Monday, September 22, 2014

The "indispensable" Tommy Milone

Tommy Milone had
a cortisone shot in his
neck last week.
Tommy Milone last started for the Twins 20 days ago -- Sept. 2, when he yielded three runs in 3.2 innings in a 6-3 loss to the White Sox -- and there's no guarantee that he's going to pitch in this final week of the season.

Out of sight, out of mind: Milone is oft overlooked in chatter about the 2015 Twins, the forgotten veteran pitcher. Which is a bit of a mistake; Milone, despite his poor work since coming to Minnesota in exchange for Sam Fuld, still boasts a 32-23, 3.99 career mark at age 27, and that ought to get more respect than, let us say, 14-15, 5.08 (Kyle Gibson's career) or even 94-86, 4.47 (Ricky Nolasco).

Plus Milone is left-handed, and there aren't a lot of southpaws in the Twins' rotation mix.

Milone, it appears, is not forgotten in Oakland. A piece this weekend in the San Jose Mercury News trades the Athletics' second half collapse to the removal of Milone from the Oakland rotation:

In truth, it started to change the day Oakland sent Tommy Milone to the minor leagues July 5. Milone wasn't so much a casualty of the (Jeff) Samardzija acquisition but the accompanying Jason Hammel move that left no place for him. ...
The end result was that a strong clubhouse spirit was shattered. An integral part of the A's success from the point (Bob) Melvin took over as manager, Milone was on a 6-0, 2.62 ERA roll over 11 starts when he was tossed aside. Talking to a number of players that day about the logic of the left-hander being shipped out, there was a unanimous sentiment of disgust. The words "stinks" and "unfair" were uttered more than once.
I'm a bit dubious about that theory. Oh, I don't doubt that there was displeasure in the clubhouse about Milone's demotion. I just doubt that his absence caused All Stars Josh Donaldson and Brandon Moss to slump, caused Coco Crisp and Jed Lowrie to get hurt, caused what had been the most productive hitting attack in the league to fall into a massive slump.

I believe Milone can be a rotation asset for the Twins. I don't believe his loss caused the A's collapse.

1 comment:

  1. Points well taken - but half his Oakland starts were in a pitcher friendly park (or 2 given some were in Seattle :)). It is often said lefties develop later so we will see. But he did not impress in his short stint with the club this year.