Saturday, March 28, 2015

'Clarity,' indeed

Tommy Milone
gets the fifth
slot in the rotation.
I suppose I could have waited a couple hours to post.

The Twins this morning optioned out Aaron Hicks, Eddie Rosario and Trevor May and reassigned Mark Hamburger. They also announced that Tommy Milone will be the fifth starter.

This sets up a center field platoon of Jordan Schafer and Shane Robinson, which I saw coming a few days ago. I'm fine with this. After the last two springs, nothing Hicks did in Florida was going to sway my view of him, and while I have high hopes for Rosario, I don't think center field in April 2015 is the right job at the right time for him. Schafer and Robinson aren't much of a much, but that just makes it easier to decide that it's Byron Buxton's time in June or July.

Ron Gardenhire would have made a different decision. Gardy never ran a true left-right platoon for more than a month or so. He'd have picked one center fielder to open the season, probably Hicks, and changed to somebody else in late May when Hicks didn't hit, and we've seen this movie before.

Hamburger's departure was also foreseeable. He opened eyes early in camp but faded late; he didn't make either of my bullpen projections this week. He's got a real good chance of coming up at some point this season, though.

I'm glad Milone is in the rotation, even more pleased that Mike Pelfrey isn't, and a bit discouraged that May is not. As I said earlier this morning, May probably needed some veteran injuries to get a rotation spot. The front office stacked too many contracts in front of him. Milone is a good starter with a better track record than Pelfrey or Ricky Nolasco. We didn't see him pitch that way last year.

So what decisions still await? The backup catcher has yet to be determined. One or two or even three bullpen jobs are still in question. We know Glen Perkins, Casey Fien and Brian Duensing are safe, and it would be a shocker if J.R. Graham didn't come north. That leaves three jobs for Tim Stauffer, Caleb Thielbar, Pelfrey, Blaine Boyer and maybe somebody not currently in the Twins organization.

1 comment:

  1. I am largely indifferent to what the Twins decided to do with Hicks in the short term. He has been unable to translate his tools into major league skills. While that may happen at some point, it is hard to see how he fits into the Twins long range plans. Or even their medium range plans. Buxton is the CF of the future and that could happen as soon as this summer. If not Rosario will likely be better than Hicks at that point. Hicks probably won't be a better corner outfielder than at least a couple of the long range candidates. In the medium term, Arcia, Rosario, and possibly Plouffe or some other infielder that might have to be shifted to the outfield will likely be better offensive options than Hicks. I really expect that Hicks will be traded, maybe not immediately but when/if he shows a pulse.

    What I expect to happen this year, is a rather steady influx of the top prospects in the upper levels to the major league roster, as the season progresses. I think Meyer, May, Berrios and Rodgers all have realistic chances of starting for the Twins this year. All 4 may not get the chance, but it wouldn't surprise me if at least 3 of them do. I expect Ryan will have to eat some salary to open up spots but he had to know that could happen when he signed Nolasco and Santana.

    Right now the bullpen looks a little ugly. Again, there a number of power arms who might look pretty good, pretty soon in the minors. I expect to see a very different bullpen in July.

    I don't know that the Twins will contend this year, but I expect/hope to see some of the pieces of a very good team in place by the end of the year.