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What Would You Do? Part 3 (Bullpen)

25 Mar

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Last night was the 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 ( and a Royals blog ( 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.   


Minor Signings

18 Dec

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I received word that the Twins have signed a few minor league free agents. None are terribly exciting, but each has had at least a little bit of Major League time, and who knows, given the right set of circumstances, could get there again. Will it be with the Twins in 2009? Well, we shall see. They are:

Luis Matos – The former big-time OF prospect of the Baltimore Orioles. He spent at least part of each season between 2000 and 2006 with the O’s. Matos has been a journeyman the last couple of years. After being released by the O’s in July of 2006, he signed with the Nationals where he got 15 at bats in 14 games before being released. He split 2007 between the AAA affiliates of the Pirates and Mets. He did not receive an offer for the 2008 season, so he played in Mexico, for the Yucatan Leones. He is currently playing in Puerto Rico where he has been quite impressive this winter. Matos was once the CF of the future for the Orioles. He is now a journeyman 30 year old outfielder. In reality, the Twins probably just hope that he can come close to producing for Rochester as well as the recently departed Darnell McDonald did (McDonald signed with the Reds last week).

Bobby Keppel – Keppel was the 1st round pick of the New York Mets in 2000 out of high school. He started in the Appalachian League and basically moved up one level a year until he finally made his big league debut in 2006 at the age of 23 for the Kansas City Royals. In 34.1 innings, he gave up 45 hits and walked 15. He moved to the Rockies in 2007. He started 23 games in AAA before getting four relief appearances in Colorado. In four innings, he gave up six hits and walked three more. He spent 2008 in the Marlins AAA rotation, in Albuquerque, where he went 9-11 with a 5.99 ERA. In 159.1 innings, he gave up 208 hits and walked another 57. He struck out just 85. It is pretty difficult to get too excited about this signing. He is still just 26 years old with big league experience. I would imagine that he could fight for a spot in the Rochester starting rotation.  

Sean Henn – Henn was the 30th round pick of the New York Yankees in 1999. At 24, he made his big league debut in the Bronx in 2005 by making three starts and going 0-3 with a 11.12 ERA. In 2006, he got into four more games for eth Yankees. In 2007, he pitched in 29 games for the Yankees and went 2-2 with a 7.12 ERA in 36.2 innings. He began the 2008 season in the Yankees organization but was released and claimed by the San Diego Padres. He got into four games for the Padres. He walked nine and struck out nine in 9.1 innings of relief. Henn is a 27 year old, 6-5 lefty that could start for the Red Wings but could also work out of the team’s bullpen.  

Again, I don’t think any of these three players will being the 2009 season with the Twins. They provide depth to the organization. Any thoughts? Leave your comments here.