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View Full Version : Neyer: What are the Twins doing?



paulrichjr
03-27-2007, 01:35 PM
OK so we all know that Wayne got his training from the Twins and they are of course winners but sometimes they do things like sign a bunch of old guys that aren't needed to fill spots that could easily be filled by younger more talented players. Sounds like another team and their bullpen to me.

http://insider.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?name=neyer_rob

What are the Twins doing?posted: Monday, March 26, 2007 | Print Entry

One of the strangest things this spring was the Twins signaling their preference for veteran starting pitchers Sidney Ponson, Ramon Ortiz and Carlos Silva over young Scott Baker, Glen Perkins and especially Matt Garza. To which we might ask, "Why bother drafting and developing all these fine young pitchers if you're not going to use them?"
I know, I know ... who am I to quibble with the most successful player factory in the majors? Seems small of me, and history does suggest that Terry Ryan knows what he's doing.

And anyway, it seems the Twins' wishes are being dashed against the rocks of the veterans' limited talents. In his three spring starts, Ponson has posted a 6.30 ERA and struck out only three batters. As for Silva, who's making $3.5 million this season, he's been absolutely hammered this spring, giving up 29 hits in 16 innings. So although Garza has been allowed to start just one game all spring, thanks to good work he's now considered a serious candidate for the rotation.

Which can only improve the Twins' chances this season. As I've written before, they won last season despite beginning the season with a bunch of the wrong guys on the roster. They're not likely to be so lucky again.

M2
03-27-2007, 01:55 PM
Just last night I was marvelling at how the Twins seem hell-bent on undermining themselves this season.

KronoRed
03-27-2007, 02:05 PM
Like last year they plan to tank it then play the kids and sneak up on everyone.

VR
03-27-2007, 02:21 PM
I like Neyer, a lot.

It seems he's got the NFL mentality coming out of ST on this one, where you have your absolute best on the field from the opening kickoff of the first game. The baseball season is a marathon, not an NFL sprint that has no margin for error. The continual reliance on spring training stats is bizarre this year. By April 1 no one will remember nor care what happened in ST, and yet folks look at it like it's the only metric that counts. Perhaps they won last year because they didn't throw those young guys into the fire, but let the roster develop over the long haul.

I'd trust Ryan with his handling of his young guys. Let them develop and get their confidence where it needs to be, so they are ready to contribute when it counts, not crash and burn in April.

KoryMac5
03-27-2007, 02:39 PM
Sounds a lot like the Reds. Send the younger cheaper talent to AAA and hang on to the scrappy vets.

M2
03-27-2007, 02:52 PM
I like Neyer, a lot.

It seems he's got the NFL mentality coming out of ST on this one, where you have your absolute best on the field from the opening kickoff of the first game. The baseball season is a marathon, not an NFL sprint that has no margin for error. The continual reliance on spring training stats is bizarre this year. By April 1 no one will remember nor care what happened in ST, and yet folks look at it like it's the only metric that counts. Perhaps they won last year because they didn't throw those young guys into the fire, but let the roster develop over the long haul.

I'd trust Ryan with his handling of his young guys. Let them develop and get their confidence where it needs to be, so they are ready to contribute when it counts, not crash and burn in April.

Ponson, Ortiz and Silva sucked long before this spring started. So, while I agree that the bulk of the Twins' young guys aren't ready, they could have hardly done a worse job of assembling veterans for the rotation.

paulrichjr
03-27-2007, 03:36 PM
What I don't understand about Wayne is that he left virtually no spot open in the bullpen for a surprise. As soon as Bray and Majewski come off of the DL there will be no room for any of the young guys in Louisville. It just boggles the mind. I understand that you can't go with spring numbers but leaving one or two spots empty (for a surprise like Burton) would make sense to me. What happens in July when EddieG comes off of the DL?

nmculbreth
03-27-2007, 03:49 PM
I get that the baseball season is a marathon but keeping Ponson and Ortiz over Baker and Garza is criminal.

Redsland
03-27-2007, 03:52 PM
If Eddie is back in July, I'll eat my hat.

Personally, I like having Bray and Majewski on the DL to start the year. It gives Livingston and Burton a chance to throw against real major leaguers for a couple of weeks, so the team can find out of their ST numbers are mirages or not.

If so, you've got a safety net. If not, you've got an awful lot of depth.

Johnny Footstool
03-27-2007, 03:52 PM
I get that the baseball season is a marathon but keeping Ponson and Ortiz over Baker and Garza is criminal.

Exactly. Why start a marathon by running backwards?

RedsManRick
03-27-2007, 03:54 PM
The Twins do this every year. Santana had to force his way in to the rotation after time in the bullpen. Juan Castro was signed (and only traded after Punto proved himself capable). The Twins of the last few years have been very cautious across the board. If Ponson, Ortiz, etc. bomb -- the Twins will replace them. If they are effective, they'll let the young guys develop out of the spot light and in a manner which keeps their arb values down.

Tom Servo
03-27-2007, 03:58 PM
These actions by the Twins both pre and post Krivsky make me really wonder if Votto will be starting at first next year on Opening Day like he should be.

Eric_Davis
03-27-2007, 04:07 PM
Jeff Sackmann thinks the Twins have the deepest starting rotation, with a brief explanation why:

Baseball’s Deepest Starting Rotations
by Jeff Sackmann
March 16, 2007

As I wrote several months ago, the average team gets about 124 starts from the five guys slated as their rotation at the beginning of the season. That means that nearly one quarter of their games are started by a mid-season replacement, very often someone who wasn't good enough to crack the rotation in March.

Logically enough, there's been increased focus on each team's sixth, seventh, and eighth starters—in many instances, the number six guy is nearly as important as a club's number five. Certainly, if that guy is a prospect not quite ready for the rotation—think Francisco Liriano or Jered Weaver last year, or Philip Hughes or Homer Bailey this season—he can end up contributing as much as anyone else on the club.

With that in mind, let's look at the five deepest pitching staffs in baseball this year. For the purpose of this unscientific ranking, I've all but ignored the quality of the starting five. Instead, I look at the guys likely to fill in, whether they're ready right now (like, say, Jeff Karstens or Carlos Villanueva) or are expected to be ready at some point during the season (Tim Lincecum, perhaps).


5. Arizona Diamondbacks

If I were ranking teams based on the number of possible rotation replacements, the D-Backs might be at the top of this list. Once Randy Johnson is healthy, there's only one spot for Dana Eveland, Edgar Gonzalez, Enrique Gonzalez, Dustin Nippert, and Micah Owings, all of whom are still in big-league camp.

Beyond that, Evan MacLane (who was sent down earlier this week) will remain in an option in Triple-A, and Juan Cruz, likely a member of the Arizona bullpen, is always a possibility to plug into the rotation. For 2007, none of those pitchers have particularly high upside, but three or four of them will probably be better than what the Giants get from their fifth spot in the first half.


4. Toronto Blue Jays

The Jays are the American League equivalent of the Diamondbacks, with just as many fifth starter options and quite possibly even more use for them. Having brought in John Thomson, Victor Zambrano, and Tomo Ohka, Toronto may have limited opportunities for its younger starters, but when some of those guys get hurt, or if Gustavo Chacin is ineffective, there'll be a Triple-A rotation full of options.

In fact, the number of possible replacements boggles the mind. Just looking at pitchers who got multiple big-league starts last year, that includes Casey Janssen, Shaun Marcum, Josh Towers, Scott Downs, Ty Taubenheim, and Dustin McGowan. Some of those guys will battle for bullpen slots as well, but that's a very solid Syracuse rotation, if it comes to that. Janssen and Marcum each had a big-league ERA+ of 93, while Taubenheim's was 96. As with Arizona, there's isn't a ton of short-term upside here, but short-term depth they got.


3. Los Angeles Dodgers

The competition for the Dodgers number five spot is officially down to three: Mark Hendrickson, Hong-Chih Kuo, and Brett Tomko. That already leaves Chad Billingsley outside looking in, moved to the bullpen for the time being. As long as that move isn't forever, the Dodgers could have two of the better replacement starters in the game.

In about 30 innings of each last year, Kuo was much better as a starter: racking up a 3.07 ERA in that role against a 5.34 mark as a reliever. Billingsley was nearly as good in his 16 starts, keeping his ERA well under 4.00. In addition to those two pitchers, one of Tomko or Hendrickson will constitute insurance, while having Elmer Dessens in the bullpen offers one more emergency solution. Looking further ahead, top prospect Scott Elbert could make himself a factor by season's end, as well.


2. Milwaukee Brewers

While it isn't written in stone, the Brewers rotation is all but established: Claudio Vargas will grab the number five spot, making it likely that Carlos Villanueva will head back to Nashville. Villanueva leads a group of Nashville starters that includes Zach Jackson, Tim Dillard, and Yovani Gallardo, any one of whom could be a capable rotation fill-in at some point during the 2007 campaign.

While neither Villanueva nor Jackson (nor Dillard or Ben Hendrickson, for that matter) has a very high ceiling, either would probably be a capable MLB fifth starter right now. In six starts last year, Villanueva managed a 3.69 ERA with a nearly 4/1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Jackson wasn't so successful, but performed above replacement level in his seven starts. Gallardo is the most exciting of the bunch: he probably won't be ready until the all-star break, but is one of the top pitching prospects in the game.


1. Minnesota Twins

I was torn about where to put the Twins on the list: is it right to say that your rotation is deep if you sign bad pitchers to displace good ones? That's essentially what Terry Ryan has done, virtually guaranteeing Ramon Ortiz a starting job at the expense of an opportunity for Matt Garza or Glen Perkins. If you work hard enough, you can find the logic in that move, but it's a stretch, as I wrote last month.

As it stands now, the rotation is likely to include Ortiz, Carlos Silva, Boof Bonser, and Johan Santana. If Sidney Ponson somehow lies, cheats, or steals his way into the fifth spot, Rochester's numbers two through five could well be better than Minnesota's. ZiPS forecasts Garza, Scott Baker, and Kevin Slowey to post ERAs under 4.50 this year (better, incidentally, than Silva, Ortiz, Bonser, or Ponson), and even projects forgotten man J.D. Durbin at 4.86.

Even if all the right people got jobs in the opening day starting rotation, the Twins would still have plenty of options; I just wish they had realized that before wasting all those innings on Ponson and Ortiz.


Honorable Mention

The team that came closest to making the cut was the Angels. With Bartolo Colon and Jered Weaver both on the shelf, their depth is already being tested. Beyond youngsters Joe Saunders and Dustin Moseley, they have a couple of useful swingmen in their pen in Hector Carrasco and Darren Oliver.

The other club on the fringes of this debate is the New York Yankees. If Carl Pavano is healthy and holds on to his rotation spot, that makes Jeff Karstens number six, with Philip Hughes right at his heels. Humberto Sanchez may not be of Hughes's caliber, but if he gets over his current forearm problems, he could be a solid option before the season is out.

Puffy
03-27-2007, 04:24 PM
If Eddie is back in July, I'll eat my hat.

Personally, I like having Bray and Majewski on the DL to start the year. It gives Livingston and Burton a chance to throw against real major leaguers for a couple of weeks, so the team can find out of their ST numbers are mirages or not.

If so, you've got a safety net. If not, you've got an awful lot of depth.

I think the important question here is which hat?

Redsland
03-27-2007, 04:33 PM
I think the important question here is which hat?
The little chocolate one.

:mooner:

klw
04-05-2007, 05:35 PM
JD Durbin was DFA'd by Arizona.
http://eastvalleytribune.com/story/87215

Royals Fan
04-05-2007, 05:42 PM
I would not be suprised if Wayne makes an play for Durbin.Durbin was highly thought of when Wayne was in the Twins organzation.

Dracodave
04-05-2007, 05:51 PM
I would not be suprised if Wayne makes an play for Durbin.Durbin was highly thought of when Wayne was in the Twins organzation.

BLaaah..Im not thinking. my minds on redoing my resume and fixing my laptop..baah..