It’s Official… Casilla to Rochester, Tolbert to Twins

6 May

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LaVelle guessed right. The Twins announced that they are sending Alexi Casilla to Rochester, and promoting utility infielder Matt Tolbert to the Twins.

With lefty Mark Hendrickson on the mound for the Orioles tonight, I would like to see Tolbert get into the lineup at SS, replacing Nick Punto because I would really like to see Brendan Harris in the lineup against a lefty. I think that Harris should be the team’s primary 2B for the near term, with Tolbert again filling the role of utility player.

I do have to say this. When Alexi Casilla started the season with the Twins in 2007, people were excited. He proved that he was not ready at the time and made several mental mistakes. That perception clearly has stuck around. They have been compounded at the start of this season with his .160 batting average and a couple of not-well-timed errors. But I also think that we need to step back a little bit and stop completely bashing Casilla. Has he made mistakes? Certainly. Should he have run out the popped up bunt? Of course. Should he have thrown home last night? Of course. I really don’t like when people question a person’s effort. I really don’t think that is fair. Can we question his baseball IQ at this point? That is fair. But let’s try not to mix the two.

15 Responses to “It’s Official… Casilla to Rochester, Tolbert to Twins”

  1. DrDon May 6, 2009 at 11:37 am #

    The vultures attack at each and every opportunity. Alexi will get some much needed TLC at Rochester, with lots of patience and teaching the arts of the difficult game.

    Thanks, Seth.


  2. Shawn in Binghamton May 6, 2009 at 11:41 am #

    Casilla has had his moments and me be a serviceable MLBer at some point. But man, i wish even more the team would have signed up the O-dog for the year. Oh well!

  3. gobbledygookguy May 6, 2009 at 11:48 am #

    anyone that gets to the “major league level” is a very good player. some can handle it and some can’t but by getting to that point they deserve a little credit and not personal attacks on a daily basis. after they’ve been around and are making a lot of money they become a little more fair game, imo. people forget this kid is in a foreign country and knows little english, how many of us would like to try our jobs under those conditions.
    oops i’m being way to civil, can’t have that.

  4. jp in ca May 6, 2009 at 11:48 am #

    I guess this will be a good thing for Casilla. What I don’t get is why people want Harris to move to 2nd. Doesn’t anybody remember him FLOUNDERING at 2nd last year? He did much better when they moved him to short. So I say: Tolbert/LNP at 2nd, LNP/Harris/Tolbert at short.

  5. Seth May 6, 2009 at 11:59 am #

    He’s been playing 2B pretty well this year, and clearly he put some time in there in the offseason and spring. he’s no defensive gem, but I don’t know that Tolbert is either. I just think that until Harris slows down offensively, his adequate defense should be in the lineup. Tolbert will get plenty of time at 2B and at SS.

    And secondly, I’m also being realistic… Gardy is going to go with Punto as his SS, so not really worth fighting that one much.

    • DrDon May 6, 2009 at 12:53 pm #

      Seth, the key is Gardy IS going to go with Puntz at SS, that is why I don’t fight it. And FWIW, I wish the other vultures would too. Thanks, Seth. 🙂

  6. Andy Darsow May 6, 2009 at 12:35 pm #

    This is bad news in my opinion. Not saying it is the wrong move. You can’t really argue with it. What scares me about this is that I think Gardy will play Tolbert at 2B everyday with Punto at SS. Tolbert is another one of those “Gardy” players just like Punto. I hope Harris is an everyday player but I doubt we will see it. Should be interesting.

  7. JA May 6, 2009 at 1:41 pm #

    Hi Seth,
    Don’t you think a shift of Punto to 2B, and Harris starting at SS is the best option? Tolbert can fill in at either infield spot. To me this appears to be the best solution. I think Gardy will put Tolbert at 2B with Punto staying at SS, with Harris moving around. It leave the spot open if Casilla plays better and comes back.

  8. Andy Darsow May 6, 2009 at 1:46 pm #

    That would be the best move to make. Harris to short and move Punto to 2B. That would be perfect if they did that.

  9. JA May 6, 2009 at 1:50 pm #

    One more thing Seth, what are the reports on Luke Hughes? Offensively he sounds like he’s doing fine, but defensively? Thanks

  10. Seth May 6, 2009 at 1:53 pm #

    I don’t know if that would necessarily be best. For me, range is more important at SS than 2B, and although I don’t think Punto has great range, it’s certainly better than Harris’s. I think Harris has been fine at 2B this year.

    I fear that Gardy would go with Punto at SS and Tolbert at 2B as the primary, and I don’t like that idea. I like the idea of Harris playing 2B against all lefties, and Tolbert playing SS against most lefties. And against righties, I would go with Punto at SS and split 2B time between Harris and Tolbert.

    Again, part of my answer is simply based on the reality that Gardy isn’t going to move Punto from 2B at this point.

  11. Seth May 6, 2009 at 1:55 pm #

    On Hughes, with his big game yesterday, he’s up around .290 with six doubles and four HR. Defensively, the report from Jim Mandelaro on my podcast the other night was that he isn’t standing out. I take that as a positive because if he were standing out, it would probably be in a negative way. He hasn’t played 2B in a couple years, so I don’t think we’ll see that any time soon.

  12. John Moses Fan May 6, 2009 at 4:01 pm #

    What I am wondering about is who gets more at bats the next 2-3 weeks, Harris or Tolbert? If it is Tolbert, then that would seem to be a pretty big indicator of what Gardy thinks of Harris, now that there is no clear cut/everyday presence at 2B. Tolbert would seem to have “Gardy Favorite” written all over him, and that scares me a little.

    Let’s hope they get healthy tonight against the O’s!

  13. Andy Haider May 6, 2009 at 5:51 pm #

    I am with the rest in respect to the fact that Harris should mostly see only time at short. The rumor is that he still can’t pivot on the double play.

    I am more curious as to the future lineups. Now is the time for:

    (1) Span
    (2) Mauer
    (3) Cuddyer
    (4) Morneau
    (5) Kubel
    (6) Crede
    (7) Harris
    (8) Young / Gomez
    (9) Punto

    If they insist on batting Mauer 3rd:

    (1) Span
    (2) Harris
    (3) Mauer
    (4) Morneau
    (5) Cuddyer
    (6) Kubel
    (7) Crede
    (8) Young / Gomez
    (9) Punto

    I see too many Punto assignments in the #2 hole.

  14. TT May 6, 2009 at 8:57 pm #

    When was the last time the Twins had any success with a young Latin everyday player. Johan Santana, Carlos Silva and maybe Liriano are the only Spanish-speaking players I can think of in the Gardenhire era who have been successful. I guess Luis Castillo, but they gave up on him too.

    It seems that the complaints are often the same, that the players don’t take instruction well. You wonder whether Gardy has a communication problem there. As far as I know, Gardenhire doesn’t speak Spanish. Isn’t that odd for a manager in a business with so many spanish speaking players?

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