nondrafted free agent by Twins, July 7, 2005.
Van Mil tossed one scoreless inning for the Angels’ Double-A Arkansas affiliate after the trade, which must rank as one of his highlights for the season. He suffered a serious elbow injury during the 2008 season and missed time to the disabled list this year. Plus, as a career-long reliever, Van Mil never has thrown more than 44 innings in a season and has started just eight pro games, all in the ’06 Rookie-level Gulf Coast League. But despite his injury history and long levers, Van Mil possesses natural athleticism and surprising coordination. At his best, he pitches at 93-96 mph with tailing life. Throw in a hard, high-80s slider and Van Mil has the power reliever’s starter kit. But after walking more batters (22) than he struck out (21) with New Britain, he’ll have to throw a whole lot more strikes to reach his ceiling as an impact reliever.
|Brian Fuentes, lhp
Age: 35. Remaining Commitment: Under contract for 1 year, $9 million (signed 2 year, $17.5 million deal with Angels in December 2008).
Contract details courtesy of Cot’s Baseball Contracts.