Saturday, April 4, 2015

On the Ervin Santana suspension

A sight we won't see for a while:
Ervin Santana throwing a pitch.
The loss of Ervin Santana to what is essentially a half-year's suspension -- 80 days of a 162-game season, plus the postseason should God drop everything else and the Twins reach the playoffs -- hurts the Twins.

What hurts worse is how management is filling the gap.

Santana said in a statement Friday that he doesn't know how the substance for which he tested positive -- specifically Stanozolol -- got into his system. You can regard me as overly gullible, but I think that's believable. He spent the offseason in his native Dominican Republic, and let's just say government regulations are laxer there than in the U.S. -- and we don't regulate supplements well at all. (Regulating supplements interfered with campaign donations.)

Accident or intentional, it doesn't matter. Santana is responsible, under the collective bargaining agreement, for what he puts in his body. 

Anyway, I'm just going to regard this as a three-month injury that will flare up again in October. He's a pitcher, and injuries happen to pitchers. He can't pitch.

What irks me is that the Twins have chosen to fill the rotation vacancy with Mike Pelfrey. Not Trevor May, not Alex Meyer, not Jose Berrios or somebody with actual talent. Mike Pelfrey, who is 12 percent under league average in ERA+ for his career and has been injured, awful or both for four straight years.

Ridiculous. Farcical. I would say this indicates that organization remains committed to veteran mediocrity, except that Pelfrey hasn't attained mediocrity in years. 

To fill the bullpen role that Pelfrey was supposed to occupy, the Twins called back Aaron Thompson, a LOOGY candidate who got sent out before fellow LOOGY candidate Caleb Thielbar was. Thompson doesn't really interest me much either -- I would much rather see Michael Tonkin or Ryan Pressly, and to heck with the left-handed specialists -- but the sixth or seventh arm in the bullpen isn't a high-leverage role. At least it shouldn't be. The way this organization is making decisions, who knows?


  1. Any thoughts on why the Twins often seem to "push/rush" hitters (Hicks, Gomez, Vargas) and yet refuse to treat young pitchers the same way (Santana, May, Meyer, etc.)? Odd and inexplicable. I hope they get off to such a slow start that Ryan gets the axe. He's the problem.

  2. I would prefer May at the beginning of the season as well, if he is ready to pitch more than 3 or 4 per start, which he may not be. As for the rest, well Tonkin and Pressly are just as much back of the bull pen guys as Thompson or the guys that beat them out this spring. Maybe they can be better than that someday, but they aren't right now, so I really don't care much who starts the season in the bullpen, it will go through sorting throughout the season anyhow.

  3. I am about to give up on the Twins ... I thought the Santana signing was a little iffy to begin with, but I could live with it because he would at least be a respectable, hopefully, bridge to the future. Pelfrey is not a bridge at all. He's a roadblock. I believe you can rush pitchers too fast, but as you pointed out a few days ago, some of these guys are at the age where there's no worry that they're being rushed. It's a joke and the legions of empty seats at Target Field last year is going to be duplicated this summer. I hope I'm wrong, but 90 losses seems almost a given again because of management that is stuck in the past.

  4. The sky is not falling.

  5. I wish the sky would fall on Hunter, Nolasco, Pelfrey, Suzuki, Nunez, and Santana to clear some roster space for May, Meyer, Rosario, Barrios not to mention Sano and Buxton.