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  • SP Depth Chart - 8/22

    The status and outlook of the rotation is bound to be the biggest storyline for the Twins down the stretch and into the offseason. Clearly, there is no unit on this roster in a greater state of flux.

    Scott Diamond Sits Atop The Pitching Depth ChartAs a new feature here on Twins Daily, we thought we'd start taking periodic glances at the starting pitching depth chart to provide a big-picture look at what the club currently has and what's in the pipeline. We'll post updates every few weeks, adjusting for performance swings, injuries and roster additions/subtractions.

    The top five guys are the ones currently in the Twins' rotation. After that, it gets a little subjective, but this is the pecking order as we see it. Feel free to voice your own opinion on these rankings, and on how far the team is from fielding a respectable rotation in 2013.

    1. Scott Diamond. The surprise of the year continues to excel. He's turned in five straight quality starts and posted a 2.95 ERA overall in 128 innings. How long can he sustain his success with one of the league's lowest strikeout rates?

    2. Sam Deduno. His "effectively wild" approach has held up thus far, as he's managed a 4-1 record and 3.33 ERA despite tallying more walks than strikeouts. Hard to expect that to continue, but right now he's got a pretty airtight case as the team's second-best starter.

    3. Brian Duensing. His extreme vulnerability against right-handed hitters makes him a far better option in the bullpen, but Duensing is a solid pitcher and he has quietly turned in a 3.77 ERA in four starts since rejoining the rotation at the end of July.

    4. Cole De Vries. A recent "sad but true" tweet from Patrick Reusse: "Every time Cole De Vries retires a big-league hitter I'm surprised." In spite of his lackluster stuff, the righty has decent peripherals and continues to squeak by. He turned in a solid outing against the punchless A's last night.

    5. Liam Hendriks. The rookie returns to the rotation on Wednesday night after Nick Blackburn's surprising DFA earlier this week. Hendriks hardly could have been worse during a couple earlier stints with the Twins, but has been nearly untouchable in Triple-A with 76 hits allowed in 106 innings. It will be interesting to see how he performs in this low-pressure late-season audition; he could rise fast on this list.

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    6. Anthony Swarzak. He's clearly better suited for his current relief role, but I have to believe Swarzak would be the first guy Ron Gardenhire would call upon if he needed another starter at this moment.

    7. Esmerling Vasquez. Like Deduno, Vasquez is an erratic right-hander in his late 20s who limits hits but hands out tons of walks. He probably deserves a chance but it's not clear the Twins are willing to deal with two such pitchers in the their rotation at once.

    8. Nick Blackburn. The club's decision to remove him not only from the 25-man roster but the 40-man roster is a sign that they've soured on him badly. Still, he's under contract for $5 million next year so if he shows signs of life in Triple-A he'll probably get another chance.

    9. Kyle Gibson. Recovering from Tommy John surgery, the former first-round pick has looked very sharp in 11 rehab outings between rookie ball and Single-A. He'll need to carry that to the upper levels before he's viewed as a legitimate option for the big-league rotation, but so far all signs are positive.

    10. Pedro Hernandez. Acquired in the Francisco Liriano trade, Hernandez is a classic Twins pitch-to-contact type and thus far he's allowed 23 hits in 15 innings for Rochester since coming over. He might get a glance in September just because, but he's got much to prove before entering the mix for next year. Plus, he left last night's game in Triple-A with an injury.
    This article was originally published in blog: SP Depth Chart - 8/22 started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 75 Comments
    1. Buck Nasty's Avatar
      Buck Nasty -
      Quote Originally Posted by birdwatcher View Post
      Buck Nasty, hope you're wrong on your prediction, that Ryan obtains only one starter, and a veteran innings eater at that. Acknowledging their history of making these kinds of economy moves, I remain hopeful for a change this off-season. Why? They have the money and the trade chips to acquire two #2-3 starters. Would Morneau plus a C prospect like a Pugh/Watts/Hauser/Summers get us such a starter? Maybe I'm being unrealistic. Am I also being unrealistic to think that Ryan will splurge a bit to land a quality FA starter instead of the next Marquis?

      If you can add two bona fide starters, sign Baker, insert Diamond and Gibson, then all these #5-6 starters we have can serve as placeholders and insurance. Not a pennant winner, but at least competitive for 2013.

      If Ryan does NOT bring in two #2-3 starters from outside the organization, count me in as pessimistic for 2013 and critical of Ryan for failing to make an essential and very doable move.

      Birdman - I agree with you that it would make sense to bring in a couple Free Agent guys to hold down two spots. Your guess is as good as mine, but I think they'll go for one higher quality guy vs. two Marquis types. Certainly a trade for a SP is a possibility and a great idea if we get equal or better value. I think they'll try a Rule V guy next year as well. Had Terry Doyle not had a terrible spring for us, he might be our #2 guy right now - lol. He's having a great year in AAA. I'm predicting moves like that vs. trades for big names. But it's just my opinion/guess. None of us knows what will actuall happen. Baker/Pavano/Blackburn might be in the picture too - but I personally don't think so.
    1. birdwatcher's Avatar
      birdwatcher -
      The last thing we need is more #5-6 starters. It's our one "surplus".
    1. twinsnorth49's Avatar
      twinsnorth49 -
      [/QUOTE]

      Birdman - I agree with you that it would make sense to bring in a couple Free Agent guys to hold down two spots. Your guess is as good as mine, but I think they'll go for one higher quality guy vs. two Marquis types. Certainly a trade for a SP is a possibility and a great idea if we get equal or better value. I think they'll try a Rule V guy next year as well. Had Terry Doyle not had a terrible spring for us, he might be our #2 guy right now - lol. He's having a great year in AAA. I'm predicting moves like that vs. trades for big names. But it's just my opinion/guess. None of us knows what will actuall happen. Baker/Pavano/Blackburn might be in the picture too - but I personally don't think so.[/QUOTE]

      Baker, sure, but the other two?.......................FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, NOOOOOO!!!!!!
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      The team should be looking at 2-3 starters. I could see getting one via trade, but they will have to go out and sign one decent one and go for one or two prove it deals with others. If they are relying on anything more than Diamond and one of Hendricks/Gibson, they are being foolish. Rookie pitchers rarely come out and do what Diamond is doing. You have to expect struggles, and at the same time be patient. Plus you have to account for the inevitable injuries that will hit them over the course of the season.
    1. Buck Nasty's Avatar
      Buck Nasty -
      Birdman - I agree with you that it would make sense to bring in a couple Free Agent guys to hold down two spots. Your guess is as good as mine, but I think they'll go for one higher quality guy vs. two Marquis types. Certainly a trade for a SP is a possibility and a great idea if we get equal or better value. I think they'll try a Rule V guy next year as well. Had Terry Doyle not had a terrible spring for us, he might be our #2 guy right now - lol. He's having a great year in AAA. I'm predicting moves like that vs. trades for big names. But it's just my opinion/guess. None of us knows what will actuall happen. Baker/Pavano/Blackburn might be in the picture too - but I personally don't think so.[/QUOTE]

      Baker, sure, but the other two?.......................FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, NOOOOOO!!!!!![/QUOTE]

      See - I think just the opposite. I don't see what good it would do them to sign Baker since he'd probably cost the most and hardly pitch next year. Blackburn is already on the payroll next year like it or not. IMO, if he does well at Rochester (7 innings 1 run last night) he'll be back like a bad rash. I'm not saying I'll like it. I'm just saying it's a possiblity. Pavano - like Baker would be expensive and health seems to be a concern so I don't see him coming back, but don't discount Gardy love for vets that battle.
    1. SweetOne69's Avatar
      SweetOne69 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Buck Nasty View Post

      See - I think just the opposite. I don't see what good it would do them to sign Baker since he'd probably cost the most and hardly pitch next year. Blackburn is already on the payroll next year like it or not. IMO, if he does well at Rochester (7 innings 1 run last night) he'll be back like a bad rash. I'm not saying I'll like it. I'm just saying it's a possiblity. Pavano - like Baker would be expensive and health seems to be a concern so I don't see him coming back, but don't discount Gardy love for vets that battle.
      While it true that Baker will miss at least half of next year, his guaranteed salary will reflect that. His salary for 2013 will be less than $3M and probably closer to $1M (plus incentives).

      If Pavano doesn't retire, he will get at least $5M next year.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      You really think you can sign Baker for $1MM? if so, absolutely do it, but I bet he gets more than that. No way I'd sign Pavano, no way. This team needs to go younger, imo.
    1. SweetOne69's Avatar
      SweetOne69 -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      You really think you can sign Baker for $1MM? if so, absolutely do it, but I bet he gets more than that. No way I'd sign Pavano, no way. This team needs to go younger, imo.

      $1M is probably low, $2M base is more realistic with 3-4M in incentives and a 2nd year option @ $9-10M.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by SweetOne69 View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      You really think you can sign Baker for $1MM? if so, absolutely do it, but I bet he gets more than that. No way I'd sign Pavano, no way. This team needs to go younger, imo.
      $1M is probably low, $2M base is more realistic with 3-4M in incentives and a 2nd year option @ $9-10M.
      I don't think Baker will get an option year. He'll want a single season deal with incentives to prove he can pitch again. Options also generally come with buyouts so no team is going to be eager to toss another ~$1m at a guy who may fall on his face in May of 2013.
    1. Buck Nasty's Avatar
      Buck Nasty -
      To expand on why I don't think signing Baker is a good idea....I don't think this team will be competing for a title next year. So, signing Baker for one year w/incentives is just throwing $ at another unknown along with the rest of the #5 type guys. You have to remember, this is the Twins. We're not going to get Stasburg. We're going to get back Joe Nathan 2011. In other words, even if Baker does pitch, there's just as good of a chance he'll have reduced velocity, command issues and probably only a handful of quality starts. Why not put that money towards healthy guy with a higher percentage chance to contribute meaningful innings?
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by Buck Nasty View Post
      To expand on why I don't think signing Baker is a good idea....I don't think this team will be competing for a title next year. So, signing Baker for one year w/incentives is just throwing $ at another unknown along with the rest of the #5 type guys. You have to remember, this is the Twins. We're not going to get Stasburg. We're going to get back Joe Nathan 2011. In other words, even if Baker does pitch, there's just as good of a chance he'll have reduced velocity, command issues and probably only a handful of quality starts. Why not put that money towards healthy guy with a higher percentage chance to contribute meaningful innings?
      Because the money they'll pay Baker is far less than what they'd have to pay a guy who isn't coming off a major injury. I'd rather see them go after a Sanchez/Marcum/Jackson guy and sign Baker than see them throw ~$15m at two middling guys.
    1. Buck Nasty's Avatar
      Buck Nasty -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Buck Nasty View Post
      To expand on why I don't think signing Baker is a good idea....I don't think this team will be competing for a title next year. So, signing Baker for one year w/incentives is just throwing $ at another unknown along with the rest of the #5 type guys. You have to remember, this is the Twins. We're not going to get Stasburg. We're going to get back Joe Nathan 2011. In other words, even if Baker does pitch, there's just as good of a chance he'll have reduced velocity, command issues and probably only a handful of quality starts. Why not put that money towards healthy guy with a higher percentage chance to contribute meaningful innings?
      Because the money they'll pay Baker is far less than what they'd have to pay a guy who isn't coming off a major injury. I'd rather see them go after a Sanchez/Marcum/Jackson guy and sign Baker than see them throw ~$15m at two middling guys.
      But it's not really "less money" if you don't get any type of return. It just becomes a needless expense (see Jason Marquis). I'd rather give that money/innings to someone who might be part of the long term plan. I don't think Baker is going to be motivated to give these guys any "home town discount" either.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by Buck Nasty View Post
      But it's not really "less money" if you don't get any type of return. It just becomes a needless expense (see Jason Marquis). I'd rather give that money/innings to someone who might be part of the long term plan. I don't think Baker is going to be motivated to give these guys any "home town discount" either.
      Well, the Twins have a need for at least two starters and probably have less than $20m (probably closer to $15m) to do it. You can either spend that money on two guys of somewhat equal talent or you can heavily favor one of those guys and give him $12-14m and then Baker a few million. That's my thinking.

      Baker isn't going to need to give a hometown discount. Given the pitching market this offseason, there aren't going to be many teams falling over themselves to pick him up. There are plenty of healthier options out there.
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      Quote Originally Posted by twinsnorth49 View Post
      I don't think it's insane to believe that adding 2 proven starters and relying on Diamond, Gibson, Hendriks and maybe Baker could get this team a lot of quality starts and chances to win games. As long as the Twins medical staff aren't the ones performing the surgery on Gibson and Baker, it's reasonable to expect recovery, Brett Anderson sure seemed fine the other night.
      As Brock points out - 15M is probably our most likely number for available funds - and 15M doesn't go very far in FA when you want to add even one good starter much less two. You can probably get one, but then the second one is Jason Marquis. We don't need to get into the "well they COULD spend more" - if they do, great, but let's face it - that isn't likely. So the idea that you can patch this list up with 15M and FA seems very implausible to me.

      And again, I don't think Span has nearly as much value as people think. Especially when you're shopping him for major league pitching.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
      And again, I don't think Span has nearly as much value as people think. Especially when you're shopping him for major league pitching.
      I'd be thrilled if they got some AA talent with decent upside personally. Given the derth of pitching in this organization, at the very list pick something up that can help in 2014.
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