Notes From Pohlad, Ryan & Manfred
Image courtesy of Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY SportsTotal Flexibility
The Twins payroll is in excess of $100M as the they enter the 2015 season, but if the team finds itself competitive, Pohlad would love to see them add players, even if it costs money. “That would be a great situation,” said Pohlad before today’s game, “and there would be total flexibility.”
Josmil Pinto Seeking Clearance
Twins GM Terry Ryan said that things continue to progress well for Josmil Pinto and he’ll seek clearance to return to game action. He will likely get acclimated in minor league games before joining the club. It doesn’t sound like his concussion will necessarily preclude him from making the opening day roster.
Brian Duensing Returns
Brian Duensing pitched in relief for the Twins today after leaving a game earlier this week when a comebacker hit him in the thigh. He threw 1.1 innings, got a strikeout and gave up no hits.
Whatever decisions Ryan and Molitor are making regarding the roster, Ryan claims they are “on the same page”. They met this morning and Ryan said of Molitor “He has opinions.” And then added, “So do I.”
Milone at Target Field
Ryan described Milone’s outing yesterday as “OK” but also thought that the smaller ballpark and wind hurt him a bit. He expects better results in Target Field. “He’s more oriented towards Target Field than some. It’s a nice big ballpark and he’ll have some of those fly balls that go and sometimes they’ll drop at the track,” said Ryan. “I think the ballpark benefited [Phil Hughes] and it will benefit Milone in whatever capacity we’re going to pitch him in.”
It might not be fair to look at last year’s stats, as Milone obviously struggled mightily after being traded from Oakland, but Target Field doesn’t appear to have done him any favors. Milone’s ERA in Target Field was 11.57 last year, the highest in any ballpark. The only place worse was Fenway – which yesterday’s jetBlue Ballpark essentially copies.
But Ryan’s point about Target Field keeping fly balls from becoming home runs appears true. Milone’s home run rate in Target Field was 0.9 HR/9, which was quite a bit lower than several other ballparks in which he pitched.
“None of Mr. Boras’s business.”
Commissioner Rob Manfred spoke to the media before yesterday’s game and was asked about Scott Boras’ criticism of the Cubs for not adding slugging prospect Chris Bryant to their roster. That move is widely perceived to be a financial one. By delaying adding Bryant to their roster for a few weeks, the Cubs delay his service clock from starting, meaning he’ll need to wait another whole year to become a free agent.
Manfred, not surprisingly, doesn’t think the Cubs are doing anything wrong. “I don’t think that the Cubs decision with respect to Chris Bryant is really any of Mr. Boras’s business,” replied Manfred. "I think the Cubs – I know the Cubs – will make decisions that are best for the long-term competitiveness of the club.”
An Answer From Outside?
I don’t want to make too much of this because Terry Ryan was specifically asked, but it is possible that some folks from the opening day roster are not yet in the Twins organization. Terry Ryan mentioned that Jason Repko and Hector Corrasco were both examples of players the Twins picked up late in spring training from other clubs. “Right now is about the time that things start to speed up,” said Ryan. “There hasn’t been much action yet. It’s going to start.”
If I was going to speculate on what the Twins would look for, it would be right-handed centerfielder who can hit southpaws. But Molitor did praise Shane Robinson in yesterday's postgame talk. He qualifies as a right-handed hitter and is good defensively. But he hasn't hit in the majors no matter which side he faced.