Rincon's Final Game?
I will say that it seems likely that Juan Rincon pitched in his last game as a Twin today. The pressure has been building for some time to dump Rincon, and the anger of the fans has been building outing by outing. Rather than rising to the pressure, Rincon has completely folded. Whatever the Twins motivation in sticking with 13 pitchers (one of the worst roster management decisions that I can recall, and the first time that a move made by Bill Smith has caused me to shake my head), it has been proven to be a mistake. The Twins could put Bert Blyleven back on the roster and have him be more effective than Rincon.
On the positive side, the Twins seem ready to make a move. Ron Gardenhire, noting that his team has to play National League ball next weekend, has been strongly advocating for the addition of another position player. Bill Smith has played his cards closer to his vest, but it seems like reality is starting to set in on that front as well. I would guess that, possibly as early as tomorrow, the Twins could make a move.
The big question here is who will be called up to replace him. It seems clear that it will be an infielder, since right now the Twins only have 5 infielders on the roster, giving them a chance to make just one move per game involving an infielder. Sadly, there aren't a lot of options in Rochester. Howie Clark, just recently removed from the roster, would possibly have been a leading candidate, but he appears to have been injured and likely is unavailable. That would seem to make Brian Buscher the most likely to be called up, but of course he's mostly a third baseman and doesn't give the team as much flexibility as they might like. Chris Basak and Sergio Santos can both play at short, but neither are particularly dynamic players and likely would be on the roster to provide defensive replacements late in a game if a move had been made.
The Twins could always reach down to AA New Britain to call up a player, but Luke Hughes is once again hurting and Trevor Plouffe has cooled down significantly of late, and is also not really considered to be anywhere near ready for the big leagues. That makes the addition of either of them to the roster quite unlikely.
All of this at least makes it understandable (albeit still wrong) that the Twins would go with 13 pitchers rather than calling up another infielder up to this point. With all the injuries, there wasn't an obvious helpful callup to make. Recapping previous arguments, they also didn't want to lose any of the pitchers on the team, and with all of the struggling pitchers out of options there was no guarantee that anybody could be sent down. Also, with 40 games in 41 days and with the starting rotation struggling (which obviously is still true), carrying extra pitchers has certain advantages.
Nonetheless, reality can no longer be ignored. Juan Rincon is not benefiting the team in any way, and the team needs to cut him loose. I expect to see Brian Buscher in a Twins uniform in time for Tuesday's game in Cleveland.
Labels: Active Roster