Friday, August 8, 2014

Milone and the roster

Tommy Milone made his major league
debut with the Washington
Nationals in 2011, then was sent
to Oakland in the trade that brought
Gio Gonzalez to Washington.
Tommy Milone was acquired by the Twins more than a week ago and was assigned to Rochester. He started Tuesday there (seven innings, one run allowed, took the loss) and remains in Triple A.

Phil Mackey figures that by leaving Milone stashed in the minors another week, the Twins insured that he'll be under team control (ineligible for free agency) an additional year. That, Mackey says, excuses the delay in installing him in the major league rotation (and, by extension, messing around with the likes of Logan Darnell and Yohan Pino in the rotation instead).

I'm not so sure. Milone is unlikely to ever be of more value to the Twins as a pitcher (as opposed to his value as trade bait) than he is right now. By the time that extra year rolls around, Milone might be more rotation hindrance than help.

That's an assessment that assumes that the Twins by then will have a rotation of Kohl Stewart, Alex Meyer, Jose Berrios, Kyle Gibson and Lewis Thorpe. Or Trevor May. Or Ricky Nolasco at the end of his contract. Or Chih Wei Hu. Or Stephen Gonsalves. Or any of a number of current minor leaguers who have higher ceilings than Milone.

I'm not denigrating Milone. He's a capable mid- to-back-of-rotation starter right now, and the Twins have a current shortage of that. But that's the most he's going to be. Playing roster games to milk an extra arbitration year out of him doesn't make a lot of sense. He should be on the major league roster now. Play it straight and let the 2018 rotation take care of itself.


I posted the other day about the imposing stat line being put up at Cedar Rapids by Hu. Naturally he immediately proceeded to have his worst start as a Kernel (four innings, six runs, all earned). And now Hu is no longer undefeated.

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