Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Gee, Colon? Part Two (plus Vargas)

Monday morning's post questioned the logic of giving tonight's start to Bartolo Colon over Dillon Gee.

The Twins doubled down on that decision, right or wrong, after Monday's game:

Cutting Gee fits the timing of his opt-out. The Twins clearly decided he wasn't a solution. Presumably the opt-out forced this resolution to his status.

That gets Colon on the 40-man roster. To get him on the 25-man active roster required another move:

This is the second time in two weeks they've optioned Vargas out. The first try ended early when Joe Mauer went on the DL. But Mauer returned Friday, and on Sunday Vargas's defensive frailities -- or at least one of them -- showed when the Astros twice ran on him.

Normally the quality of a first baseman's arm is immaterial. Steve Garvey, to name one prominent example, couldn't throw and wouldn't throw if he could possibly avoid it, but he was an outstanding defensive first baseman. I don't know that I've ever seen a first baseman's arm disregarded so throughly as was Vargas' on Sunday.

The interesting thing is that Vargas shows up pretty well in the publicly available defensive metrics. Both versions of runs saved shown on Baseball Reference have him, on a per-inning basis, as outperforming Joe Mauer.

Small sample size, to be sure. Vargas is NOT better with the glove than Mauer. And that Paul Molitor chose to pinch-hit Eduardo Escobar for him Monday night should say something about how his bat is playing.

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