Monday, August 24, 2015

The overworked bullpen

Today's off day is well-timed for the Twins bullpen. Trevor May and Kevin Jepsen pitched Sunday for the third day in a row, Glen Perkins worked an inning two days ahead of "schedule," Casey Fien had been ruled off limits and Tommy Milone, Friday's starter, wound up getting the save.

The rosters expand in about a week, and the bullpen can use some reinforcement. Blaine Boyer went on the disabled list 10 days ago and therefore isn't eligible to return yet, but he did some throwing during the weekend. My guess is that he will be activated sometime after Sept. 1.

Who else is likely? Jose Berrios isn't on the 40-man roster, and the addition of Neal Cotts filled the 40, so they'd have to make room for him. Ditto the Nick Burdi-Zach Jones-J.T. Chargois group of power arms lower in the system, none of whom have the results this year to match the scouting report.

On the 40, right-handers A.J. Achter and Michael Tonkin, each of whom has had some big-league time this year, are likely to come up, although Achter might have to wait a little bit because he was optioned to make room for Cotts. Alex Meyer's big arm is an intriguing possibility. And there are a couple of lefties, Logan Darnell or Aaron Thompson, who could either be called up or designated for assignment to make room for Barrios.

Boyer is somebody Paul Molitor would use in a game situation. I have my doubts about the others. I don't think there's a K-Rod circa 2003 in that bunch.

In terms of meaningful bullpen help, the Twins have the deadline trade for Kevin Jepsen, the shift of Trevor May from the rotation, and the addition of Cotts on waivers. That's not insignificant. It also may not be enough, but I don't know how likely it is that somebody else is going to slip far enough through waivers to reach the Twins.

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