Taylor's Twins Talk

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

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

From the World of D'OH!

By now, there's a good chance you've heard that the Twins have signed Livan Hernandez to a one year, $5 million deal. Don't get me wrong -- I see the potential upside in this deal. Hernandez is a much better pitcher than Ramon Ortiz or Sidney Ponson. He pitches a lot of innings. He's the kind of veteran mentor that the team was lacking after the departures of Johan Santana and Carlos Silva.

However, I am still incredibly dissatisfied with this signing, and will be almost regardless of how Hernandez pitches. My disappointment with the signing has nothing to do with Hernandez himself, but instead with the use of the roster. The Twins are not in a position to make it to the post-season this year. The starting pitching needs time to develop. Further, Livan Hernandez isn't going to change the Twins chances of making the post-season -- he's not likely to pitch better than some of the Twins younger options. Instead, he's going to succeed in putting up an ERA somewhere between 4.50 and 5.00, pitching 200+ innings that could have gone to younger players who need the Major League time to develop.

If this sounds a bit different than my position last year with Ortiz and Ponson, it's because circumstances have changed. Guys like Baker, Bonser, and Slowey are all a year older and all clearly belong at the big league level, as does Glen Perkins. Nick Blackburn, Brian Duensing, and Phil Humber could all use a little more time in AAA -- but with Francisco Liriano in the mix, the Twins already have more players ready for the big leagues than they have available spots on the roster. Livan Hernandez just messes that whole situation up, taking time away from deserving youngsters.

I could go on, but I don't think there's a need. I like the majority of what Bill Smith has done in his short tenure as Twins GM. This move, not so much.

One last note -- the Twins roster is full, which means someone will have to be removed from the roster in order to make room for Hernandez. My guess is that it will be OF Darnell McDonald, who doesn't really make sense on the roster anyway. I'll update this post once an announcement regarding the roster is made.

Labels:

9 Comments:

  • At Tue Feb 12, 02:57:00 PM , Blogger TT said...

    Instead, he's going to succeed in putting up an ERA somewhere between 4.50 and 5.00, pitching 200+ innings that could have gone to younger players who need the Major League time to develop.

    You don't give pitchers innings, innings pitched is a measure of how many outs they were able to get. Its unlikely any combination of young pitchers would get that many outs from last spot in the rotation. A good chunk of those outs would have had to come from the bullpen.

     
  • At Tue Feb 12, 03:18:00 PM , Blogger neckrolls said...

    I was predicting the final slot in the rotation would go to Zach Day - you knew Gardy was going to find a way to take a veteran to start the season. With the uncertainty surrounding the number of innings Liriano and Bonser can amass regularly, a proven innings-eater like Hernandez isn't a terrible idea in the short term. However, he needs to be traded over the summer when one of the AAA guys is definitely ready to move up.

    $5 million, though? Wow.

     
  • At Tue Feb 12, 05:51:00 PM , Blogger JST said...

    Fair points from both of you. To TT -- it's true that generally you don't "give" pitchers innings, but I'd rather see an extra guy in the bullpen (Perkins?) along with a young starter getting those innings. That said, maybe it's legitimate to pick up an innings-eater like Hernandez to avoid putting too much strain on the young arms.

    Neckrolls -- I shudder to think that Zach Day has any chance to make the big league roster. If the choice is between Day and Hernandez, give me Hernandez anyday.

     
  • At Tue Feb 12, 07:02:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Tom Verducci's excellent piece on SI.com details the risk of giving young pitchers too many innings. Turning the keys of the staff over to all young guys was a recipe for disaster--not only by increasing the potential for arm problems due to over-pitching, but also by wearing down the bullpen. This is a shrewd move by BS that will in no way retard the development of our young staff. Remember, Liriano and Perkins are both coming off injuries and cannot and should not be counted on as heavy-duty starters.

     
  • At Tue Feb 12, 07:17:00 PM , Blogger TT said...

    Remember, Liriano and Perkins are both coming off injuries and cannot and should not be counted on as heavy-duty starters.

    I am not sure I agree with this. I think both of them can likely throw 100 pitches each time out, which is what Twins starters generally are asked to do. How many outs they get ( i.e. innings) is a question of how efficiently they use those pitches.

    My guess is there is going to be no shortage of opportunities for innings by the bullpen. If there is, it will likely mean the Twins pitching is good enough for them to be in contention.

     
  • At Tue Feb 12, 09:13:00 PM , Anonymous TwinsTerritory said...

    The Twins could just put Mijares on the 60-day DL since he is out for a while...

     
  • At Tue Feb 12, 09:24:00 PM , Blogger JST said...

    Placing Mijares on the 60-Day DL is a good idea, but I don't know whether it will work. Players cannot be on the disabled list in the off-season, and I'm not sure when the season is considered to begin for this purpose -- although I doubt it has started yet. Once Hernandez's signing is made official, they'll have to make a move to accommodate him immediately. So, while I like the idea of transferring Mijares to the 60-Day, I don't think it works in this situation. We'll see.

     
  • At Tue Feb 12, 09:48:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    "If this sounds a bit different than my position last year with Ortiz and Ponson, it's because circumstances have changed."

    You were FOR those signings? I was against this one, but through a very corrupt use of the transitive property I think I now support it.

    In all seriousness I can't get too excited about this in either direction. Pro: PR for a team way under salary, innings eater to save the bullpen a bit. Con: Takes a rotation spot from a youngster.

     
  • At Tue Feb 12, 09:57:00 PM , Blogger JST said...

    Anon - I wasn't for the signings in a generic sense (i.e. if I was in charge of the team I wouldn't have made the signings), but I did defend them. I thought they were low risk, potentially medium reward signings that could have benefited the team had they worked out.

     

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home