Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Pino up, Deduno shifted, unknown move to come

Yohan Pino is to
start Thursday against
the White Sox.
It starts with Sam Deduno's string of poor starts. In his last four starts, he went a total of 16 innings, allowing 18 runs -- an ERA of 10.13. Since he's pretty much a marginal rotation guy anyway, there was no reason to stay the course with him. And the Twins announced Monday that he's returning to the bullpen.

What's interesting is who the Twins will pluck from Triple A to take his place: Minor-league journeyman Yohan Pino. I wrote about this earlier this month: The Twins have a flock of pitchers at Triple A who would make sense for a call up. A quick update:

  • Alex Meyer, their top pitching prospect, is 4-3, 3.62 in 64.2 innings while striking out more than 10 men per nine innings.
  • Trevor May is 7-4, 2.77 in 77.2 innings, striking out more than nine men per nine innings.
  • Logan Darnell has a 2.75 ERA in 11 starts with an 8.6/9 K rate.
  • Kris Johnson is 6-2, 2.60.

May, Darnell and Johnson are all on the 40-man roster. Meyer is not, and the Twins are probably going to limit his innings after an injury-shortened 2013. Darnell's rotation turn is Thursday, so he lined up with the first start Deduno isn't going to make. He would have been my choice to supplant Deduno.

Instead, the Twins selected Yohan Pino, a 30-year-old with more than 1,200 minor league innings and a fast ball that tops out in the upper 80s. Pino is best known, if known at all, as the guy the Twins sent to the Cleveland Indians in 2009 in the trade for Carl Pavano.

My issue with this choice is not that Pino is pitching poorly for Rochester. He's 9-1, 1.92, with 61 strikeouts in 61 innings and a wonderful 3.81 strikeouts for every walk he's surrendered.

It's that there is no future here. Meyer is an important piece of the future. May and Darnell might be. Pino is not.

But there's another aspect to this: How the Twins open the necessary roster spots for Pino. They need a spot on both the 40-man roster and the 25-man roster. They could get the first by moving Mike Pelfrey to the 60-day disabled list, but not the second.

The two most likely possibilities in my mind:

  • Designate Matt Guerrier for assignment and clear out the last of the Nostalgia Boys. Guerrier has a solid 2.81 ERA, but his supporting stats are considerably weaker. 
  • Designate Chris Parmelee for assignment and go with a 13-man pitching staff. Parmelee cleared waivers at the end of spring training, mashed at Triple A, got a new chance in the majors and ... is hitting .174. 

My guess is Guerrier gets the ax. But my guess would have been Darnell for the open rotation slot.

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