Thursday, August 31, 2006

Get To Know: September callups

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Minnesota Twins acquire Phil Nevin (RH-1B) from the Chicago Cubs for a Player To Be Named Later (PTBNL)
Minnesota Twins announce they will call up Scott Baker (RHP), Chris Heintz (RH-C) and Alexi Casilla (2B-SH)

As is often the case, one of these moves is going to get most of the attention, and it's the wrong one. Nevin is a good clubhouse guy who is limited defensively, supposedly can provide a productive right-handed bat as a designated hitter, but is hitting just .214 in the American Lea -- hold it, don't we have one of those already?

So why would the Twins go out and acquire another Rondell White? Well, most importantly, the price was probably right. But having Nevin also means there is a right-handed bat with some pop on the bench, whether White or Nevin is the designated hitter.

That's of value for two reasons. First, while we love the Piranhas, there are times you might want to replace one with someone who can go yard. Secondly, with Luis Castillo hurt, Luis Rodriguez will likely be pressed into duty at third base, and he's really only of use on the left side of the plate. White or Nevin can replace him late in a game for a high value at-bat, and then the Twins will play, well, umm, someone probably. Cuddy, better warm up that glove...

The bigger story is the recall of Scott Baker. A couple of days ago, we detailed why including him in the rotation should inspire some hope, but I'll list one more reason why this is a good idea; the Twins need to sort through some of these guys for 2007. Next year, they're losing Brad Radke, they'll have a four million option on Carlos Silva, and they'll likely be wondering if they can count on Francisco Liriano. That sounds a lot like a recipe for doing something silly, like picking up Silva's option, or committing money toward some Hell(ing) - ish contracts. It would be nice to know if they can count on an in-house option.

Baseball wonks may make a big deal about calling up Chris Heintz, because that will supposedly allow Joe Mauer to DH more, but it's a move that's about two months too late. I'd love to talk about how this allows the Twins to significantly upgrade the DH spot with Mauer because Jason Kubel has been so horrific lately, but Mauer has been equally horrific. Besides, right now, when Mauer isn't catching, he needs to heal.

And finally we get to Alexi Casilla, who I readily admit, I'm WAY to excited about. Casilla hit around .300 from both side of the plate, drew just about as many walks as strikeouts, and stole 50 bases in 60 attempts. OK, it was between High A and Double A ball. What can I say? I'm a sucker for speed freaks.

That's it for this week. We'll see you on Monday.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Cuddy will stay in left. When they pinch hit for L-Rod Casilla will come in to play second and Punto will move to third.

Speaking of L-Rod is Rod Carew available to have the same conversation with him that he had with punto in spring training?

TheBentKangaroo said...

Mauer as bad as Kubel lately? Hogwash.

Twins Territory said...

I think I mentioned Casilla in one of my posts earlier this year. (as a possible callup)

Like you, I have been excited for him to be called up, more so for the 50 SB's he has.

Also Romero has an ERA of over 7. That looks like an awesome trade so far.

Walter Hanson said...

Hey I think the more important call ups and accusations are Nevin and Casilla.

With Nevin we can give Justin a day off or in a rout take Justin out for a few innings. Or maybe just as important if Justin gets on for Gardy to have the flexbility to bring in a pinch runner situation. Without Tifee on the roster the 1B is Michael Cuddeyer and the Twins don't want to disrupt Michael by making play a position other than right right now.

As for Castilla a good baserunning threat in case Luis gets hurt to be at the top of the order not to mention give Luis a day off. Does he play shortstop to give Jason a day or two off to keep him sharp.

As for Mauer okay the average has been dropping, but he's going through a stretch where every hard hit ball is with in reach of a defender. The difference between a .250 hitter and .350 is every twenty bats two hits. I'm not really worried about Mauer. The third catcher gives Gardy the flexibility on the days that he makes Mauer the DH to pinch hit let alone pinch run for Redmond in a key situation.

The calls up on a team that has to scratch for a run to win games could be the difference for a couple of wins in September.

Walter Hanson

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