Decisions, Decisions

10 May

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The Twins will enjoy a day off on Monday after winning the final two games of their series against Baltimore to split the series. One of the great things about baseball is that you just never know what will happen. We saw enough of that. On Saturday night, with the bases loaded and one out, the Twins pinch hit Joe Mauer for Alexi Casilla. Mauer proceeded to strike out. Light-hitting Drew Butera came up and lined a single to left field to give the Twins two insurance runs. Who can predict that happening? No one. But things like that happen on the time in baseball. When Twins fans saw the team’s lineup on Sunday morning, some may have thought it was a “B” lineup. And out of necessity, it really was. Joe Mauer was back in the lineup, but only as a DH which meant that Jim Thome and Jason Kubel were out of the lineup. JJ Hardy needed another day off, and Orlando Hudson requested a day off (according to the manager) and got it. So Sunday’s lineup consisted of Nick Punto batting second, Brendan Harris and Alexi Casilla against one of the game’s best young, left-handed pitchers, Brian Matusz. So of course, Punto went 2-3 with a sacrifice fly and two RBI. Harris went 3-4 with a double. Alexi Casilla went 2-4 with his first double. Denard Span stole the show going 3-4 with a triple, three RBI and his eighth stolen base. Baseball, it’s a funny game, and it’s a great game.

But that said, the Twins have some fairly big decisions to make in the coming days:


  1. ANSWER 1.) This is a really easy question to answer. Wilson Ramos is a starter and a future star. This is the same story and explanation given at the end of spring training. It’s the same story and explanation given after Ramos had seven hits in his first two games. And it’s the same simple explanation and story now that he has gone 1-17 since his fast start. He is young. He has things to work on. He can get better and he will. But it is an easy decision; Wilson Ramos should go to Rochester.


  1. ANSWER 2.) This one is a little more difficult to answer. Since the Twins have three catchers and are short a relief pitcher, I think that is the direction to go, especially heading into a weekend series against the Yankees. Here are some options:

                                                              i.      Anthony Slama  The 26 year old right-hander is certainly the name that most Twins fans want to see promoted. He has been strikeout machine throughout his minor league career.  This year, he has 25 strikeouts and a 1.77 ERA and a 0.84 WHIP in 20.1 innings in Rochester. The only negative number on his resume is his nine walks. He’s as ready as he will ever be. The only thing against Slama right now is that he is not on the Twins 40 man roster, but that is easily remedied. Clay Condrey or Jose Morales could be put on the 60 Day Disabled List.

                                                            ii.      Rob Delaney – The 25 year old is 4-1 with a 3.32 ERA and a 0.89 WHIP in 19.1 innings, he has 21 strikeouts with just five walks. Delaney was added to the Twins 40 man roster this past November so he could easily come up.

                                                          iii.      Jose Mijares – The lefty has made his two scheduled rehab appearances in Rochester. If those went well, he could be taken off of the Disabled List. But he did poorly in both outings, so I don’t think it makes sense to push him back. Brian Duensing and Ron Mahay have both done very well in their left-handed reliever roles through the Twins first six weeks of games. When he is on, Mijares is better than either, and Duensing could be used as a long reliever, something the Twins don’t currently have.

                                                          iv.      Jeff Manship – As I just said, the Twins currently don’t have a long reliever. Duensing has not been stretched out at all yet. Manship is the best option for the role at Rochester. To me, this is an important role, and I think that Manship is the right decision, although I have no problem with either Anthony Slama or Rob Delaney being promoted.


  1. ANSWER 3.) Again, this is another questions with several answers, including:

                                                              i.      Trevor Plouffe – The 23 year old has now been in AAA Rochester for two full years. He is off to a solid start in 2010, hitting .288/.355/.468 with eight doubles, three triples and two home runs. A terrific guy, he has also shown improvement with the glove. Personally, I would like to see him get a two week opportunity to be the team’s starting shortstop.

                                                            ii.      Danny Valencia – The 25 year old got off to a very slow start. At one point, he was hitting .152, but an eight-hit weekend increased his average to .246. He has been much more consistent of late and is hitting .276/.319/.362 with nine doubles. He is currently on a 14 game hitting streak during which he is 22-59 (.373) with eight of his doubles. Defensively, he has just three errors on the season and has continued to show improvement. Valencia could take over at 3B with Nick Punto taking over at shortstop until Hardy is ready.

                                                          iii.      Luke Hughes – Hughes was the one promoted when Punto went on the Disabled List a couple of weeks ago because he was the hot hitter at the time. He is 3-16 in four games since his return to Rochester. He does have the ability to play 2B and 3B.

                                                          iv.      Matt Tolbert – We know how much Gardy loves Tolbert, and his ability to play three infield positions. He is currently hitting .231/.284/.333 with six doubles, a triple and a home run. He is 3-19 in his last five games.

  1. Personally, I would be happy if the Twins promoted Trevor Plouffe or Danny Valencia. I would not be surprised at all if the Twins decided to promote Tolbert again.

SethSpeaks Sunday Minor League Hitter of the Day – Anderson Hidalgo – Beloit Snappers

SethSpeaks Sunday Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Mike McCardell – New Britain Rockcats

  • As you know, Dan Osterbrock was promoted from Beloit to Ft. Myers and made his first start over the weekend. Danny Rams was promoted temporarily to New Britain due to the catcher situation at the Twins highest levels. Likewise, Jair Fernandez went to Rochester to back up Allan de San Miguel. When Ramos is sent down, these catchers will likely move back.
  • Steve Hirschfeld was put back on the Disabled List for New Britain. Matt Williams moved up from Ft. Myers to New Britain.
  • Liam Hendriks was promoted to Ft. Myers. His strong start at Beloit earned him the promotion.
  • Beloit added swing-men Jhon Garcia and Eliecer Cardenas. Michael Tonkin was also promoted, and I would think that he would start. I must admit, that when I heard that the Snappers were adding a starter, I would have guessed Martire Garcia, Adrian Salcedo, BJ Hermsen or Blayne Weller would get the call ahead of Tonkin, but let’s just see how he is used and what happens.

Red Wings Report   

Sunday – Rochester 2, Louisville 5 Ryan Mullins gave the Red Wings their best start in awhile. The lanky lefty gave up three runs on seven hits in 5.2 innings. He walked three and struck out six. Rob Delaney came in and got the final out of the 6th frame. Jose Mijares came in and got two outs. He gave up two runs on two hits and a walk, but he did strike out two. Matt Fox got the final four outs, allowing just one hit. Brock Peterson went 2-3 with a triple. Luke Hughes hit a solo home run. The Louisville starter was Aroldis Chapman who gave up just the one run on four hits and five walks in 5.2 innings. He struck out six.  

New Britain Notes

Sunday – New Britain 1, Portland 2Juan Portes hit a single to drive in Ben Revere, who had been hit by a pitch and stole his tenth base. It was the only hit of the game for the Rockcats. Steve Singleton walked twice. Mike McCardell started and gave up one run on four hits in six innings. He walked three and struck out four. Henry Arias gave up a run on two hits and a walk in his inning. Chris Province threw two scoreless innings.   

Miracle Matters

Sunday – Ft. Myers – No Game Scheduled.

Snappers Snippets

Sunday – Beloit 1, Burlington 5Peter Kennelly made his first start of the season. He gave up three runs on six hits and a walk in four innings. Jhon Garcia threw two scoreless innings. Ben Tootle came in and gave up two unearned runs in two innings. Eliecer Cardenas then pitched a scoreless ninth inning. The Snappers managed just five hits. Anderson Hidalgo had three of them, all doubles. He already has eight doubles on the season.  

Any questions? Leave your comments here.


6 Responses to “Decisions, Decisions”

  1. mike wants wins May 10, 2010 at 8:42 am #

    I would be very bummed if Punto, Tolbert, Casilla and Harris were all on the roster at the same time. It’s bad enough that three of them are on the roster, let alone 4 of them. Brutal.

    They don’t need to add a relief pitcher. They have plenty. I don’t understand why teams carry as many as they do. If you need a pitcher, call one up temporarily. But if they insist on calling one up, it should be Slama. He’s the best of the available guys. IF you think they should waste Ramos’ abilities in the minors, so he can grow, why call up Manship and have him sit around? It’s the same situation, isn’t it? If all you want is a long reliever/mop up guy, call up some stiff (the Butera of starting pitchers) from AAA whose progress won’t be set back by pitching in blowouts.

  2. TT May 10, 2010 at 10:08 am #

    Kyle Waldrop has actually been pitching as well or better than Slama. Slama has a bunch of walks in addition to his strikeouts. Its not clear he isn’t getting his strikeouts when AAA hitters chase his pitches out of the zone. Waldrop doesn’t strike as many guys out, but he puts the ball over the plate.

    As for Hardy, its a chance to see what Valencia can do at third. But to put the statement Valencia “has just three errors” in perspective, the Twins have six errors as a team. Plouffe has the same number of errors as Valencia, but with a lot more chances.

  3. mike wants wins May 10, 2010 at 10:19 am #

    Errors are silly anyway. Young has at least two balls that were in his glove that he dropped, both of which were called hits. Even Gladden and Gordon think the scorer is not doing his job….My preference would be Valencia or Plouffe, but I bet we get Tolbert and his veteran experience (plus, it won’t hold back his long term development….)

    Slama has gotten strikeouts at every level. Strikeouts are more in control of the pitcher than hit balls that turn into outs. I’d like to see a strikeout pitcher get a chance. Either way, they don’t need another short reliever (assuming you believe in the ones that are up)….so I’m not sure it matters.

  4. Jim H May 10, 2010 at 10:31 am #

    One of the greatest strengths of the Twins organization is patience. Occasionally it is a weakness as well, when they stick with a guy well beyond the expiration date. But, usually it is a strength. There have been bloggers who seem to have been calling for Slama forever(See CMathewson or Gleeman). Personally, I think a guy who is walking about 4 batters per 9 innings at AAA is likely to get himself into trouble in the majors. My guess is that when the Twins feel he has a better handle on his control issues, he will be in the majors almost immediately.

    When the Twins call him up, and they will, and he has success, and he likely will, there will be those who will pointedly wonder what took the Twins so long. One of the hardest things to do is work on things at the major league level. Or make adjustments at the major league level. When a player has a clear weakness(Slama’s control or Ramos’ struggles with breaking balls) major leaguers usually have the ability to exploit them.

    I think the Twins organizational patience is largely a good thing. I expect that is likely true in Slama’s case as well.

    • DH in Philly May 10, 2010 at 11:41 am #

      Go away and don’t come back with that crappy logical attitude! You should know that the Twins are always wrong. Too early, too late, wrong guy, poor medical decisions, playing favorites, etc. Doesn’t matter the decision they are ALWAYS wrong.

      (Excellent post, by the way)

  5. jimbo92107 May 11, 2010 at 11:03 am #

    You called it on Matt Tolbert. Gardy prefers versatile defensive players over all-hit/no-field or single position guys. Valencia will be a good hitter, but needs work fielding, and he’s strictly a 3rd baseman. Trevor Plouffe is a good shortstop, but again he doesn’t play 3rd or 2nd. Luke Hughes has good pop in his bat, but appears to be so-so as a fielder. Tolbert hasn’t shown much (so far) as a hitter, but he’s shown a good glove in the minors, and he’s a 100 percent effort guy, which makes him a Gardy favorite.

    I agree with you on Plouffe. He deserves a taste, but again, Gardy likes the versatile guys he can move around in the infield. Plouffe will get his chance, but maybe not this year. JJ Hardy is a very good shortstop.

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