Saturday, December 13, 2014

Time to get serious

The Twins announced Friday night that the Ervin Santana signing is official, so he passed his physical. Press conference this morning.

Also coming this morning, presumably, a player move to open a slot on the 40-man roster for the right-hander. The Twins have no shortage of marginal players on their 40-man roster, but it shouldn't be any secret what move will signal seriousness of purpose to me: Dumping Mike Pelfrey.

The story on the Twins website lists four candidates for the fifth starter job, and the first on the list is Pelfrey. (The others: Tommy Milone, Trevor May and Alex Meyer.) Rhett Bollinger may have ordered them by major league seniority or by salary, but naming Pelfrey first does mimic the order Terry Ryan used when listing candidates during a winter meetings interview.

And my reaction is: You cannot be serious. Saying Mike Pelfrey is a leading candidate for the starting rotation is letting the money talk.

Away back in 1987, when the Andy MacPhail-Tom Kelly regime was taking hold, the Twins made a trade late in spring training for Dan Gladden -- two minor leaguers for the outfielder.  Mickey Hatcher was the incumbent left fielder. He had a goofy persona and hit for average, but he had no power, little speed and no real defensive value. He also had a $750,000 contract, which was pretty fair coin in 1987 baseball.

The Twins released him and ate the contract. That was a move that told me: These guys are serious.

It's not a fully new regime now -- new manager, same GM. But canning Pelfrey would send a similar message as the 1987 canning of Hatcher: Merit will rule, not the contract.

I don't expect it to happen. I don't expect it this month. I don't expect it in spring training. Maybe in May. I don't expect it, because I don't think they're serious enough yet. Prove me wrong.

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