Come Again?

The Twins have been so secretive about their offseason plans, it appears that they forgot to announce a small but significant transaction. I am pleased to announce that RHP Bobby Keppel has been released. A while back, I mentioned how the bullpen picture for the Twins was rather clouded, and the sale of Juan Morillo to the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles in Japan shortly after his addition to the 40-man roster* cleared it up a bit. Now, Boof Bonser has been traded to Boston and Keppel’s release simplifies everything even more. In that previous post, I listed the possibilities for the bullpen (although I accidentally forgot to include Keppel), so here is the updated list.

* Apparently the only reason Morillo was added to the 40-man roster was so the Twins could take advantage of a rule for players that switch from MLB to NPB. If they’re not on a 40-man roster, they can be signed as if they were a free agent. If they are on a 40-man roster, the NPB team must pay the MLB team an amount of money before signing that player to a contract.

Guaranteed:

Joe Nathan, Jose Mijares, Matt Guerrier, Jesse Crain, Jon Rauch, Pat Neshek

On the Bubble:

Francisco Liriano, LOOGY, Glen Perkins

Long Shots:

Jeff Manship, Anthony Swarzak, Rob Delaney, Anthony Slama

Here’s the reasoning for my decisions:

Pat Neshek: I think he doesn’t have any options left but I’m unsure, so I would appreciate it if anyone could confirm this for me. If he does have an option, then I would shift him into the “On the Bubble” category, because the Twins may think that he’d be better off starting the season in the minors to rehab from Tommy John surgery.

Liriano, Perkins: Unless the Twins sign a starting pitcher (recently being linked to LHP Doug Davis*) or trade either player (since both have been linked in trade rumors), I see one of them being put in the rotation and the other goes to the bullpen.

* Please no. I’ll give my reasons in a later post, and I don’t even need sabermetrics for my argument. I might still use them, but they won’t be part of my primary argument.

LOOGY: Who knows who this will be. It might be Liriano/Perkins, maybe the Twins will sign a reliever, or maybe this will be Jose Mijares (although I think Gardy sees him more as a setup reliever for Joe Nathan).

Long shots: All of these guys have options, so I see them sticking in the minors to start the season. Delaney and Slama will likely get a shot at the majors at some point this year, while Swarzak and Manship are more likely to be called up to fill a spot in the rotation.

With the addition of Neshek to the Guaranteed list, that gives the Twins 6 pitchers for a possible 7 spots, since Gardy has shown the tendency to carry 12 pitchers with 5 of them being starters. Someone’s definitely going to be excluded from the team when the season starts.

According to MLB Trade Rumors, the Twins have offered a 1 year contract to Jarrod Washburn. I’m very displeased to hear this (about as displeased as I was when I found out the Twins were looking at Doug Davis) but I’ll save my analysis for a later post. Right now, I’m only going to focus on the events that may be caused. By signing someone like Washburn, the Twins add to their surplus of starting pitchers. Considering that he’s lefthanded, this likely makes Liriano and/or Perkins expendable to the team. Each has been linked to other teams (Liriano to the Mariners for 2B Jose Lopez and Perkins to the Padres for 3B Kevin Kouzmanoff) so the addition of a starting pitcher theoretically encourages the Twins to trade one of these guys. Then whoever stays with the team of these two is likely guaranteed the last spot in the bullpen, unless the Twins are content with trading both of them, making the claim that Nick Punto will be a starter in 2010 untrue.

Who knows what will happen? All I can say is that the Twins and Bill Smith are finally waking up from hibernation.

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8 Responses to “Come Again?”

  1. Jack Steal Says:

    Andrew,

    Washburn is a good LH pitcher who throws a lot of innings and never seems to get hurt. You put Liriano in the bullpen and let him build his confidence up and the young starters do not have as much pressure on them to. Remember what happened last season when we did not bring in a veteran to start the season and the rotation fell apart. Having two veterans in the middle or top of the rotation is smart thinking and provides great depth when someone goes down with a injury.

  2. Eric B. B. Says:

    If Neshek *doesn’t* have options left, it’s news to me. I’ve been of the understanding that he *does* have one more option year. (Unfortunately I have nothing more concrete than that.)

    If nothing else, I certainly hope he has one.

  3. Remove Keppel, Insert Condrey « Off The Mark Says:

    […] Off The Mark « Come Again? […]

  4. Josh Says:

    What part of Jarrod Washburn is actually good other than tossing a lot of innings and his handedness? Washburn had a hot couple months last year and as a flyball pitcher, was lucky enough to have arguably the best defensive outfield in recent memory behind him. There is no statistical data from the last five years that proves that Washburn is not only consistent, but worth more than a #5 rotation spot (which we have two other lefties who will pitch just as good if not better in Liriano and Duensing). Let’s also not forget the fact that he is coming off of a knee injury at age 35.

    If the Twins are to invest in a pitcher, he needs to be of Scott Baker or better quality.

    The idea of bringing in another veteran pitcher in the starting rotation doesn’t make much sense either. We already have Pavano there and Scott Baker is 28 with 109 starts. Nick Blackburn is 28 with 66 starts. When exactly do Baker and Blackburn qualify as veteran starters? When they’re 32 and past their peak?

    I’m tired of the Twins investing in old players past their glory days. Time and again we have tried this method only to fill their spot after ineffectiveness or injury with a youngster mid-year. It’s nice to hear the Twins are slightly active again, but sniffing around a mediocre pitcher is ridiculous when there are huge holes at 2nd and 3rd base.

  5. Josh Says:

    However, if they keep both Liriano and Perkins, I do like the possibility of one of them being in the bullpen in some capacity.

  6. Jack Steal Says:

    Josh,

    The problem with your argument is Liriano and Perkins won’t be in the major leagues in five years from now. They will be pumping gas at a Super America. They were both terrible last year when they were handed the opportunity to take over the staff and could not get the job done. So now after a good winter in the Dominican Republic Liriano is going to suddenly screw his head on straight. I want even mention Perkins because it might embarass you. It could happen but doubt it. I will put my money on a proven veteran every day of the week. Did we not learn anything from the disasterous first half of the season last year?? Yes, Washburn is way better than both of them right now.

  7. Jack Steal Says:

    Andrew,

    La Velle’s information is about as accurate as Archie Bunker!!

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