Saturday, July 4, 2015

Here comes E. Santana, 80 games late

Alex Meyer had
two major league
outings and didn't
fare well (ERA
Friday's loss, so illustrative of the flaws in the 2015 Twins, dropped their record to 42-38. That adds up to 80, so Ervin Santana's steroid suspension is now fully served.

The Twins shipped Alex Meyer back to Triple A to make room for Santana on the 25-man roster. They outrighted minor league veteran Doug Bernier to make room for Santana on the 40-man roster. (Bernier could have refused the designation and become a free agent, but probably figured that the demand for 35-year-old utility infielders with 83 major league at-bats would be light.)

How the Twins will make room for Santana in the rotation remains unknown. The demotion of Meyer suggests that the Twins will not demote one of the current starters (in order of rotation, Phil Hughes, Trevor May, Kyle Gibson, Tommy Milone and Mike Pelfrey). Which would make the options:

  • Six-man rotation
  • A trade
  • Shifting one of the five to the bullpen

There appears little appetite among the decision makers for the six-man rotation, and I agree, in large part because at least two of the five rely on their two-seam fastballs (aka sinker) and, theoretically at least, such pitchers tend to do poorly on long rest.

A trade may well be the ultimate answer, especially if Ricky Nolasco's ankle ever shows sign of improvement, but I'll be surprised if that happens promptly.

Which would leave the bullpen shift option, Regular readers can probably guess that I regard Pelfrey as the logical choice to move. It's not going to be Hughes or Gibson; Milone, as a soft-tossing lefty, is a poor fit for a relief role; May, despite the worst actual ERA of the five, has the best FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) of the group.

Pelfrey had been slated for the bullpen at the end of spring training (despite his objections), until the Santana suspension was announced. His ERA in June was 5.35. with peripheral numbers that were just as ugly. And there remain observers, such as the Pioneer Press' Mike Berardino, who believe Pelfrey's stuff will play better in the bullpen. (Berardino has repeatedly compared Pelfrey to Wade Davis, the Royal's wipe-out eighth-inning arm.)

Pelfrey starts today. We'll see if there are more starts in his future. I hope not, at least with the Twins.


  1. Just read that Trevor May has been demoted to the bullpen. Simply a short-sighted ignorant move. My disappointment with Ryan deepens.

  2. Whomever he would have picked for the BP would cause some of the many Assistant GM's in MN to be upset.

    But, what a luxury it must be to have a surplus of MLB quality arms.

    We do not know why he was picked. Does he need fewer innings? Etc?

    1. Quality arms? What pitching staff are you evaluating? May probably has the best arm on the staff and is the only pitcher with a relatively high ceiling. The experience he hets this year will benefit the team for 2017 and beyond when the team is ready to compete again. They are not a contender this year. . . .

  3. 1-2-3 runs allowed is way better than we have seen for awhile. I think impressive.