MINNEAPOLIS—It's not always talent or experience that closes a deal.
Case in point: The Twins traded catcher Jose Morales to the Rockies last December because he was out of options and stood little chance of making the big league team this spring. Colorado was interested in adding depth at catcher, and Morales has batted .297/.370/.354 in 74 career games.
The teams began discussing potential matches, "just throwing out some names," according to vice president for player personnel Mike Radcliff, when one name caught Minnesota's interest.
Lefty Paul Bargas, a 22-year-old who spent last season in the low Class A Asheville bullpen, is still trying to develop a pitch that will carry him to the big leagues.
"He's got no single pitch that's a standout, but his fastball plays, his curve is pretty good and he's got some command," Radcliff said. "He's a strike-thrower, and we've got an absolute need for lefthanders in our system right now."
Still, the Twins might have passed on the UC Riverside product, a 13th-round pick in 2009, if not for something that stood out in their scouting reports.
"What separated him was his makeup. We had more than one report mentioning it—his aggressiveness, his desire, his work ethic," Radcliff said. "Our guys who saw him last year loved how he goes about his business.
"We talked to John Leavitt, the scout who saw him in college, and he said the same: His demeanor and his approach to pitching give you confidence that he'll work hard to get the best out of his stuff."
That phone call sold the Twins on Bargas, who appeared in 58 games in 2010, notching a 3.59 ERA to go with 64 strikeouts and 19 walks in 68 innings.
Radcliff said: "We get reports on guys who are not good workers, who have red flags. When you're trying to project someone who can grow into a big league ballplayer, makeup can mean almost as much as raw ability."
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