More Moves to be Made?

7 May

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net –

HELP – I need your help for a blog posting for tomorrow. I want to encourage everyone to send me a few True/False Statements, or Over/Under scenarios. For instance, e-mail me and say, “True or False, Danny Valencia will be the Twins opening day 3B when the team opens up Target Field next year.” Or “Over/Under – Joe Mauer’s Batting Average – .320.” Send up to five, and I will answer them on this site tomorrow. I think it could be a lot of fun, so please take a minute and e-mail me your questions. I appreciate your help.

YOUR VOICES – Last night, I wrote up and posted my StarTribune.com/yourvoices article on a topic that, as you would guess, is already annoying to me. But it’s timely and it is regional, so it kind of makes sense. Please check it out and be sure to leave you comments. Then be sure to read the article on the same topic that Darren “Doogie” Wolfson wrote there.

On Wednesday, the Twins made a roster move by shipping Alexi Casilla back down the AAA Rochester. They promoted Matt Tolbert back to the big leagues. Could more moves be on the horizon?

If you think that Alexi Casilla was the team’s biggest problem, you might be in for some major disappointment. Clearly, the biggest issue on this team right now it pitching. Entering the season, the assumption was that the starting five would be a cornerstone of the team. Through the first month their top pitcher, Scott Baker, is 0-4 with a 9.15 ERA. The #2 starter, Francisco Liriano, is 1-4 with a 5.30 ERA. Kevin Slowey is 4-1, but his ERA is 5.50. Nick Blackburn is 2-2 with a 5.19 ERA. Glen Perkins has been the team’s top starter so far this season, and he is 1-2 with a 3.34 ERA.

None of the five are currently in jeopardy of losing their starting jobs. In reality, I don’t think that they should even consider a move of one of the five starters for at least another month.

So, let’s get to the bullpen. Joe Nathan had one blown save, but overall, he continues to be one of the best closers in the game. I think we can say that Jesse Crain, Matt Guerrier and Jose Mijares have pretty secure jobs. Brian Duensing, Philip Humber and Juan Morillo have already been shipped back to Rochester. Luis Ayala has been quite disappointing in a late-inning role. He has given up 20 hits and three walks in 13.1 innings. Craig Breslow was being counted on as a lefty out of the bullpen, and he has not been good at all. In 9.2 innings, he has given up seven hits and walked ten hitters. His two innings tonight actually significantly improved his overall performance. R.A. Dickey was brought in to be a long reliever. When he has pitched in that role, and in his one start, he was just fine. But when put into more difficult situations, it hasn’t gone well.  

So, I think it is fair to say that Luis Ayala, Craig Breslow and R.A. Dickey are three guys who will be watched a little more closely in the coming weeks. Let’s look at some pitchers in the upper minor leagues who could be considered for a promotion:

  • Sean Henn – The Twins signed the now-28 year old lefty this offseason. He is currently the default closer for the Red Wings. Last year with the Padres, he gave up 11 hits and walked nine in 9.1 innings. So far this year with Rochester, he has thrown 17.1 innings out of the bullpen. His ERA is 1.04 and he has struck out 23 batters. He has given up 11 hits, but he has walked ten batters. As good as he has been, the walk rate is a little alarming.
  • Brian Duensing – Since returning to the Red Wings, he has made three starts. He has thrown just 13 innings, and is 1-1 with a 6.23 ERA. He has given up 16 hits, walked six and struck out just seven. He certainly hasn’t warranted a promotion at this point and can use the work at AAA.
  • Mike Gosling – The 28 year old lefty is working out of the Red Wings bullpen. He is 3-1 with a 4.96 ERA. In 16.1 innings, he has given up 16 hits. He has walked seven and struck out 21. The hit rate is OK. The walk rate is slightly high. Together, that is a WHIP of just over 1.40. He’s probably just a notch behind Henn at this point.
  • Philip Humber/Juan Morillo – Both recently were sent down to the Red Wings. Both have done well in very limited time there and just need to get more work in.
  • Anthony Swarzak – the 22 year old has started out great for Rochester. He is 2-3 with a 2.03 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP. In 31 innings, he has given up 23 hits and walked just six while striking out 23. He’s allowed just one home run. Swarzak is young and he’s a starter. I think he needs to just keep working and starting at AAA for now. Let’s see how he is doing in four to six weeks.
  • Anthony Slama – So many seem to think that the 25 year old is too good for his level. He certainly was last year. This year at AA New Britain, he is 2-0 with five saves. His ERA is just 2.63. In 13.1 innings, he has 22 strikeouts. However, he also has nine walks and 12 hits allowed, so his AA WHIP is at 1.54. That doesn’t scream “Promotion” to me!
  • Rob Delaney – 24 year old Delaney spent half of the 2008 season in New Britain and did great. He is back there to start this season. He is 1-1 with a 2.89 ERA. In 18.2 innings, he has given up 21 hits, but he has walked just two while striking out 22. His WHIP is 1.22. He’s been good, and that K:BB ratio is amazing. I think he should be moved up to Rochester in the next month, and then see how he is doing at that time.  

So, in reality, these are the options for promotion to the Twins, especially since Duensing and Swarzak are the only ones on the 40 man roster. None of them present a significant improvement over Ayala, Breslow or Dickey. So, in my mind, there is zero reason to make a move at this time. Again, we should probably re-evaluate these names and their numbers in another three or four weeks to see where things are.

The Twins Geek tells us that Carlos Gomez has nine at bats over the teams past twelve games.  I believe that we all believe that his ceiling is still very high, but he has a lot to learn. To learn, he needs to play. He needs consistent at bats. He needs time in the outfield, and he needs bunting opportunities and situations and such. Right now, his role with the Twins has been to start about one in four games, and do some pinch running and late inning defense.

To play more, and improve himself as a player, I believe Gomez should go to AAA. But if he goes down to AAA, I think that the Twins need to replace him with another outfielder. The three outfielders will need to start, and Jason Kubel will be the DH, so they will still need a backup outfield. That player should be a guy who can run, play good defense at all three outfield positions and at least be adequate at the plate. Here are the options:

  • Jason Pridie – The 25 year old outfielder can play three outfield positions very well. He can run very well. He can hit at the top of an order, but also has enough pop to hit some extra base hits. He strikeouts a ton. He just ended a 16 game hitting streak, and is hitting .255/.279/.292 in 106 at bats.
  • Dustin Martin – Although Martin just turned 25, the organization seems to look at him as a potential starting outfielder, so he should play every day. He can play CF, but may have enough bat to play the corners as well. He really impressed last year at New Britain, then in the Arizona Fall League, and then during training camp. At Rochester, he is hitting .308/.366/.374 with nine steals.
  • David Winfree – he is still just 23 years old and in his first season at AAA. He is hitting .272/.277/.457. Ten of his 22 hits have been for extra bases. He has one walk and 18 strikeouts, but he is a right-handed bat that could provide some pop off the bench. Can only play RF, and not necessarily very well.
  • Luke Hughes – Although he has only played 3B this season for the Red Wings, he spent plenty of time in LF and CF last year. Another right handed bat with some pop, Hughes is hitting .293/.392/.573 with 11 extra base hits.

Dustin Martin and Luke Hughes have futures as everyday types of players. Those guys should not be playing just once or twice a week, not until September. David Winfree is a right handed bat with pop, but he doesn’t fill the need for the role (defense/speed). Martin and Winfree are not on the 40 man roster at this time. Jason Pridie really fits the role of fourth or fifth outfielder perfectly. He’s got talent. He’s proven in the past that he can hit a little bit. He’s very fast. He’s very good defensively, and he can play all three outfield positions. If Gomez is actually only going to be a role player with the Twins at this early point in the season, he needs to go to AAA, and if he does, I would promote Jason Pridie.

So, as much as we may want to overreact and make a few more transactions just to make them, they do have to make sense. I don’t think it makes any sense to make any moves with the pitching staff quite yet, but that situation needs to continue to be closely monitored. I do believe that Carlos Gomez should go back to AAA and play every day, leading off and playing CF. I would then promote Jason Pridie to fill the role of fourth outfielder.

What are your thoughts? What would you do if you were Bill Smith? Leave your questions or comments here  

GAME RECAPS

TWINS 1, ORIOLES 4 (Called in 6th inning due to rain)

Tuesday night’s game was horrible because of the Twins play on the field. Wednesday night’s game was horrible because of the rain on the field. The game was delayed at the onset, and then three rain delays later, they finally called it. Unfortunately, the game was through five innings, making it an official game. The Twins were behind 4-1 at the time, so they get the loss and fall to 13-16.

Kevin Slowey got off to a bad start. In the first inning, he gave up three runs on four hits. The biggest blow as a Nick Markakis two run homer. He gave up two more hits, but no more runs, over two more innings before the game was delayed the first time. When the game started up again, Craig Breslow entered the game. He gave up a solo homer to Luke Scott. He gave up just one other hit, and most important, he did not walk a batter in two innings. Mark Hendrickson started for the Orioles and gave up just one hit over three scoreless innings. After the rain delay, former Twin Brian Bass came in. He went the final 2.2 innings and gave up a run on four hits and a walk. He struck out four. None of the Twins hits off of him were hit hard.

Mike Redmond had two of the Twins five hits.

On Thursday, Glen Perkins will face Brad Bergesen.   

MINOR LEAGUE REPORT

SethSpeaks.net Hitter of the Day – Angel Morales, Beloit Snappers

SethSpeaks.net Pitcher of the Day – Anthony Swarzak, Rochester Red Wings & Cole Devries, New Britain Rockcats

ROCHESTER REPORT

Wednesday –Rochester 5, Louisville 2 – Anthony Swarzak had another strong start and picked up his second win. He gave up just one run on five hits in seven innings. He walked two and struck out six. Sean Henn went the final two innings. He gave up a run on a Jonny Gomes home run. He struck out three in two innings. Drew Butera went 3-4 with two RBI. Luke Hughes had just one hit, but it was his fifth home run. David Winfree went 2-4 with a triple. Dustin Martin was 2-4 with a walk and his ninth stolen base.  

  • By the way, be sure to bookmark a new blog on the Rochester Red Wings called ‘R Red Wings.

ROCKCAT RECAP

Wednesday – Game 1 – New Britain 2, New Hampshire 0 Cole Devries was very strong again for his second win. He went five shutout innings. He gave up five hits, walked two and struck out two. Rob Delaney pitched a scoreless sixth frame. Anthony Slama recorded his fourth save with a scoreless seventh inning. He struck out one. The Rockcats managed just four hits in this game. Erik Lis scored both runs. He hit a solo home run. He also scored on a Juan Portes double. Portes had two doubles in the game.

Wednesday – Game 2 – New Britain 5, New Hampshire 3 Matt Fox made the start in the second game. He went 5.1 innings and gave up two runs on two hits. He walked three and struck out four. Jose Lugo gets credit for the Win as he got the last two outs on the sixth inning. Anthony Slama recorded his second save of the day despite giving up a run on two hits and a walk in his inning. Brian Dinkelman went 2-3 with his fifth double and two RBI. Rene Tosoni scored three runs in this game. He was 2-2 as well as got hit by a pitch. Brandon Roberts was 2-2 with his fourth double.

INJURY REPORTJuan Portes played 3B in both of these games as Danny Valencia rested a sore wrist.    

MIRACLE MEMOS

Wednesday –Ft. Myers 5, Sarasota 6Deolis Guerra had his first rough start of the season. The 20 year old righty gave up six run on 11 hits and two walks in just four innings. Steve Hirschfeld threw three scoreless relief innings. Alex Burnett pitched a scoreless eighth. The Miracle managed just five hits, no one had more than one. Danny Berg was 0-2, but he walked three times. Deibinson Romero walked twice. Ben Revere stole his 14th base. 

SNAPPERS SNIPPETS

Wednesday – Beloit 0, West Michigan 3Dan Berlind made the start for the Snappers in place of Shooter Hunt. (No word on what the team is going to do with Hunt; skip a start, move him to the bullpen, etc.) Berlind went 4.2 innings and gave up three runs (2 earned) on six hits. He walked two and struck out three. Joe Testa came in and went 2.1 scoreless innings. Matt Williams pitched a scoreless inning. The Snappers had just four hits. Angel Morales hit his third double and third triple.  

Please feel free to Send me an e-mail, or leave your questions or comments here.

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16 Responses to “More Moves to be Made?”

  1. Greg May 7, 2009 at 6:56 am #

    So I didn’t see it, but am curious — Gomez’s attempted steal of home…good try that didn’t work, or boneheaded move?

  2. clutterheart May 7, 2009 at 7:25 am #

    I think Hughes should be the starting 3b next year.

    Also, I am wondering if Henn is walking righties to get to lefties. I have no idea where I would find that stat….

    Could he be our loogy that we need?

  3. Tweety May 7, 2009 at 7:50 am #

    It’s worth noting that making room for one player on the 40-man is not a problem, since Boof was never put on the 60-day DL.

  4. goingyard May 7, 2009 at 8:14 am #

    in what way is Delmon Young better than Luke Hughes? Better throwing arm…that’s about it. I have been saying for over a year now, why not trade Delmon and use Hughes in the role Delmon is playing?

    Elevate Hughes to be a unique superutility guy. He can play all outfield spots (he is actually decent corner o.f.) And 2b and 3b…(he can’t be worse than Buscher) He clobbers left handed pitchers..something we desperately need.

  5. mike wants wins May 7, 2009 at 8:56 am #

    I don’t get your “they need to play every day because they’ll be every day players in the majors” comment over the OFers.

    You like Young, you like Span, and you like cuddy. That’s another two years before Hughes or anyone else could be considered for a starting job. When do you plan to let any of them play if you won’t let them play until those three are gone? What are you developing them for?

    Gomez, otoh, is only up because they had no other option last year and he was part of the Santana trade. He wasn’t viewed as ready when they made the trade, and that has proven true. He is also much younger than Hughes or Pridie or Martin. He would benefit from playing every day, and still has many years in front of him. Hughes and Martin and Pridie are at or near their prime hitting age. Hughes is a better hitter (and fielder?) than Buscher. He can play every position if you need him to.

    As for the relievers, you just made our arguement, again, about why you shouldn’t hold pitchers back. Had they promoted Slama and Delaney last year like they should have, Delaney would already have 2-3 months of AAA experience and we’d have a better read on him. Same with Slama (but at AA).

  6. Cory May 7, 2009 at 9:41 am #

    Seth… I couldn’t agree more.

    Right now, the only move the Twins should make is to send Carlos Gomez to AAA and promote Jason Pridie. Gomez is young, talented, but immature. He needs to play every day and learn some plate discipline. Pridie would be a terrific 4th Outfielder… he’s very strong defensively, can hit, and is fast. He could play every 3rd day and still produce.

  7. Strutz May 7, 2009 at 10:09 am #

    I have been thinking the same thing about Gomez and Pridie. Gomez is a fan favorite because he is fun to watch in the OF and when he gets on base, you never know what is going to happen, but if we are going to stick with what we have rightnow with Young, Span and Cuddyer, there is no reason why Gomez should sit the bench when Pridie can do the same things while Gomez is figuring out his game.

  8. jjswol May 7, 2009 at 10:40 am #

    The Twins must move an OF and Young is the logical choice. The proverbial Grandma in a wheel chair could play left field better then Delmon. Move him before he becomes even less valuable and get a relief pitcher in here that can do the job. Span, Gomez, and Cuddyer should be the Twins outfield. Gomez will improve once he has a regular position and playing time. Last year the Rsox Crisp and Ellsbury in CF and found out that did not work and traded Crisp. Why does Smith think it will work here?

    On the other side of the coin, the Twins usually go thru a bad streak early in the season before things settle down and hopefully this is it. The Twins are better than what they have shown todate but their bullpen does need help.

  9. Jeremy May 7, 2009 at 10:58 am #

    Seth,

    Either my math is wrong or the Snappers have removed Shooter Hunt from the rotation (or he earned his way out).

    Have you heard anything about this? Is there any chance he heads back to EST or is the bullpen more likely?

  10. TT May 7, 2009 at 11:09 am #

    It seems that moving Gomez to AAA would help both Gomez and give Young more at bats. The Twins are a better team with Young in the lineup.

    Right now, Gomez looks like another Spanish-speaking failure of the Gardenhire era. Its a pattern that ought to be of concern to both him and Twins management.

  11. thrylos98 May 7, 2009 at 11:59 am #

    At this point, Gomez is better with the bat than: Punto, Redmond, Buscher. And is the best CF in the league. He should not go down. At some point it has to be about wining at the majors this year and not developing players for the future…

    If I were Smith: I’d make sure that the best 25 players in the organization are with the Minnesota Twins. This would mean: Buscher to Rochester and Hughes up and Redmond to Rochester (if he accepts the assignment) and Morales up. Also I’d keep a strong eye in the pen and see whether Dickey or Breslow will straighten up, otherwise I’d be on the phone with Pedro’s agent and moving Blackburn to the pen. I’d make sure that Gardy is playing Gomez every day at center, Span every day at left and Young every day at right. I’d be on the phones to try to see what I can get for Cuddyer and after he’s gone bring Jason Huber up. Also, Vavra would get reassigned withing the organization, and Ricardo Ingram would be the interim hitting coach.

  12. Kunza May 7, 2009 at 12:26 pm #

    I have to agree 100% with thrylos…

    Gomez has no business being sent down. He needs to play every day. He was good enough last year to play and get 500+ AB’s and suddenly he doesn’t have 50+ AB’s because of Cuddyer.

    Cuddyer has been hot of late but simply reality is that he sucks. He has no range, can’t hit for power or average on a consistent basis, and is a typical low OBP guy. People talk about playing baseball the Twins way… isn’t he kinda the opposite?

    Does Cuddyer realistically have a shot to be on this roster next season at 8+ million?

    These young guys need AB’s.

    If this team is already out of it by the 1st of June (which they are doing a good job of taking themselves out of it)

    1. Gomez, Span, and Young play every day- Cuddyer is traded for whatever box of peanuts we can get for him. He doesn’t get 50 AB’s the rest of the season
    2. Kubel needs to play every single day regardless if it is a RHP or LHP.
    3. Crede needs to be traded and Valencia brought up.
    4. Duensing needs to be in the rotation – maybe a trade of Blackburn or maybe an injury opens a spot – good Lord, it better not be Dickey in any situation like that!
    5. Slama and Delaney in the bullpen.
    6. Casilla up for his last chance with him playing through whatever troubles he has – then if he doesn’t cut it, this offseason a 2B becomes our #1 priority

    OR….. Maybe it’s time the GM grows some kahoonas and tells the manager that the guys he brought in play every day

  13. Jeremy May 7, 2009 at 12:53 pm #

    Hey Seth,

    I hadn’t read your blurp on Beloit… so if you addressed that in your original post, sorry… I’ll read more thoroughly next time!

  14. cmathewson May 7, 2009 at 3:47 pm #

    I think the answer is to bench Young more often and give Gomez more starts in the majors. But if Gardy refuses to start him more often, he’s wasting his talent on the bench.

  15. TT May 9, 2009 at 11:01 am #

    I am puzzled why anyone would want to bench Delmon Young, who is hitting over .300, to play Gomez who is hitting .216. Does Gomez being three months younger mean he has a higher upside? I don’t think so.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Twins Morning Doinks : Baseball Digest - May 7, 2009

    […] With Casilla now gone, Seth Stohs wonders are there more moves to be made? The bullpen is likely the next area the team will […]

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