• Sleeping on Slama

    After seeing the two starters who were supposed to serve as veteran leaders in the rotation exit after recording only 12 outs on successive nights, it's not hard to understand why the Twins have been carrying 13 pitchers on the roster for much of the year.

    What is hard to understand is why, with all these different relief slots, and with so many different guys being shuffled in and out, the Twins still haven't been able to find room for Anthony Slama on the major-league roster.

    Slama has clearly never been held in particularly high esteem by the organization, despite his dazzling numbers in the minors. He owns a lifetime 2.00 ERA and 1.08 WHIP, and he has averaged more than 10 strikeouts per nine innings at every single level, yet he's been mired in Triple-A for four years and at age 28 he has logged only seven MLB innings.

    The knocks against Slama are that his control isn't very good and he's weak against left-handed hitting. Those things both may be true, but neither precludes him from being a useful big-league reliever. His numbers in Triple-A are absurdly dominant. In 133 1/3 total innings for Rochester, he has registered a 2.36 ERA and 161-to-66 strikeout-to-walk ratio, yielding only 87 hits. This year, he has struck out 43 percent of the batters he's faced while posting a 0.59 ERA as the Red Wings' closer.

    Although he's been able to consistently overcome his flaws and decimate hitters at every level of the minors, the Twins simply do not seem to view him as a guy who can make an impact at the next level. Apparently, they're not alone. At the end of last season, Slama was removed from the 40-man roster and exposed to waivers. Nobody claimed him.

    I presumed at the time that both the decision to outright him and the lack of interest from even reliever-needy bottom feeders stemmed largely from elbow problems that ended his 2011 campaign in August. Yet this year, the side-arming righty has shown no ill effects from the injury he's been nearly unhittable.

    So at this point Slama is healthy, averaging almost two strikeouts per inning in Triple-A, and 28 years old. Oh, and there's an open spot on the 40-man roster. In this lost season, it's baffling that the Twins aren't interested in taking an extended look at what the guy can do against big-league hitters. If control is his biggest problem, why not make him a project for Rick Anderson? What is there to lose?

    Slama's stuff might not be especially great, but I have an exceedingly difficult time believing that a pitcher can overpower hitters to that degree at the highest level of the minor leagues and stand no chance of providing value in the majors. Give him a chance.
    This article was originally published in blog: Sleeping on Slama started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 31 Comments
    1. Bark's Lounge's Avatar
      Bark's Lounge -
      The Slama equation is perplexing to me. Maybe the Twins organization knows something we do not that is horrifying. Based upon performance - Slama should have been up with the big club a long time ago. I don't get it.
    1. glunn's Avatar
      glunn -
      Slama's MLB era is interesting -- 7.71 in his callup in 2010 (4 runs in 4.2 innings) and 0.00 in 2011 (0 runs in 2.1 innings).

      The failure to give him more of a chance seems inexplicable, yet it's odd that no one else claimed him when they had the chance. Maybe we should put together a PETITION to Terry Ryan. I wonder if anyone in the Twins organization reads this site.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Well clearly the "access" media need to question the organization. They have trotted out chumps instead of Slama the past two years+. There is no excuse for this.

      There is no way that this consistent performance in the minors doesn't translate to the majors. No way.
    1. Ultima Ratio's Avatar
      Ultima Ratio -
      This is a real head scratcher.
    1. Highabove's Avatar
      Highabove -
      Alex Burnett has a photo Album of Twins Coaches.
      Slama does not.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      No reason not to give him a shot. None.
    1. whydidnt's Avatar
      whydidnt -
      I think Nick's points are all very valid. I don't really understand why they have refused to give him a real shot at the major league level. Burnett seems to have returned to previous form his last few times out, and would seem like a likely guy to replace, but I think the Twins feel Burnett can be a 2 or 3 inning guy, where I don't think Slama is. So, who else would you replace in the pen right now? I don't think there's an obvious spot for him right now, and the Twins bullpen, well not stellar, hasn't really been the Twins biggest issue this year.
    1. prairiejack's Avatar
      prairiejack -
      One of many curious decisions. More and more it seems that players on the Twins major league roster have to fit into certain boxes for their position, and obviously Slama doesn't, no matter what his stats. Same reason Gardenhire will always prefer a shortstop who looks more like Nick Punto than J.J. Hardy. He doesn't know what to do with a player that doesn't fit "the Twins way." See also hard throwing pitcher. The list goes on....
    1. Big Daddy H's Avatar
      Big Daddy H -
      If for no other reason, it seems like Slama has given the Twins great value in the minors and deserves at least a fair chance to show his stuff. Especially when the starting staff's ERA is so laughable. I've been waiting to see Slama given an opportunity for 3 years.
    1. Big Daddy H's Avatar
      Big Daddy H -
      Maybe the Twins should read this stuff. I think they might learn something., especially their coaches. We can't just exchange players, we have to give the current players a reason to believe there is a new plan that has a good chance of succeeding, like speeding up the pitchers in their time between pitches. It worked great for Jim Kaat!!! If not that, something else.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      It is mind baffling that Slama is not up with the Twins. He was not even invited to Spring Training while a whole bunch of minor league free agents were invited. Totally crazy.

      Hard to get into Gardy's and Andy's brains, but I think that something that Gardy said when he was talking about Liriano the other day might shine some light on why these people have not given Slama a chance: He said something to the effect (paraphrasing) that if Liriano goes to the minors he will not improve because MiLB hitters are swing happy and they will swing all the time and he will dominate without having great stuff. I just wonder if that's what they think that Slama is doing. Nuts.
    1. gmarais66's Avatar
      gmarais66 -
      REALLY!?!? With all the problems plaguing the Twins this season, from poor hitting, terrible starting pitching, unexplainable mental errors, a lack of replacement talent in the upper levels of the minor leagues, you choose to complain about one marginal minor league relief pitcher, who you feel should be on the big league club? The bullpen has actually been one of the few bright spots for the Twins... Who would Slama replace? Would it really make an impact on what's happening with the team? It's like complaining about the brand of bubble gum the Twins are using...
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      gmarais66....so every article posted on this site should be about the stuff you list? That would be boring. They've ignored Slama's production for years. This article asks why. It is an interesting discussion. If you don't want to participate in it, why comment on it? there are plenty of other articles talking about what you want to discuss. I've never understand that phenomonan on the internet, complaining about a blog post. If you aren't interested in it, why not read something else and comment on that? I'm genuinely curious about this behavior, not in a mean way, in a curious way.
    1. cr9617's Avatar
      cr9617 -
      Apparantely, Slama doesn't quite fit the cute little cookie mold that all Twins players need to fit.
    1. gmarais66's Avatar
      gmarais66 -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      gmarais66....so every article posted on this site should be about the stuff you list? That would be boring. They've ignored Slama's production for years. This article asks why. It is an interesting discussion. If you don't want to participate in it, why comment on it? there are plenty of other articles talking about what you want to discuss. I've never understand that phenomonan on the internet, complaining about a blog post. If you aren't interested in it, why not read something else and comment on that? I'm genuinely curious about this behavior, not in a mean way, in a curious way.
      That's not what I'm saying at all... I'm asking why he's complaining about a marginal minor league pitcher not being called up to the big leauges... He really has no argument for why he should be called up at this point... There's no place for him on the roster and his addition is not going to make a lick of difference to how the team performs... What's the point?
    1. LaBombo's Avatar
      LaBombo -
      Quote Originally Posted by cr9617 View Post
      Apparantely, Slama doesn't quite fit the cute little cookie mold that all Twins players need to fit.
      He's not hitting enough bats. And at 28, his bat-hitting skills are unlikely to improve any time soon. He'll probably end up missing bats for several years in one of those foolish organizations who believe in pitchers getting hitters out that way.
    1. jimbo92107's Avatar
      jimbo92107 -
      At this point I see no reason not to give Slama an extended shot at relief pitcher. If the guy's gets hitters out, then who cares how he does it? Even knuckleballers get more chances than Anthony Slama.

      Call him up, give him a chance, and if he blows it, cut him. At least let the guy try his hand. If he fails, he can go try elsewhere. Saints need pitching... ;-)
    1. Nick Nelson's Avatar
      Nick Nelson -
      Quote Originally Posted by gmarais66 View Post
      Who would Slama replace? Would it really make an impact on what's happening with the team?
      Making an impact on what's happening is not really my concern. In my view, this season is already basically a lost cause. I'm more interested in identifying players who can help the team in the coming years, and this strikes me as a good opportunity to take an extended look at Slama. If he's bad, what is there to lose?
    1. Todd G's Avatar
      Todd G -
      It's pretty clear they don't want him to foul up our pennant run.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      gmarais66, just because the bullpen has been good doesn't mean it can't be improved. And Jeff Gray and Anthony Swarzak will implode soon.

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