Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Where is The Cavalry?

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For the umpteenth time this season, the Twins called up a player from Rochester, and that player immediately provided a boost to the Twins offense. Jason Tyner had six hits in his first twelve at-bats and drove in five runs, including the game-winning run in the bottom of the tenth inning on Saturday.

It’s a great story, but Tyner isn’t really a prospect, since prospects aren’t 29 years old. That doesn’t mean Tyner can’t be a major league player. His track record suggests that he would be a very capable fourth outfielder on most major league teams, especially if he can recapture some of that speed that produced 31 stolen bases with Tampa Bay in 2001.

A more significant question is whether he can be a major league starting centerfielder. It would behoove the Twins to get an answer to that question when Jason Kubel’s knees quit barking. Moving Tyner to center field would get Kubel back in the lineup, and give them a chance to evaluate whether Tyner can be their center fielder in 2007.

But Jason Tyner isn’t going to provide an extended offensive boost that the Twins will need in Hunter’s absence. That’s going to fall to the other weekend call-up, Rondell White. White was supposed to be a better hitter than Hunter before the season started, and had the history and stats to back that claim up. His season-long struggles were unforeseen, a mystery that may have been solved by the realization that his surgically repaired shoulder was still a concern.

The mystery was solved, but the problem still needed to be fixed. The Twins passed over White several times to give him the full twenty days he could squeeze out of his injury rehabilitation time in Rochester, but finally relented when Stewart was placed on the Disabled List. It isn’t clear from the minor league reports whether White has made the necessary adjustments to allow his shoulder to catch up with fastballs again, but the home run this weekend is an optimistic sign.

The Twins should certainly hope so. Their cupboard at the minor league level is nearly bare, as seen by the recalls of Tyner and 27-year-old Josh Rabe. The Twins tentative position in the playoff race probably limits Terry Ryan’s desire to part with the prospects necessary for a big name at the trade deadline. Bounceback second halves by under-performing veterans, like White and Carlos Silva, will need to fuel any large leap in performance.

On The Hill

Tampa Bay: Jae Seo (2-7, 5.07 ERA)

- 2005: 8-2, 90.1 IP, 59 K, 2.59 ERA
- 2006: 87 IP, 93 H, 57 K, 34 BB, 16 HR
- Just acquired a couple of weeks ago in a trade with the Dodgers. He’s pitched much better in his three starts with the Rays.
- Can struggle with control. Prior to this year, he was with the Mets where he was effective without great stuff. It may take awhile for the AL to catch up with him.

Minnesota: Brad Radke (7-7, 4.97 ERA)

- 2005: 9-12, 201.2 IP, 117 K, 4.04 ERA
- 2006: 112.1 IP, 148 H, 60 K, 26 BB, 18 HR
- Relies primarily on an average fastball and a good changeup; also throws a curve.Why don’t you give up on a struggling veteran pitcher with an ERA over 7 in May? Because there is a reason he’s a veteran pitcher – he knows how to make adjustments. Radke’s adjustment has apparently been made. In June, Radke’s ERA was 2.09


Anonymous said...

This team needs to decide soon if they can contend. If so, they would need to trade somebody like Baker, Perkins, or Garza for a solid RHP and a CF.

(on KFAN today, somebody sugested trading Stewart and Loshe for Zito, like Billy Bean would be that stupid)

The fact is, Terry Ryan does not trade prospects durring the season. I can think of 3 trades he has made durring the playoff race over the last 5 years.
1) Bobby Kielty for Shannon Stewart- Kielty was young, but he had been in the show for parts of two years. His time was running out with the team.
2) Mark Readman for Todd Jones- the future all-star was traded for Jones after spending parts of at least three seasons with the team and had won 12 games the year before.
3) Doug Mientkiewicz for a bucket of spit and the promise of less funds spent on letters.

This team is not going to make a trade that is going to have a huge impact. Look for Loshe to go for a low level prospect.


aj26 said...

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Pino said...

John, I agree. While it is exciting to see call-ups perform like these have, you have to think about why they were in the minors to begin with. And the age of these guys is a cause for concern.

Further, we seem to have a bunch of pitching and should be able to leverage that. I have now began to wonder if GMs are similar to players, they are good at what they are good at. Is Terry Ryan only good at building a team that CAN NOT spend money and has to build within? Is he going to be able to make the moves that a GM with money (new stadium should give us money) needs to make to build a World Series contender?

We will see.

Anonymous said...

Should the Twins make Shae Hillebrand part of the Cavalry? Can he play some third base still and if so does it make sense to play him there and move Punto to the OF while we recover from the inury bug? Or, is he a Maniac who got himself cut from one of the best teams in baseball because the Jays didnt throw a parade for him when he adopted a kid and therefore, the Twins want nothing to do with him....

Thought I would fire an early Salvo in what I am sure will be a hot topic among fans...bloggers...etc...

Flummoxed said...

"White was supposed to be a better hitter than Hunter before the season started, and had the history and stats to back that claim up."

I'm not sure where everybody got the notion that Rondell was a great hitter. A comparison of stats shows that Torii, as frustrating as he can be, has had better home run and RBI years than Rondell's best years. 15-20 homers, 80 RBI is an okay hitter, not a savior.

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