Thursday, May 26, 2016

Buddy Boshers and the failed bullpen

Buddy Boshers had
an ERA of 1.42 with
Rochester when he
was called up.
The Twins went back to an eight-man bullpen Wednesday, adding indy-ball refugee Buddy Boshers. To make room on the 25-man roster, Darin Mastroianni went on the 15-day disabled list; to make room on the 40-man roster, Glen Perkins went on the 60-day disabled list.

Boshers is a 28-year-old lefty who got 15.1 major league innings back in 2013 with the Angels and walked eight in those innings. He spent seven seasons in the Angels system and pitched last year in the Atlantic League. He was a non-roster invitee in training camp, one of the pack of guys I categorize as: If  he pitches in Target Field, something went wrong.

Something went wrong is an understatement this Twins season, of course. That Boshers and Brandon Kintzler are in the bullpen is a symptom; that Perkins is out until nobody-knows-when is part of the cause.

The Twins were counting on a late-inning trio (or foursome) of Perkins, Kevin Jepsen, Trevor May and maybe Casey Fien. Perkins was ineffective before being sidelined, and May and Jepsen have essentially matching ERAs of 5.56 and 5.59 respectively. Fien has been waived twice, first by the Twins and then by the Dodgers.

Minnesota's most effective bullpen arms have been Fernando Abad and Michael Tonkin, neither of whom were expected to carry much of the burden coming into the season. Neither has managed to creep into game situation use, although there really haven't been many late leads or ties to protect.

Boshers got the call over J.T. Chargois presumably because (a) he reportedly has a June 15 opt-out in his contract and (b) he's left-handed. There's speculation that Abad and his 0.51 ERA might be spun off relatively soon, which would make more sense than signing him to a mult-year deal.

But Chargois has a chance to be a genuinely useful piece. That cannot be honestly said of most of the current bullpen.

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