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Trevor May Future Closer

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 05:25 PM
Trevor May has the stuff to be the next great closer. After reading prior opinions for putting May back in the rotation I have to disagre...
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Article: Game Thread: Twins v Astros, 8/28 7:10pm CT

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 05:15 PM
It was a late flight from Florida to Minnesota as the Twins get ready for the battle of nobody thought we'd be here. Both the Astros and...
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Article: Nolasco Stuck In No Man's Land

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 05:12 PM
Yesterday I posed a question for readers about Trevor May, noting his spectacular numbers as a reliever and pondering whether the Twins s...
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The definition of "sunk cost" vs. "stunk cost...

Other Baseball Today, 05:12 PM
Okay, so this has been driving me nuts for a long time.   The ~$26m owed to Ricky Nolasco is not a sunk cost. Nor is the Ervin Santa...
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Houston series- does management blow it with poor roster...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 04:57 PM
I really can't figure out TR and our front office personal. Are they trying to set the Twins up to "go for it (wildcard)",or don't they r...
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Changing Focus: The Danny Valencia & Francisco Liriano Moves

At some (very depressing) point, as a season turns into an extended offseason, the focus needs to change. For the Twins, that change has been coming since the middle of last week. The turning point was tonight.

Attached Image: francisco-liriano-versus-yankees.jpg At some point, the focus changes from the team to the players. The moves become less about what the team needs, and more about what each player needs. It doesn’t necessarily mean coming down on one side or the other, but the balance changes. That balance changed tonight.

Tonight third baseman Danny Valencia was sent to AAA-Rochester and starting pitcher Francisco Liriano was sent to the bullpen. I like both moves, because I agree with the change in focus. [PRBREAK][/PRBREAK]

I don’t know if Valencia is ever going to be a competent starting third baseman in the majors. Nobody does. But I sure used to think so. This move isn’t a punishment – it’s a release. Valencia is hitting .198, 50 points lower than last year, which was 50 points lower than 2010. As bad as that is, that’s not the most alarming of his statistics. He’s also struck out 23 times in 96 AB – and walked just twice.

I don’t know what he needs, but he isn’t finding it here. I won’t argue with those suggesting that it’s foolish for a club to invest time in a 27-year-old’s career in AAA. But at this point, one needs to try things. Maybe AAA might reestablish Valencia’s confidence. With literally zero third base options in the Twins pipeline until at least 2014, why not try it?

Which is exactly the philosophy for the other big move. Liriano is moved to the bullpen to try and regain some …. well, name it what you will. Confidence? Mojo? Momentum? Or, if you're especially cynical: Equity? They all work. The Twins and Liriano have tried everything else, and short of demoting him (which I suspect he and his agent would resist) this is the last option.

If you’re of the opinion that Liriano needs to be traded for something valuable, I gotta think you like this move. Maybe Liriano can build some value. A decent reliever is valuable at the trade deadline. Even more so if he’s a southpaw. His value certainly can’t decrease.

As for the rest – meh. Matt Maloney was the odd man out with another lefty moving to the bullpen. That's unlucky for him. I like Darin Mastoianni as a infield/outfield utility guy, though his infield coverage is limited. One can argue whether he’s the best fit, but I’m getting weary of sweating where deck chairs should be moved. PJ Walters must have had the right mix of control, BABIP and veterany goodness to make him the default pick for the open rotation spot. That's not the way I would go, but I’m not nearly as close to this situation, and it's close to a tie. Whatever.

The bad news is that these look more and more like the moves of a last place team looking to the future. The good news is that is probably the correct philosophy to embrace. The focus is changing from the team to the individuals, and for both of these individuals, the change in focus looks to be wise.


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