Friday, March 18, 2011

COPOP: Neshek and Manship

Jeff Manship: A long
man, or something
The biggest question remaining for the Twins 2011 bullpen is: Who is going to be the guy called upon to get a tough right-handed hitter out in the seventh inning?

The ninth figures to belong to Joe Nathan, the eighth to Matt Capps. (Or they can be reversed.) Jose Mijares is the top lefty-killer. But who gets the role Jesse Crain commanded so well in the second half of 2010?

There wasn't a lot of encouragement in Thursday's results. Jeff Manship started the game, went two innings, allowed a run. Joe Christensen's gamer trotted out the Matt Guerrier comp for Manship, which would seem to bode well -- until one recalls that it took Guerrier a couple of years to earn a prominent role in the Twins 'pen. Manship's not there yet.

Pat Neshek had a rough
outing Thursday.
Pat Neshek's the guy I've been projecting for that role, and certainly he was superb in it in 2006-07. But he gave up a pair of home runs Thursday, both to right-handers (Miguel Cabrera and Ryan Raburn). That's a big ugly.

Christensen's piece has Ron Gardenhire saying the displaced starter is not necessarily going to be limited to long relief: "Whoever it is, I'm going to use him in a lot of big situations." Color me skeptical of the notion that either Kevin Slowey or Scott Baker are in line for the job. This is a sprinter's job; Baker and Slowey have a starter's mindset.

Here's COPOP -- Current Outsider Projected Opening Pen:

Cl: Nathan
S1: Capps
L1: Mijares
S2/MR1: Baker
L2: Hughes
MR2: Perkins
LM: Manship

This one takes seriously the notion of the displaced starter called on for big outs; if that's the idea, Baker's probably the better fit. Manship gets the long man's role and both Dusty Hughes and Glen Perkins win jobs.

A trade's more likely.

1 comment:

  1. I feel like I'm missing something and I love Pat Neshek but I just don't feel he's got the "it" factor anymore after his surgery. I hate to say it but I really haven't seen anything post surgery that makes him such a shoe in (as the twins have suggested) for a bullpen job. I feel at this point there are many more viable candidates for the job...

    Also, what are your thoughts on the Mets cutting Castillo? Could you possibly see the Twins bringing him back at all?