Wednesday, November 7, 2012

When Plan B comes before Plan A

The Minnesota Twins have lined up their Plan B options for the starting rotation.

Plan A? That's another matter.

The Twins ended the 2012 season with a starting rotation of Scott Diamond, Sam Deduno, P.J. Walters, Liam Hendriks and Esmerling Vasquez. Cole De Vries would have been part of that group but for a broken rib.

Sam Deduno chose
to stay with the Twins.
Diamond is a certainty for the 2013 rotation. He's part of Plan A; none of the other five are.

Deduno, Walters and Vasquez were all cut loose in the weeks since the season ended -- and all three have agreed to return on minor-league deals. (De Vries and Hendriks remain on the 40-man roster.)

The return of the outrighted trio is noteworthy. Usually a pitcher who can't keep his spot on the 40-man roster goes off in search of another employer.

That these three opted to remain, and that the Twins are letting them remain in the system, tells us a few things:

  • They believe they got, and will get, a fair shake from the Twins;
  • They believe there's better opportunity with Minnesota than elsewhere;
  • The Twins don't see better alternatives pushing their way up to the higher levels of the the farm system.

I do not believe the Twins are re-signing them with intent to have been in the major league rotation. They are Plan B guys, fall-back options, rotation filler for Triple A who can step in for the big club if and when.

But for them to be Plan B, somebody else has to be Plan A. And that is the key to the Twins offseason, finding the pitchers who make De Vries, Hendriks, Walters, Vasquez and Deduno the Rochester rotation next spring.


  1. Rumors about Shields and Hellickson from the Rays. I can't see the Twins getting either without Span and a prospect. Any thoughts?

  2. Wrote about Shields as a trade target a couple of times. Hellickson is, I think, a bit less good than Shields but still considerably cheaper contractually. The Rays seem to me more likely to move Shields at $9M-plus.

    Either would help the Twins.