With Carl Pavano coming back to the Twins next season via salary arbitration, somebody had to be trimmed from the 40-man roster. Bill Smith's choice: Boof Bonser. He had rejected a 1-year contract offer earlier in the week, and so probably had ideas about making a little more than the Twins had in mind. Still, as a first-year arbitration-eligible player who missed all of 2009 and was largely ineffective in 2008 (5.93 ERA in 118.1 IP), the difference couldn't have been more than a couple 100K - chump change, even for the Twins.
Boof was no lock to be a contributor in 2010, though his rehab from offseason shoulder surgery evidently went well enough that he was ready to pitch in September, if needed. He struck out better than a batter per inning during his 52 IP bullpen stint in 2008, and had a reasonable 2.7 BB/9. It was his BABIP that got him into trouble, as well as an inability to strand runners. Those are the sorts of things that can fluctuate a lot year-to-year. With such solid peripherals, Boof was a decent bet for the bullpen in 2010, and he was probably going to get a shot at the final rotation spot in spring training.
For the trivial sum he would cost, even had the Twins lost their arbitration case, it's hard to believe that the decision was motivated by money. And yet, what else could be the reason for choosing to DFA Boof, while preserving a place on the 40-man for Bobby Keppel? Just about anybody in the upper levels of the Twins' system, as well as any number of guys who are about to be non-tendered on Friday, can do what Keppel does: provide replacement level relief. Not everyone can put up a K/9 over 9.0. Keppel certainly can't. So what could be the reason to prefer him, other than to save an extra $0.5M? I hope it's not because he figures into the Twins' plans for 2010. Lord knows, they should be able to do better.