Monday, May 18, 2015

Demoting Kennys Vargas

Kennys Vargas smacks an RBI single in Cleveland on
May 9 against Bruce Chen.
Eduardo Nunez is to come off the disabled list Tuesday when the Twins open their two-game series in Pittsburgh. The spot on the 25-man roster is coming at the expense of Kennys Vargas, who was optioned out after Sunday's loss..

Not sure I understand the rationale for that. True, the Twins will be going four days without a DH -- offday today, two days in a National League Park, offday Thursday -- but they will probably need some pinch hitters in Pittsburgh, and Vargas fits that bill more than, let us say, Doug Bernier, And, barring another DL trip for somebody, Vargas will be gone for at least six DH games after the interleague matchup.

So it's not as if Vargas isn't hitting.

Runs and RBIs result from getting on base and hitting for power. He's been doing that this month.

I would think there's a fine line between confused and unpredictable. I'll have to defer to Molitor on this, because he's infinitely closer to the situation, but this has to make it more difficult for pitchers to decide how to attack him. Is it patient Vargas or hack-away Vargas?

But here's something to consider: Torii Hunter has been the DH six times this month, more than a third of the time -- this after not appearing as the designated hitter at all in April. The less he plays in right field, the better for the pitching staff (per Baseball Reference, the Runs Saved defensive metric estimates that Hunter has cost the Twins six runs in the field compared to an average right fielder). Vargas, meanwhile, has had just 10 starts this month. He's hitting better than in April but playing less.

I don't know how close Oswaldo Arcia is to coming off the DL, but it's certainly plausible that Molitor and Terry Ryan are thinking that rotating two poor defensive outfielders through the DH slot is preferable to a full-time DH with Hunter and Arcia giving away runs in the corners. Of course, Arcia isn't back yet.

Anyway: Assuming that the outfielders in Pittsburgh will be Eduardo Escobar in left, Aaron Hicks in center and Hunter in right, the Twins bench figures to be Chris Herrmann, Nunez, Bernier, Shane Robinson and Eddie Rosario. Not much pop there.

No comments:

Post a Comment