Sunday, March 20, 2011

Ticket sales, roster cuts and trade speculation

Item: The Twins started selling single-game tickets Saturday and had technical glitches that made some customers unhappy.

It's back to Rochester
for shortstop Trevor
Comment: Given the hype and emphasis the organization put on the March 19 opening of sales, this is a black eye for the Twins. They not only expected heavy demand on Saturday, they encouraged it. To have repeated system failures as a result ... they deserve the complaints, and shrugging them off as merely a "relatively small number" doesn't live up to my expectations of the operation.

Item: Five more players were sent to the minor league complex Saturday.

Comment: Trevor Plouffe got the attention in LaVelle Neal's pregame blog, but Plouffe entered camp as an underdog candidate for the roster and played poorly to boot. He's been charged with six errors in exhibition games, and that understates his problems in the field.

The demotion that struck me was Alex Burnett, who made the squad last year. Nobody's seized one of the three open bullpen jobs yet, and Burnett's been no worse than some of the remaining contenders, but he faded in the second half last season and obviously needs to climb back up in the esteem of the decision makers.

The other guys gone: Ben Revere, Danny Rams and Matt Brown. None were serious candidates for the 25-man roster.

Item: Kevin Slowey threw three shutout innings of relief Saturday.

Comment: The Blue Jays are said to have had three scouts and a video camera on hand for the game. If the Twins trade a starter this spring — and I think it's likely — I'd rather they moved Nick Blackburn, who started (five innings, two runs allowed) than Slowey, but I think the Twins value Blackburn more than Slowey, and I also think many other organizations would prefer Slowey.

The video camera? I suspect it's to dissect pitching motions. Slowey has had repeated stints on the disabled list, and if Toronto is contemplating trading for him, they may want first to decide if the injuries are rooted in his delivery.

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