What Would You Do? Part 3 (Bullpen)

25 Mar

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

Last night was the SethSpeaks.net Weekly Minnesota Twins Podcast. Be sure to put it on your iPod, or spend some time at work listening to it at work. Twins pitching prospect Zach Ward called in to the show at the beginning of the show. As you know, Ward spent most of the 2008 season in the New Britain bullpen. He then spent much of his offseason as a starter pitching in Puerto Rico. It was fun to learn a little more about Zach Ward. The two other guests were two new Twins bloggers. First, Wally Fish recently started writing two blogs, a Twins blog (TwinkieTalk.com) and a Royals blog (royaleswithcheese.com). Also, Jack Steal started his Twins blog (Fanatic Jack Talks Twins) this week and came on and talked Twins for awhile. It was a solid show, and there are a couple more Twins blogs that you should check out and potentially bookmark.


But for today, I would like to talk about three issues that seem to be hot topics as it relates to the Twins. I will post my thoughts, and ask for your thoughts. I would appreciate your comments on each. I’d like to read what you predict will happen, and what you think will happen. As we know, those two things can be very different.




Bullpen – What do we know? Joe Nathan will be the closer. Jesse Crain, Matt Guerrier, Luis Ayala and Craig Breslow are givens. If the Twins go with 11 pitchers, only one other pitcher can make the Opening Day roster. If they go with 12 pitchers, then two can make it. Here is the list of possibilities. What would you do?

·         Philip Humber – Right-Hander, he is out of options. Throws a good fastball, and an excellent curveball. Can eat some innings?

·         Jose Mijares – Left-hander, he has an option left. Many thought he was ready because of 10 games in September. Many upset that he came to camp overweight. Definitely easy to question his attitude.

·         RA Dickey – Veteran right-hander who became a knuckleball pitcher a couple of years ago. He has had a good spring. Can eat innings.

·         Brian Duensing – Left-hander, he has always started, except during the 2008 Olympics. He’s had a good spring, and if the Twins feel they need a second lefty, he may beat out Mijares.

·         Sean Henn – Left-hander, he has primarily started until last year. Has had a solid spring, but history of walking a lot of hitters.

·         Jason Jones – Right-hander, primarily has been a starter. Rule 5 pick would have to be offered back to the Yankees, a trade could be possible.

·         Seth’s Opinion – In my mind, Humber is a given. So if the Twins go with 11 pitchers that is it. Mijares clearly needs more time, and that isn’t a bad thing. Remember, he missed most of last year after breaking his arm. He will be fine, just needs more time. I think Jones is a guy that the Twins could keep in a trade with the Yankees. I would attempt that at least. The final spot could be between Dickey and Duensing. If Gardy insists on having a second lefty in the bullpen, then it would be Duensing. Both Duensing and Dickey can eat some innings out of the back of the rotation or serve as a spot starter. So, I don’t really have a strong feeling either way between those two. The benefit that Duensing has would be that he is on the 40 man roster.   


10 Responses to “What Would You Do? Part 3 (Bullpen)”

  1. FishingMN March 25, 2009 at 6:36 am #

    Why is Guerrier a given? He was terrible the 2nd half last year and he hasn’t done much at all this spring. I realize he’s out of options but I thought the purpose of spring was to identify the guys who have the best chance of helping you win. I have no confidence that Guerrier is one of those guys.

  2. brad March 25, 2009 at 7:23 am #

    Humber has pitched well and is out of options, he is my pick and I go with only 11 pitchers. They are plenty of off days during April and we don’t have question marks with the starters. I only go with an 11 staff also, I grew up with 10 man pitching staffs and I think 11 is plenty. I would prefer Dickey over Guerrier b/c I just don’t Guerrier anymore, but that won’t happen until Guerrier puts up another 5.65 ERA in April.

  3. thrylos98 March 25, 2009 at 7:52 am #

    I agree with the overall assessment that it is a Dickey vs. Duensing battle at this point and Dickey did pitch much better than Duensing this spring. Duensing is not a prototypical LOOGY because LHB and RHB hit about the same off him and he walks way too many people for a reliever. I’d go with Dickie esp., in addition to the fact that other than Crain, Breslow, Ayala he has been the best reliever this ST, he can pitch 2-3 innings, 2-3 days in a row that might be necessary if the starters cannot go out of the 5th or 6th in the beginning of the season. I don’t know how much stamina Blackburn will be able to build the next 10 days and I am not sure of Perkins and the 6th inning are in good terms yet…

  4. TT March 25, 2009 at 8:56 am #

    I think the Twins should go with 12 pitchers. The final couple guys in the bullpen at the start of the year may well have to take more important roles if someone gets hurt or fails to produce. You want to have those guys tested at the major league level.

    I agree Humber is a given, unless there is someone out there who is willing to do a Garza-like deal for prospects. He is the guy most likely to prove himself ready to settle into a primary setup role with some experience.

    My guess is Mijares is still the second guy if he can settle down the next couple weeks. It really is how you finish spring training, not how you start, that counts. If he doesn’t, I think Duensing will get the call. None of the Twins lefties are really LOOGIES, these are all guys who can get right-handed hitters out. Having a second guy, means you don’t have to use them one hitter at a time in order to have them available the next day. I would not leave Sean Henn out of the picture, but both Duensing and Mijares will need to struggle a bit for him to have a shot.

    Dickey looks like he can help, but he is on a minor league contract so a decision doesn’t really need to be made until June. He will get some chances.

    I think Jones is gone. The Twins don’t seem to have given him much opportunity to make the team and he doesn’t seem to have a role other than as another pitching prospect. I doubt the Yankees are going to give him up for nothing. The Twins would have to find a prospect they are willing to give up that the Yankees value more highly than they value Jones. Its hard to see how you make a deal like that. Of course, maybe the Yankees are interested in a guy like Dickey or Henn who can help them immediately.

  5. Seth March 25, 2009 at 9:03 am #

    I can’t imagine that the Yankees would want Sean Henn back. I bet that the Twins could keep Jones for a Low A type of outfielder or something like that. Remember last year that the Twins let Seattle keep Dickey and got a Low A catcher back for him (Jair Fernandez), so I don’t think it would take a big-time prospect at all to keep Jones around. He would be a nice addition to that Rochester rotation.

    There are a lot of reasons that Guerrier is a given to start the season. 1.) how much money will they pay him this year? 2.) he’s got a proven track record that is more than a couple of years that means more to me than a bad couple of months. He’ll be fine, and if he’s not, yeah, then you make that move. By that time, you know a lot more about guys like Mijares and Delaney and Ward and maybe Slama.

  6. rosterman March 25, 2009 at 10:00 am #

    The Twins need long relief, someone to pitch more than an inning. Somehow, I’m not trusting Guerrier anhymore in any role. His role for 2009 is to pitch well enough to be trade bait so they don’t need to arbitrate come 2010, sadly.

    Would Duensing be best served as a starter at Rochester with the first call-up if someone goes down in the rotation? Is it easier to bring a starter up to replace a starter, or move a long-guy from the pen into a longer role? Of course, Duensing replaces a lefty and Humber would get the try if it was a righty, at least in the first couple of months of the season.

    Mijares has itched himself out of the bull-pen, sadly. Hopefully he’ll straighten out at Rochester and not become the next DePaula.

    Dickey is a possibility with only one lefty in the bullpen. He can pitch long (probably better than one-batter Reyes). And his speed change negates the need to have that second elfty, no doubt. Is there room on the 40-man? Boof goes on the 60-day come the beginning of the season, so the Twins have one open spot. They have 2 if Jason Jones doesn’t hang around…

    As Roger mention in his report, there’s some 8 minor league free agents vying for spots at Rochester (and New Brit). Lots of leftys there, too…and given time, might be the next Craig Breslow!

    I keep Dikcye over Duensing.

    Not sure the Twins really need the fifth bench spot.

  7. JA March 25, 2009 at 1:09 pm #

    Twelve man staff. Humber and Duesning are the guys. Mijares is a major disapointment, but hopefully he can get it together and contribute in the second half. Dickey has pitched well and the Twins obviously like him. With a reliever, control is one their biggest assets, for they do not see a lineup twice. A second lefty in the pen is more valuable than a knuckle, but the decision will be made by who the Twins feel has better control, walks will haunt.
    But Humber and Duensing should come north at this point

  8. Jeff March 25, 2009 at 3:01 pm #

    Mijares will be up by the end of the year. Probably by the All Star break. His spring has been pretty disappointing, but some good time at AAA should hopefully fix that.
    If they go with 12 pitchers, my guess would be Humber and Dickey. Duesning would be an early call up. Gardy seems to always prefer veterans over rookies to start the season, so that is why I think it will be Dickey. Any of our catchers have any experience catching the knuckler, other than in spring training?

    Henn and Jones probably never see the inside of the Dome or Target Field.

  9. TT March 25, 2009 at 7:37 pm #

    . I bet that the Twins could keep Jones for a Low A type of outfielder or something like that. Remember last year that the Twins let Seattle keep Dickey and got a Low A catcher back for him (Jair Fernandez)

    I don’t see how those two things relate. The Twins were willing to give up on a 33 year old journeyman, who they had signed as a minor league free agent and was trying to transform himself into knuckleballer, for a low A catcher. Why does that mean the Yankees would deal a 26 year old pitching prospect, close to major league ready, for a low A outfielder of marginal value? Do they have a surplus of pitching prospects, but a shortage of outfielders in their system? I doubt it. They are going to have to believe that outfielder has more major league potential than Jones.

    The Yankees didn’t give up on Henn, he was claimed on waivers after completing a rehab assignment. I don’t pay much attention to the Yankees so I have no idea what their need might be for a left handed reliever. But those guys usually seem to have some value. I doubt the Yankees much care what some Yankee bloggers might think.


  1. Twins Morning Doinks : Baseball Digest - March 25, 2009

    […] Twins currently have. They include the catcher situation, the backup infielder situation and the bullpen situation. Also, make sure to check out Seth’s Weekly Minnesota Twins Podcast that he hosted last […]

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