Taylor's Twins Talk

Focusing on the Twins, with a few ramblings on other things that catch my attention

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Bye Bye Batista, Welcome Back Bartlett

The Twins decided to shake things up a little bit early tonight, designating third baseman Tony Batista for assignment and promoting Jason Bartlett from Rochester.

In a recent post, I suggested that the Twins weren't ready to turn over third base to the likes of Terry Tiffee, Luis Rodriguez, Juan Castro and Nick Punto. I was wrong, since the Star Tribune suggests that's exactly what's going to happen. The article also says that Jason Bartlett is going to become the Twins starting shortstop.

There are so many ramifications from this decision that I'm not sure where to begin. For starters, I'll suggest that in one of my previous musings I made the suggestion that shifting Juan Castro to third and giving Bartlett the shot at short might not be a bad idea. I still think that might be the end result of all of this. I don't think the "third basemen committee" will be stable, and I suspect that one of the four players currently making up the committee will establish themselves as the regular third baseman. Since I don't think Terry Tiffee is capable of winning that role, and since I don't think the Twins want to use Nick Punto in that capacity, I think it's most likely that Castro will be that guy.

There are also implications from this move for what will happen when Shannon Stewart and Ruben Sierra come off the disabled list. Stewart's ETA is Friday, when the Twins go to Pittsburgh. Sierra is expected to spend 8 days in AAA, and if everything goes well he will join the team when they return from Houston in the middle of next week. With Tony Batista gone, that means two other players will have to be sent down or cut in order to make room.

It's hard to see how Rondell White sticks with the team through these two roster moves. I didn't think the Twins would make a move yet, but there really isn't a choice anymore. He's not being used, and the Twins seem poised to make a push in the standings. Deadweight on the roster just won't cut it. Jason Kubel's grand slam tonight just underscores the fact that he's ready for prime time.

I stand by earlier statements that Terry Tiffee will be the other player sent down. Unless he takes advantage of his playing time over the next week and secures the starting third base job, I think he's the most likely to get sent down. However, there is another possibility. I haven't mentioned Lew Ford as being in danger of losing his job over the course of these posts, but his batting average is around .220, and the Twins will be adding two outfielders to the mix (sort of...Ruben Sierra really is a DH/PH type). I don't think the Twins want to send Ford down, but I think it is a distinct possibility.

Regardless of what the Twins decide to do, tonight's move kicks off the start of what should be a very interesting 10 days in the Twins organization.


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