Wednesday, August 6, 2014

5 more moves I'd make to improve the Minnesota Twins

A couple months ago, I proposed a few moves that I thought the Twins should make to improve their team.  Of those five moves, the Twins completed 1.5.  It might be fun to try to top that 30% success rate in August.  I have five more moves that I feel would improve the Twins or at least create a better fit for a franchise that appears to still be rebuilding.  These aren't all moves that need to be made immediately, but should be considered as soon as they become reasonable and/or possible.

You'll notice a trend with my suggestions.  The Twins have work to do to make these moves.  That's kind of the job of the Front Office though.  I'm just a guy with Microsoft Word and access to the internet.

Move #1 - Find someone willing to take Kevin Correia for anything and promote Trevor May

This has kind of gone on long enough.  May isn't perfect and I don't think he projects to be anything more than a 4th starter (a valuable one though, read this).  However, he's done just about everything he can do at AAA.  Has he been inconsistent at times?  Sure.  Is he a young pitcher?  Yes.  There, inconsistency explained. 

Correia's two-year contract worked about as well as it possibly could have.  He's been serviceable for 53 starts and he's performed better than just about anyone expected.  He's also a free agent in about two months and very unlikely to return.  If the Twins can get a player who can fill a role in the Minors, they should take that player, call up May and start thinking about the future. 

Move #2 - Find someone willing to take Josh Willingham for anything and install Chris Parmelee and Oswaldo Arcia into the everyday lineup until the end of the season

Along those same lines, Josh Willingham needs to go.  I like Willingham.  He was excellent in 2012.  He...he seemed like a nice guy from 2013-2014.  Of course, he's also hit .212/.348/.383 while being that nice guy.  His trade market has evaporated and we can always argue later about whether or not he should have been traded after his big 2012 season.  The fact is, Willingham is not part of the future and he's clogging up the lineup/outfield.  He might net the Twins a prospect in return, but he might just be worth a million bucks or something. 

Oswaldo Arcia is definitely part of the future and he's starting to break out of his slump as well.  He needs to be cleared to start every day.  I also think that he's a better left fielder than right fielder, despite his arm being better suited for right.  If I'm right, moving Willingham opens left for Arcia and right field for Parmelee. 

I'm not a huge Parmelee fan, but I think just about everyone would be interested to see what he could do with two months of consistent at-bats.  I'm not sure he's ever gotten that kind of playing time over the course of the last three seasons.  Even if he flops, at least then the Twins know that they cannot rely on him as a stop-gap solution or bench option.  These are the kinds of things a team can figure out during a lost season. 

Move #3 - Find someone willing to take Jared Burton and promote Alex Meyer to the bullpen

Jared Burton, meet Kevin Correia and Josh Willingham.  It's the same situation as described before, so I won't go into it in too much detail.  Jared, you were good for a year, you're nice, we like you, but it's time.  There.  That conversation gets easier each time you have it. 

Adding Meyer to the bullpen might seem controversial, but there are very practical reasons why it makes sense.  First, Meyer has already exceeded his workload total from last year by about 40 innings.  He's also approaching his Minor League-high that he set in 2012. 

Second, he's got great stuff and would likely thrive in the bullpen.  Imagine seeing a 6'9" warrior throwing 100 MPH fastballs at your dome.  He'd be a lot of fun to watch, no doubt.  It's a temporary move, so drop your pitchfork.  Next season, he'd be in the Twins' rotation. 

Speaking of the Twins rotation, and third, the Twins rotation is pretty full.  With May being added (see above), Kyle Gibson, and Phil Hughes, three spots are taken.  Tommy Milone might be joining them at some point too.  Yohan Pino has done little to lose his spot, but Ricky Nolasco is coming back soon.  If Nolasco replaces Pino, there's nowhere to put Meyer.  If Nolasco has a setback, Pino has likely earned the right to keep his job, at least for now. 

Putting Meyer in the bullpen is a temporary move to get him some MLB experience while limiting his innings and unleashing his talent for the fans.  It's pretty win-win-win if you ask me.  Plus, lots of guys get their start in the Majors out of position.  For example...

Move #4 - Find more starts for Danny Santana at short

Of course, there does come a time when you have to start playing that player at their natural, and therefore best position.  Danny Santana has been fantastic this season.  He's more than exceeded his expectations and has done so while filling in at a position that he had played just 25 times in the Minors.  That said, he's a shortstop and shortstop is the most important position on the diamond.  If the Twins view Santana as part of the future, it should be at short. 

Everyone knows that I live and breathe the Eddie 400, but everyone needs a day off from time to time.  Santana is versatile, but Eduardo Escobar is more versatile (so long as he stays in the infield).  Escobar should coast to 400 plate appearances, and could use an occasional day off himself. 

With Escobar able to play short about half of the remaining games and fill in at second and third and rest in the others, Santana would be left with about 20-25 games at short.  He was still developing at that position, so those extra games could be very important.  It would be silly to harm Santana's development at short just because the Twins' roster is completely devoid of a good center field option (yes, including Jordan Schafer).  They'll just have to make it work, but not at Santana's expense.   

Move #5 - Find a way to get Josmil Pinto onto the MLB roster

I'm not offering any advice on this one.  I'm not the one who sent him to AAA because he was slumping while playing irregularly.  I'm not the one who values his defense more than his offense.  I'm not the one who jumped Kennys Vargas past AAA, effectively clogging the DH spot when Joe Mauer returns.  I'm not the one who extended a catcher having a career-year to block Pinto's chances at starting for 2015 and possibly 2016. 

All I know is that Pinto is still showing good plate discipline, power and promise with Rochester and I still firmly believe that he is one of the Twins' four or five best hitters right now.  Pinto will be 26 next season and he owns a 125 OPS+ in 241 MLB plate appearances.  He had a tough May and was injured in July, but he's healthy now and ready to come crush some baseballs.  As I pointed out many times before, this is a lost season.  It's time to see what all the kids can do.

For the record, I like Kennys Vargas and I'm glad he's on the roster, so let's not focus on that one part, please.

What do you think of my roster management?  Is it too much veteran-slashing?  Too much rookie-lusting?  If nothing else, it would be more exciting to watch a team with May, Meyer and Pinto than Correia, Burton and Eric Fryer.  Nothing against those guys, I'm sure they are very nice.

What moves would you make?  Would you hire me as your GM?  Will you hire me as your GM?  Sound off in the comments or send me a slideshow! 


  1. At this point in time, if another team will offer the Twins a bucket of sunflower seeds for Kevin Correia, that would be a decent haul for them.

    1. Yeah, nothing against him as a person or even as a pitcher (he's far exceeded my expectations), but every start he makes is one that a more promising pitcher does not make.

  2. Kevin Correia is gone. Josh Willingham is gone. Jared Burton, you're next!