Twins acquire Eddie Guardado from Texas [UPDATES]

Posted on August 25th, 2008 – 2:26 PM
By La Velle

The Twins have acquired lefthander Eddie Guardado from the Texas Rangers in exchange for minor league righthander Mark Hamburger. The move brings back a fan favorite who helped the club win the AL Central division in 2002 and 2003.

Guardado, who earned the nickname, `Everyday Eddie,’ for his ability to pitch effectively for several straight days, is 3-3 with a 3.65 ERA and four saves in 55 appearances with Texas. He’s given up runs in four of his last five outings.

The Twins tried to land Guardado before the July 31 trade deadline but the Rangers’ asking price was too high at the time. Texas, at the time, was interested in one of the Twins’ nearly ready pitching prospects, like righthanders Jeff Manship or Anthony Swarzak or lefthander Brian Duensing.

Guardado, 37, debuted with the Twins as a starter in 1993 - at age 22 – and pitched for them until he left as a free agent following the 2003 season.  He became a reliever in his third major league season and worked his way up the bullpen pecking order until he replaced LaTroy Hawkins as the Twins’ closer during the 2001 season. He saved 45 and 41 games the next two years.

He’s also pitched for Seattle and Cincinnati, but missed most of the 2007 season because of Tommy John surgery.

Guardado is making $2 million this season, and indications are that the Twins are picking up the rest of his salary, which is a little more than $400,000. Guardado also gets a $100,000 bonus for being traded to a AL Central team and a $250,000 bonus when he appears in his 60th game. The guess here is that the Twins will pay those bonuses.

Hamburger, 21, was 1-2 with a 4.17 ERA  and 13 saves in 27 games with Elizabethton, Tenn., of the Appalachian League. He was named the league’s closer of the year and was named to the All-Star team.

It will be a great story if Hamburger reaches the majors – not because of the name. He was signed out of a Twins tryout camp in June of 2007. He throws in the mid 90′s, and the Twins official I spoke with on Monday said Hamburger has a good chance to reach the majors.

The Twins later today will announce the move that will clear space on the major league roster for Guardado.

Update: There are indications that the Guardado will arrive in Seattle in time for tonight’s game – but the Twins are still contemplating how to make room on the roster for him.

4:05 p.m. update: This will be my final update. Joe C. has unpacked in Seattle and will take it from here.

Guardado is on a flight from Kansas City to Seattle and will arrive in time for tonight’s game.

I mentioned above that Guardado will receive a $250,000 bonus once he appears in 60 games. I’ve been informed that he gets another $250,000 once he appears in 65 games. It’s still unclear who will pay these bonuses. There’s a chance the teams will split the difference. Guardado already has earned $1 million in bonuses this year.

He’s third in the AL with 23 holds. Opponents are batting .206 against him – and he’s holding lefties to a .172 average. Not bad for someone who’s hitting 85-88 on the gun.

He was on the disabled list with a sore shoulder earlier in the season but has had no problems since then.

In addition to the names mentioned above, Boof Bonser and Tyler Robertson’s names also came up in talks. Robertson is one of the Twins’ top pitching prospects, but was shut down recently with shoulder problems. He’s already seeing positive results during rehab. Robertson’s father, Jay Robertson, is a Rangers scout.

A Rangers scout clocked one of Mark Hamburger’s fastballs at 96 during a recent outing.

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