MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins have made upgrading at catcher one of their top priorities this offseason, and they cleared space for that to happen on Tuesday by trading backup catcher Chris Herrmann to the D-backs for Minor League outfielder/first baseman Daniel Palka.
The deal was made with Twins general manager Terry Ryan at the annual General Managers Meetings in Boca Raton, Fla. Ryan had previously been scouting at the Arizona Fall League where Palka was playing with the Salt River Rafters. Palka was ranked as Arizona's No. 29 prospect by MLBPipeline.com.
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Herrmann, who turns 28 on Nov. 22, served as Minnesota's primary backup catcher to Kurt Suzuki in 2015. Herrmann struggled offensively, hitting .146 with two homers and 10 RBIs in 45 games. He's a career .181/.249/.280 hitter in 142 career games with the Twins over the last four seasons. With Herrmann out of the mix, Minnesota can now pursue another catcher to split duties with Suzuki.
Palka, 24, has excelled offensively in the Minors since being taken in the third round of the 2013 Draft by the D-backs out of Georgia Tech. Palka hit .280/.352/.532 with 29 homers, 36 doubles and 90 RBIs in 129 games with Class A Advanced Visalia in 2015, but he was playing against slightly younger competition. Palka, though, has continued to impress at the Arizona Fall League, hitting .304/.364/.449 with two homers and 14 RBIs in 17 games.
Palka is expected to start the season with Double-A Chattanooga. He's made 180 career starts at first base, but he has also played 80 games in right field and 20 in left. He's a career .274/.353/.504 hitter in parts of three seasons in the Minors.
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.