Taylor's Twins Talk

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

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Who Goes Down When Stewart Returns?

For about the first week after Jason Kubel was called up for the second time this season, after Shannon Stewart went on the disabled list, I would have guessed that Kubel was going to be headed right down to AAA when Stewart returned. Since that time, Kubel has started showing some flashes of being the player the Twins brass insist he's capable of being.

Stewart is eligible to come off the disabled list whenever he is healthy, so the obvious question becomes who the Twins will send down when that happens. There are several competitors for that dubious honor, some more obvious than others. Here are the names, as I see them:

Jason Kubel
I'll start with him since he was the most obvious right after the injury happened. I don't think he's going anywhere now. He's been getting a decent amount of playing time, and while there will be no place in the outfield for him when Stewart is back, there is a perfect place just begging for a player of his abilities: Designated Hitter.

Odds of being sent down: 50-1

Terry Tiffee
This is probably the most likely name now that Kubel has started to heat up. Tiffee hasn't done anything of note since being called up, and is starting to look like a guy who is a decent project but doesn't have the stuff to cut it at the big league level. As the last man called up, he also would seem to be the most expendable name. I see the Rochester Red Wings in his future.

Odds of being sent down: 2-1

Luis Rodriguez
The Twins have Nick Punto and Juan Castro platooning at short. Both have been playing well enough to warrant more playing time. Terry Tiffee can legitimately back up at 1B and 3B, while Rodriguez can handle 3B and SS, primarily. Without a true backup to Justin Morneau right now (except Michael Cuddyer, who when used at first has to play out of position, since he's established himself as the right fielder), Tiffee makes some sense to keep on the roster. Both Tiffee and Rodriguez are switch hitters, so they are pretty much equivelant there.

Odds of being sent down: 5-1

Rondell White
Lots of money was poured into signing White in the off-season. His struggles have been disheartening, considering that Frank Thomas and Mike Piazza, the two other names that the Twins had at least some shot of landing, are both having better seasons (which wouldn't take much). White has clearly lost his job as the Twins starting DH, with Joe Mauer and Mike Redmond being used in that position the last two games, and White getting, at best, 1 start out of every 3 games over the last week or so. The question is whether the Twins are ready to declare the White signing a failure and cut their losses. I'm pretty sure that White wouldn't accept a trip to the minors, and I don't think the Twins would really find that to be useful. My guess is that White's tenure with the Twins is drawing to an end sooner rather than later, but I don't think it will be this soon.

Odds of being cut: 100-1

There ya have it...my money is on a plane ticket to Rochester for Terry Tiffee. Hopefully we'll see Stewart back on the active roster in a week or so.


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