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  • Twins Should Hit Waivers For Pitching Help

    After watching their lineup get decimated by injuries last season, the Twins were hoping they'd have better luck keeping position players healthy in the new campaign. So far, so good in that regard. There have been no broken bones, no bilateral leg weakness, no reemergence of concussion symptoms.

    Unfortunately, pitching has been a different story. The Twins lost Joel Zumaya, their projected top right-handed setup option, and Scott Baker, their potential No. 1 starter, before either threw a pitch in the regular season. Nick Blackburn will miss at least his next start due to shoulder soreness and Glen Perkins has been shut down temporarily due to a strained forearm.

    These injuries are especially unfortunate in that they are hitting players at the top of the depth chart rather than the bottom.Baker, Zumaya, Perkins and Blackburn are established MLB talents that the Twins were counting on to carry weight on a questionable staff. Attempting to fill holes with the same marginal pitchers who were rejected during spring training isn't likely to pay dividends.

    Instead, the Twins should take advantage of an opportunity afforded to them by their status as a retooling American League cellar-dweller.

    Up until the end of April, waiver claim priority is dictated by last year's records, meaning that the Twins get first dibs on any player waived by an AL club. At the beginning of May, the waiver order determinant flips over to this year's records, but the Twins should remain near the top of the list at that point unless they start rattling off wins over the next couple weeks.

    This is an auxiliary benefit of Minnesota's excessive losing in 2011 and early in 2012 that should not be overlooked. At this point in the season, many intriguing names tend to pass through the waiver wire as teams make early roster adjustments.

    There simply aren't many pitchers on the Twins' staff that Terry Ryan should be unwilling to expose to waivers if it means making room for a young hurler with some upside. Two such examples that have been discussed on the Twins Daily forum recently are Rich Thompson of the Angels and Michael Bowden of the Red Sox.

    Thompson, 27, is a right-hander who posted a 3.00 ERA and 9.33 K/9 rate for Los Angeles last year, though a decrease in velocity this spring contributed to his being designated for assignment. Bowden is only 25 and was a Baseball America Top 100 prospect in three consecutive seasons from 2007-09.

    These are just two examples of players with more ability than numerous members of Minnesota's current staff, and there are bound to be more hitting the wire in the coming weeks. The Twins certainly aren't in a position to be looking for short-term bullpen fixes, but if they can bring in a young player with a chance to fill a need for years to come, that would be a big win.
    This article was originally published in blog: Twins Should Hit Waivers For Pitching Help started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 32 Comments
    1. Steve Lein's Avatar
      Steve Lein -
      LaVelle says Liriano has been in the league long enough that he can reject an assignment to the minors (5 years of service time). Not exactly sure what happens if this were to be the case in this scenario, but I'm guessing it'd be like DFA-ing him - anyone know for sure?
    1. Highabove's Avatar
      Highabove -
      Quote Originally Posted by jmlease1 View Post
      That's garbage. Pohlads will spend if the baseball staff says it's worth it.
      The current makeup of the Bullpen shows that Jim Pohlad will not spend any more money. Before the Season started, Ryan stated that the Bullpen scares him.
      Why didn't he spend some money and do something about it?
    1. sonofkenny's Avatar
      sonofkenny -
      The calls for a total rebuilding are off base...offensively I think the Twins have a solid core. Parmalee and Dozier will come up eventually to round things out...pitching is another story...

      But doing something out panic never works...if the right opportunity presented itself to get a guy that really could help I think the Pohlad's would pony up...until then they should work with what they have....
    1. Alex's Avatar
      Alex -
      Quote Originally Posted by DAM DC Twins Fans View Post
      Waiver wire--other teams cast offs are not the answer. Terry Ryan may be a great GM but other GMs are not dumb. If a pitcher is put on waivers there is a reason.

      Put Liriano in the pen. Put Hendricks and Swarzak at the top of the rotation and hope they develop. Then draft a good college pitcher this summer who has a chance to help us in 2013 or more importantly 2014. Bring up the kids (Dozier, Benson, etc) and let them grow here. That also means playing Parmalee at 1B regularly--not Morneau--Parmalee is the 1B of the future.

      The Twins are not going to be a contender until 2014 at best. Lets start building that team now.
      The Twins had (and I believe currently have) the 30th ranked staff in baseball. It's definitely possible that there are pitchers on much better teams that are out of options that would be be better than what the Twins have, even if it's just to add depth in case of more injuries.
    1. Nick Nelson's Avatar
      Nick Nelson -
      Quote Originally Posted by Alex View Post
      The Twins had (and I believe currently have) the 30th ranked staff in baseball. It's definitely possible that there are pitchers on much better teams that are out of options that would be be better than what the Twins have, even if it's just to add depth in case of more injuries.
      Exactly. Not every pickup has to be the one that turns around the franchise. The focus should be on improving your overall talent -- to whatever degree -- with each move. Incremental upgrades.
    1. darin617's Avatar
      darin617 -
      Quote Originally Posted by SirLoin View Post
      At this point, do you put Liriano in the bullpen and leave Swarzak in the rotation? Liriano could be an ok one inning guy. At this point, would they be any worse off with that setup?
      The only problem with the swap is do you really want to pitch Liriano in anything more than a mop up role. You want to bring a guy into a close game or a lead when he cannot throw strikes?
    1. darin617's Avatar
      darin617 -
      Quote Originally Posted by DAM DC Twins Fans View Post
      Waiver wire--other teams cast offs are not the answer. Terry Ryan may be a great GM but other GMs are not dumb. If a pitcher is put on waivers there is a reason.

      Put Liriano in the pen. Put Hendricks and Swarzak at the top of the rotation and hope they develop. Then draft a good college pitcher this summer who has a chance to help us in 2013 or more importantly 2014. Bring up the kids (Dozier, Benson, etc) and let them grow here. That also means playing Parmalee at 1B regularly--not Morneau--Parmalee is the 1B of the future.

      The Twins are not going to be a contender until 2014 at best. Lets start building that team now.
      Not always. Some teams need to free up a roster spot for a player who has no options left.
    1. Ultima Ratio's Avatar
      Ultima Ratio -
      Either of these two acquisitions would be most welcome, though I think we are going to have make a trade to get bullpen help worthy of the name. We desperately need a power/strike RH set up pitcher, though I've been please with Burton's outings thus far.
    1. Mchans24's Avatar
      Mchans24 -
      Now is not the time to bring a bunch of position players up from the minor leagues. Our lineup is actually really solid right now. We need Perkins to pitch like he did last year and Capps to have an outstanding year and we will be an average team within 10 games at the end of the year. While some of us might contend that we would rather see them tank it and get a better draft pick, Target Field is in its third season and they need to keep attendance up. Hope that Gibson, Wimmers, and the kid from Stanford are all close to MLB ready next year, because we have nobody ready to step into that rotation!! Is rich Harden with anyone yet? Big time arm that could be great trade bait at the deadline.
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mchans24 View Post
      Is rich Harden with anyone yet? Big time arm that could be great trade bait at the deadline.
      http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2012/0...12-season.html
      Rich Harden will miss the 2012 season while he recovers from a shoulder operation.
    1. Rosterman's Avatar
      Rosterman -
      You still have to get thru waivers and looks like Bowen is being offered out there for outfield help. If Clete Thomas had been waived after Ellsbury went down, Boston would've traded for him and the Twins wouldn't have gotten him, showing the timing in this process. And I vote for Liriano in the pen. If he doesn't like it, he pitches in a totally mop-up role. Right now, I see no one trading for him if they have to go to arbitration to even negotiate with him.
    1. gil4's Avatar
      gil4 -
      Quote Originally Posted by jmlease1 View Post
      That's garbage. Pohlads will spend if the baseball staff says it's worth it.
      Agree. Obviously, there are limits, but one thing the current payroll gives is flexibility.
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