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Last night at 11:00, Travis Aune and I hosted this week’s episode of Twins Minor League Weekly. The show is always fun and based on the number of live listeners and call-ins, maybe it is starting to catch on. We can hope, but even if it doesn’t, you know how much I enjoy discussing the Twins minor league system, even through its struggles this year. So, if you have a chance, please listen to the podcast and let me know what you think.
But even in a blog entitled “Twins Minor League Weekly,” it would be sad if I didn’t at least mention Carl Pavano and his terrific performance last night. He threw yet another complete game and a shutout of the Baltimore Orioles. Shortly after the completion of the game, uber-blogger Aaron Gleeman tweeted, “Carl Pavano has now started 32 games for Twins: 17-10 with 3.72 ERA, 140/35 K/BB ratio in 217.1 IP.” To that, I could only respond, “Definitely worth Yohan Pino!” At the time of the trade, I actually liked the idea of Pavano coming to the Twins, but I thought that giving up Pino, who has been a very solid pitcher throughout his pro career including at AAA last year, was maybe a little much. Well, Pavano has not only stuck around for an extra year, but he has been one of the most consistent pitchers in the league. It was his second straight complete game win, his fifth complete game of the year, and the 15th time in 20 starts that he has completed seven innings.
The front office and the advanced scouts that told the Twins brass that Pavano should be targeted deserve a ton of credit. That’s why, although I am not one willing to give up enough in terms of prospects to go after Roy Oswalt of Dan Haren, I believe the Twins will make a deal for a “lesser known” pitcher, and maybe they can’ find lightning in a bottle. The name that came up during our podcast last night was Paul Maholm of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The 28 year old lefty is 6-7 with a 4.03 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP on the season, but he has completed six innings or more in 15 of his 19 starts this season. Just another name to put in the back of your mind as the Trade Deadline approaches. Maholm is in the second year of a three year, $14.5 million contract. He is making $4. 5 million this year and will make $5.75 million in 2011. He also has an option for $9.75 million for 2012 with a $750,000 buyout.
But back to Pavano. He has been everything that the Twins and we as fans could have hoped, and more. The only problem is that he only starts once in every five games. Also on Twitter last night, I asked the question about what the Twins should do with Pavano in terms of contract and the future. I tweeted, “I’d offer Pavano a 2 year, $19 mil deal right now. $9 mil in 2010, $9 mil in 2011, $1 mil buyout of $9 million option for 2012. Thoughts?”
And the comments were excellent, in general. The results were split. There were several that said that the Twins have got to sign him and keep him in the organization. What would they do without him next year?! There are others who essentially said “Take the two draft picks and run.” That’s right, Pavano is pitching at such a level that he is now a Type A free agent meaning that if they offer him salary arbitration and he does not accept it and signs elsewhere, the Twins will receive two draft picks. I typically favor going the way of draft picks in such scenarios. However, I think that the terms of the contract I outlined above are low enough that even if he were to sign it, I would not be upset in the least. Clearly he will be, and should be, looking for a multi-year contract. He says he likes pitching in Minnesota. The off seasons of second-tier Type A free agents the last few years have been difficult because teams are so unwilling to lose draft picks that maybe Pavano would be willing to give up that free agency for comfort and to stay out of that situation. What do you think?
Tonight, it will be Brian Duensing pitching for the Twins. According to Rick Anderson in his interview with Paul Allen on KFAN yesterday, he will be on a pitch count limit of 60-70. Hopefully that means he can get through five innings, but that’s pretty optimistic probably. It will be interesting to see if Nick Blackburn would be the guy who comes in at that point. (You can listen to the Anderson interview, and my 9:20 segment with The Voice of the Vikings, by going to FAN ON DEMAND and downloading the segments.)
Here is a quick glance at what happened on Thursday in the Twins minor league system:
SethSpeaks Thursday Minor League Hitter of the Day – Oswaldo Arcia – Elizabethton Twins
SethSpeaks Thursday Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Matt Fox – Rochester Red Wings
Red Wings Report
Thursday – Rochester 10, Buffalo 0 – Matt Fox was excellent in this game. The right-hander threw six shutout innings. He gave up four hits, walked three and struck out four. Alex Burnett made his first AAA appearance and threw 22 pitches, but did not allow a run. Jose Lugo and Rob Delaney each threw a scoreless inning. D’Angelo Jiminez went 3-5 with his seventh double and second triple. Brian Dinkelman went 3-5 with his 23rd double. Trevor Plouffe went 2-5 with a walk, his 18th double and his career-high 15th home run. Brendan Harris hit his 5th and 6th doubles. Wilson Ramos went 2-5.
New Britain Notes
Thursday – New Britain 10, Harrisburg 11 (10 innings) – Deolis Guerra had another rough start. In five innings, he gave up eight earned runs on six hits and three walks. Cole DeVries gave up a run on two hits and a walk in two innings. Loek Van Mil gave up a run on two hits in his inning. Billy Bullock gave up an unearned run in two innings to take the loss. Juan Portes went 3-4 with a walk and his 12th double. Ben Revere went 2-5 with a walk and his 26th stolen base. Steve Singleton hit his second triple and drove in three runs.
Thursday – Ft. Myers 5, Brevard County 4 – Bruce Pugh gave up four runs (3 earned) on five hits in six innings. He walked four and struck out five. He also committed three of the six Miracle errors. Nick Romero, Angel Morales and Drew Thompson each went 2-4. Morales hit his fourth double, and Romero hit his third triple.
Thursday – Beloit 3, South Bend 8 – Edgar Ibarra started and gave up only an unearned run on four hits in four innings. He walked two and struck out five. Nelvin Fuentes gave up a run on two hits and a walk in two innings. Matt Tone came in and gave up four runs on four hits and a walk in his inning. Peter Kennelly then gave up two earned runs on two hits and three walks in an inning. Michael Gonzales went 2-4 with his 13th double. James Beresford was also 2-4.
Thursday – Elizabethton 7, Johnson City 3 – Oswaldo Arcia had another great game. He went 3-4 with a walk, his 12th double, and his ninth home run. He is now hitting .388/.436/.777 on the season. Danny Ortiz went 3-4 with a walk and his third home run. Brian Burke went 3-4 with his sixth double and first home run. Andy Leer hit his third homer. Manuel Solimon improved to 4-2 by giving up three runs on six hits in five innings. He walked two and struck out five. Jose Gonzalez recorded his first save by striking out three in two hitless, scoreless innings.
GCL Twins Topics
Thursday – GCL Twins 4, GCL Rays 6 – Ricardo Arevalo gave up three runs (2 earned) on two hits in five innings. He walked three and struck out four. Matt Schuld gave up a run on three hits and two walks in two innings. Matt Trau then gave up two runs (1 earned) on one walk in one inning. Ramon Santana went 3-4 with his second double in his rehab assignment. Fred Hanvi went 2-4 with his second double. Miguel Sano hit 2-4 with his second home run. Jorge Polanco went 1-2 with two walks. Also, the Twins signed draft pick Derek Christensen, a right-handed pitcher from Salt Lake City CC.
Any thoughts of the Twins or the minor league system? Feel free to leave your questions and comments here.