In an era when many Major League Baseball teams are looking to add versatility to their rosters, the Minnesota Twins have designated one of their most versatile (and popular) players for assignment in a head-scratching move.
Why did the Minnesota Twins designate Willians Astudillo for assignment on Friday?
When news came down on Friday that the Minnesota Twins had left Willians Astudillo off their 40-man roster, it was a decision that came with plenty of questions from those who follow the Twins. After all, the 30-year-old Astudillo was a fan favorite and played every position for the Twins during his four seasons with the franchise except shortstop.
Last season, Astudillo played everywhere except shortstop, left field, and center field. Yes, that included some time on the mound where he was actually effective in late-inning work, throwing four innings over four games and allowing just a solo home run which accounted for the only hit and run he surrendered. All of that equated to a 2.25 ERA and 0.750 WHIP.
He earned plenty of highlight reel team and adoration from Minnesota fans last season with his presence on the mound.
On the offensive side of the equation, Astudillo, nicknamed La Tortuga (The Turtle) has a career slash line of .270/.295/.406 in 533 plate appearances with the Twins. That includes last season’s numbers of .236/.259/.375, but he also hit a career-high seven home runs and tied a career high with 21 RBI.
With his versatility and potential for pop, it won’t be a surprise if another team takes a chance on the native of Venezuela this offseason. Add in the fact that he is arbitration-eligible through 2023 and he could become an intriguing addition for the right team.
Astudillo’s body build and long road to make his MLB debut (nine seasons with four different franchises) made his story interesting. His hustle on the bases made him an internet sensation.
With his versatility and ability, La Tortuga will most certainly be back with another team in 2022. Wherever he lands, baseball fans will be ready to create a new generation of GIFs and memes in his honor.