August 8, 2011
days ago, the Twins could have cut their deficit in the AL Central to just four
games. Today, the Twins are ten games behind the Tigers and twelve games under
.500. While celebrating the organization's 1991 World Series championship team
all weekend, the Twins were swept at Target Field by the White Sox, a
team that they have dominated the last few seasons. In fact, in the three
games, the White Sox outscored the Twins 18-4. Considering Jason Kubel hit a three-run homer in the 1st inning of Friday
night's game, it was all downhill from there.
will be discussing where it all went wrong ad nauseum
for the rest of the season and in the offseason. We will be discussing what the
team should do in the offseason pretty much as soon as the season is
complete. Today, I will be toss out some ideas for what the Twins should do in
the next month.
- Call-up Kevin Slowey and have him start. Move Nick Blackburn to
- The 27-year-old right-hander simply did not
adjust to the bullpen role that he was
thrown into. Since his debut with the Twins in 2007, he has gone
39-21 with a 4.43 ERA. That's an ERA+ of 95 which means it is slightly
below average for that time frame. In Rochester, he is now 1-2 with a 3.60 ERA. In 38 innings,
he has allowed 44 hits, walked four and struck out 29. These are not
numbers that scream out that he deserves the opportunity. However, with
trade rumors swirling constantly, they might as well bring him up and see
what he can do to improve his trade status. Or, maybe he will show that
he should be part of the Twins plans.
- Nick Blackburn has struggled. He is still owed a
lot of money for afew more years, and no one
will take that contract, but maybe he can find a role in the back of the
- Flip-Flop Francisco Liriano and Anthony Swarzak.
- Swarzak has been terrific in spot starts and in long
relief. Why not give him a six-week trial in the starting rotation and
just see how he handles it. Liriano has been
about as disappointing as anyone with the Twins in 2011. I know a lot of
people want to see Brian Duensing moved to the
bullpen, and I can understand that, but Duensing
has been no worse than Liriano in 2011. I would
send a message to Liriano and put him out in
the bullpen for a few weeks. Duensing is at 132
innings this year. Last year, he threw 130 innings. His minor league high
in innings pitched was 167. I would have Duensing
make four more starts to build up that inning count, hopefully to around
155 or so. Then I would flip-flop Duensing and Liriano and let Liriano
make those final four starts while Duensing
pitches out of the bullpen.
- Call-up Luke Hughes
and send Ben Revere to AAA Rochester.
- Ben Revere is exciting,
but he should be playing every day. He'sstill
just 23 years old. I'd send him to
Rochester to play every day through Labor Day before he is brought back
up. It is all about making him a better player. Luke
Hughes can play several positions and is old
enough not to need a regular role.
- Activate Alexi Casilla from the Disabled List and send
Tsuyoshi Nishioka to New Britain.
- As Nick Nelson pointed out in this space last
week, Nishioka is not ready for the big
leagues. I know they paid a lot to Chiba Lotte
to negotiate with him, and then gave him a three-year contract, but
that's all the more reason to send him down. We all need to consider the
full three years of the contract, and this year is lost. Why not let him
go down and work on some things out of the spot light. Some suggest
Rochester. With that swing and that defense, I was thinking New Britain
might be a better option (because Ft. Myers is probably too far down the
chain). Casilla has been solid since early May
for the most part. His defense at shortstop is better than Nishioka's and his arm is so much stronger.
- Play Trevor Plouffe every day.
- Even if he is no longer in the plans to be an every day shortstop, his AAA production warrants
an extended look, and he isn't getting that right now. For the final six
weeks of the season, I would like to see him play pretty much every day.
And, I would like to see him used in that Super Utility role. He
should get time at all four infield positions and the two corner outfield
positions. That's six positions meaning one game at each position each
week. Yes, he will make mistakes, but it's time to give him an
- Place everyone on
- This has probably already been done. The Twins,
and all MLB teams, put players on waivers sometime in August. If a player
clears waivers (does not get claimed by another team), then they can
be traded to any other team. If a player is claimed, the Twins will have
48 hours to negotiate a possible trade with that team. Their options are
to 1.) make a trade, 2.) pull the player back, or 3.) let
the other team have the player and his contract. I would put Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau on
waivers. There are two teams that could absorb Mauer's
contract, the Red Sox and the Yankees. The Red Sox have Jarrod Saltalamacchia and the aging Jason Varitek as their catchers. The Yankees have Russell
Martin, Francisco Cervelli, and Jesus Montero
had a disappointing 2011 season in Triple-A. Of course, the return for Mauer or Morneau should be
big, along with the salary relief. If I am reading most Twins fans, blog commenters, etc., correctly, many may see Mauer being traded as a positive. I'm not so sure!
But it doesn't hurt anything to put the players on waivers and see if you
can accumulate some talent in return. If they don't get what they want
for a player, they can always pull him back.
are six ideas, and I'm sure most Twins fans could easily come up with five
more. I said in early June that the 2011 season was over and everything that
they do should be in looking toward 2012. I was wrong then. But now it is
mid-August, and I would LOVE to be wrong again, more than anything, but at
this point, everything the Twins do should be with an eye to 2012.
Any thoughts?? E-mail me, or leave some
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