Friday, May 11, 2012

Dumping a failing player is only half the battle

Jason Marquis has
walked 11 and
struck out 10 this year.
The middle third of May is when the Twins in years past axed the likes of Sidney Ponson and Ramon Ortiz. It's when when they dumped the left side of their infield in '06.

The Twins made some significant changes in roster and roles already this week — Brian Dozier, Danny Valencia, Francisco Liriano. After the travesty that was Thursday's performance, one has to expect more changes.

Jason Marquis was billed when he signed as a guy who threw strikes — a description that did not match his statistical record, and has been flatly contradicted by his 2012 performance. As Aaron Gleeman noted on Twitter Thursday, Marquis has thrown strikes at the same rate this year as Francisco Liriano.

As wild as Liriano, but without Liriano's stuff — that's not a workable combo for a major league pitcher.

Liriano lost his starting job. Marquis ought to lose his.

The problem is: With whom do you replace him?

The same question hovers over the Valencia demotion. He wasn't getting the job done. But it's a sound principle to know what Plan B is when Plan A is jettisoned. If there is a clear plan for third base now, I don't see it.

Playing Trevor Plouffe there is ... well, it's an engraved invitation to low comedy like the pop-up "base hit" Thursday. Catcher Ryan Doumit never saw it. Marquis ran in and was in position to catch it, and then he backed off. It appeared, from Marquis' actions, that Plouffe called him off. But Plouffe wasn't anywhere near the ball when it dropped.

The handling of Plouffe this year has been baffling. He's supposed to be an outfielder, on the theory that reducing his defensive responsibilities will give his bat a chance to shine. But he's spent the first month-plus subbing in around the infield, and he's hitting under .160. The theory isn't getting a true test.

I'm dubious about Plouffe to begin with, but if the organization seriously believes there's a player there, they have to stop whipsawing him.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with your comments about Plouffe. The Twins did that with Cuddyer, until they finally put him in RF for long enough that Cuddyer was able to find himself. Unfortunately, I too am dubious about Plouffe's bat. There is little indication in his minor league numbers or his major league performance, that he can hit well enough to be a corner outfield starter. Or starting 3B even he could field well enough.