Thursday, May 18, 2006
American Idol Thoughts
Twins Minor League Notes
Good morning all! Another quick day today here. I have a comment on the results from American Idol. Obviously, the big Twins news was Kyle Lohse's demotion, and I've got thoughts on that. However, a person would be remiss not to mention the Johan Santana/Justin Verlander matchup. And finally, I will post a few comments on the Twins minor league system. So, hope you enjoy it, and feel free to e-mail me or leave some Comments below.
To start today, I need to go back to yesterday. Here is what I wrote:
The question is then, what is next? Kyle Lohse got shelled again by the Tigers yesterday. He gave up five runs in just 2.2 innings. Do they just keep him in the rotation? I mean, before his quality start in Texas last week, he was basically pitching for his spot in the rotation. Meanwhile, Boof Bonser is sitting in Rochester with a 3-2 record and a 2.01 ERA. He has struck out 47 in 49 innings. His 20 walks are too high, but we have a track record on Lohse. He's not good. Bonser, although we don't know, still is at a point in his career where he could be good. He is ready for a chance now, and I have to wonder if a move might be very quick to happen. I know that the team is still 'in the race' and they should continue to try their best to win the division or get in the playoffs until they can't. I know that Gardy and Terry Ryan don't like putting rookies into high leverage, high stress situations but have no problem just letting veterans that they know won't do well pitch. Last year, it was Joe Mays that continued to get starts while Scott Baker and Francisco Liriano dominated AAA.
And by early afternoon yesterday, we found out that Kyle Lohse had been demoted to AAA Rochester and Boof Bonser was summoned to the rotation and will start in Milwaukee on Sunday. There is just so much to discuss based on this move:
Carlos Silva was removed from the rotation, but he went to the bullpen. Lohse went to AAA. The Twins (Gardy) have said that it is because Silva has pitched in the bullpen before. That is true, but in my mind, Silva's problems appear to be in his mechanics. The ball is just not sinking like it did the last two years and it is consistently high in the zone. That seems to be fixable.
Kyle Lohse is a head case. There were his office door antics last summer, and supposedly instead of sticking around the dugout and then the clubhouse after he was removed in the third inning of the game, he left the ball park. Mechanically, and in terms of pure "stuff", Lohse doesn't ever seem to be far off. The fact that he never has tells us a lot. And the fact that he is threatening to retire rather than go to AAA.
Scott Boras is his agent, so you have to wonder what else is really going on here.
Boof Bonser deserves this chance. Is he the 'perfect' pitching prospect? Certainly not. He walks too many, gives up too many homers and his physique and stuff are not things that scouts would drool over. What he does is throws innings. He also can get some strikeouts as he has led his league in strikeouts the last two years. As I wrote above, when Kyle Lohse takes the mound, you can be pretty sure that it won't be good for the Twins. At least with Bonser, we can be exciting just because there is a chance.
Some have asked me how Lohse can be sent to the minors. Without digging too deeply, here is my response. Once a player is put on the 40 man roster, he is given three options. For instance, Pat Neshek, Adam Harben, Justin Jones and some others were put on the 40 man roster this winter. When they were sent to the minor leagues this spring, that is one option. That one option goes the whole year. If they are sent back to the minor leagues next year, that would be the second option year. If they are sent down the third year, that is there third option year. If they are sent down that fourth year, they are out of options and would have to pass through waivers and likely would be lost. Rob Bowen was a good example of this this spring. Michael Restovich was the year before. My guess is that when Lohse was called up to the Twins, he had an option year left. Since he has not been sent to the minor leagues in between, he still has one more option year remaining. This would be the same thing that the Twins did with JC Romero years a year or two ago.
This may be the worst of several very questionable arbitration-related decisions by Terry Ryan in the last couple of years. Last year, I just could not understand why Luis Rivas was offered arbitration and then signed for about $1.7 million. Was there really any reason to think he would be good. I questioned the team's decision to give JC Romero a two-year deal two winters ago. This winter, I have no idea why they decided to offer Nick Punto arbitration. Sure, it's only $700,000 this year, but they could put Luis Maza or Luis Rodriguez, or Tommy Watkins, or Gil Velazquez or Felix Molina on the roster as the 2nd utility infielder, get as much production and save $400,000. However, the decision to offer Lohse arbitration, knowing he was going to cost $4 million dollars this year was almost as bad as the Rivas decision. The team had Francisco Liriano more than ready to replace Lohse in the rotation, do better and cost just over $300,000 for the next two or three years.
One big reason to offer Lohse arbitration and not trade him was because Terry Ryan did not feel comfortable putting more than one rookie in the starting rotation. His thinking is that you don't trust that much youth when you've got veterans. The thinking was that Johan Santana, Brad Radke and Carlos Silva would be givens. Scott Baker earned a rotation spot and instead of using Liriano, they kept the veteran Lohse. The irony of it all is that, with this latest move, the Twins starting rotation now consists of three rookies, Scott Baker, Francisco Liriano and Boof Bonser (actually two as Baker pitched more than the 50 inning limit to maintain his rookie status, but he is still very young and inexperienced.).
Some may see that as giving up competing in 2006 and building for 2007. In reality, or at least in my opinion, these moves simply give the Twins a better chance to win in each game. If it doesn't go so well, and the Twins fall out of contention, it becomes a rebuilding situation. Either way, it is the right thing to do.
By the way, are there any people out there who do not absolutely LOVE the AJ Peirzynski for Joe Nathan, Boof Bonser and Francisco Liriano trade now? What a great deal, especially since it opened up a spot for Joe Mauer!
It will be interesting to see what happens in this situation, but my gut tells me that we have seen the last of Kyle Lohse on a mound in a Minnesota Twins uniform, and to that I say, About Time!!!
So, the Twins actually had another game last night too. They fell 2-0 to the Detroit Tigers in an epic pitcher's dual. It was the Twins Johan Santana pitching a complete game, giving up just four hits and striking out twelve. Unfortunately for the Twins, he made one mistake and Vance Wilson (Yeah... Vance Wilson) hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the 8th to give the Tigers the win. Justin Verlander went eight innings and didn't strike out anyone. However, he gave up no runs, six hits and no walks either. I was impressed because even in the 8th inning, the radar gun was still showing 98 and 99 mph on his fastball.
Seven Twins hitters had a hit, but it just was not put together.
This afternoon, it is Brad Radke against Kenny Rogers. This reminds me that I really hate the major league schedule. I hate the 19 intra-division games. I much prefer an equal schedule where all teams in the same league are playing the same schedule. First, the Wild Card can be based on what division you get to play teams from most often, or several other issues. But my main point today would just be that I'm tired of watching the Twins and Tigers play. I want to see the Twins play other teams. I want to see teams from the other division as well. Now, that may mean the removal of inter-league play, and I'm fine with that (and the elimination of the DH, for what it is worth). Unless the league can find a way for each team in the AL to play each team in the NL the same amount of times, I think that the schedule is flawed and unfair.
So, do you have any thoughts on the Twins/Tigers series, or the Twins in general? If so, please feel free to leave Comments below, or send me an e-mail.
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE NOTES
I only briefly looked at the box scores from Monday and Tuesday to see if anything really noteworthy happened. There were several things, and I prefer to just talk about them rather than write up a full report as I normally do. I mean, I'm running low on my 60 minute time limit!
Jason Tyner is on fire. After his tremendous weekend, he went 3-4 again last night in a 4-3 Rochester win over Scranton in 10 innings. He is now hitting .320 on the year after a poor start.
Jason Hart came in to pinch hit and drilled a 10th inning walk-off homer for the Win. He is still just hitting .200 on the year and keeping Danny Matienzo at New Britain, which is too bad.
Every time Pat Neshek has a rough start, you can pretty much count on him coming back with a great one. Last night, he got the Win in the game by pitching three shutout innings. He surrendered no hits, walked one and struck out three to pick up his third win.
New Britain got a nice 5-3 win, and Adam Harben recorded his first win of the year. In five innings, he gave up two runs on four hits and three walks. He struck out three. Now, in 32 innings, he has walked 21 and struck out 18, so that is a concern.
One of my favorite prospects, Trent Oeltjen had a nice 3-4 night. He is now up to .293 on the year. He also has six stolen bases.
Alexi Casilla led Ft. Myers to a 6-1 win with a 3-5 night. Matt Tolbert, Garrett Guzman, Kyle Geiger and Luke Hughes each had two hits. Tolbert and Guzman had doubles, while Hughes knocked his second home run of the year.
Kyle Aselton is a year older than Garza and Slowey, but he is still a solid pitcher. Last night, he gave up a run on four hits and a walk. He is 4-1 with a 2.68 ERA.
Danny Powers continues to impress. He struck out five hitters in just two innings.
Tarrence Patterson singled in a 10th inning run to give Beloit a 7-6 win. I am intrigued by Patterson as a prospect. Last night he went 3-6 to improve to .288 on the year. However, he also recorded his 14th and 15th stolen bases of the season.
Is it OK to run a FREE campaign in the minor league system. First Free would be FREE SLOWEY, but a close #2 is FREE LIS. Lis hit his sixth home of the year last night and really should be up at Ft. Myers. He was 3-4 to improve to .352!.
Ryan Mullins had a nice 'comeback start' after a rough one in his last outing. This time out, he went 6.1 innings and gave up just a run with one walk and eight strikeouts.
And Jim Mandelaro's Extra Bases has had some great stories, e-mail responses and more!
Any other goings on or transactions in the Twins system that should be discussed, or maybe I missed. Send me an e-mail or leave some Comments below.
AMERICAN IDOL THOUGHTS
I was right, and it is too bad. Last night, Elliot Yamin was eliminated from American Idol's competition. That means that Katharine McPhee and Taylor Hicks will square off next week for the title of American Idol.
I could listen to Elliot sing all day. He has a truly incredible voice. But to me, he is a normal guy. He obviously would not pass for a model or a celebrity. He's just a regular person, but he has an incredible gift. I really, truly hope that he gets a recording deal.
Any thoughts? Please be sure to e-mail me.
Welp, that is it for today. Again, not exactly sure what will happen the rest of the week, but check back and see. If you have any thoughts, opinions, comments, critiques, or ideas on anything, please e-mail me, or let's get a discussion going in the Comments.|
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