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Dallas Keuchel tracker

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No Closer, No Problem: Floodgates for Twins

Posted by Ted Schwerzler , 13 August 2018 · 1,469 views

minnesota twins alan busenitz trevor may john curtiss jake reed
The Minnesota Twins shipped their closer Fernando Rodney to the Oakland Athletics recently. Prior to his departure, he was the only pitcher on the roster to record a save. Over the weekend Trevor Hildenberger joined his graces picking up his first on the year, and second of his career. With no real closer in tow, it’s time for Paul Molitor to open the floodgates and utilize this opportunity.

Going into 2019 the expectation should be that the Twins can once again be competitive. The same core that was expected to be relied upon this season remains intact. If the offense rebounds to sufficient levels, while being supplemented with some outside talent, this collection is going to make waves in the AL Central. What does absolutely need to be addressed however is the relief core and status of the bullpen.

Coming into 2018, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine helped Minnesota’s skipper by supplementing the pen. Addison Reed, Zach Duke, and Rodney were all brought in to help turn around a collection that had underperformed the year prior. By acquiring two thirds of that group on one-year deals, the Twins were able to benefit from them either as pieces part of a playoff run, or assets to acquire more talent. This winter the front office will find themselves in a similar situation, again looking to stockpile that type of talent. Who they’ll be paired with remains up in the air, and that’s where the current opportunity presents itself.

It doesn’t much matter who racks up saves for Minnesota the rest of the way, but it’s integral for a host of arms to be showcased in high leverage situations. Trevor May has looked great since his promotion from Triple-A Rochester following his Tommy John rehab. Tyler Duffey has always seemed like a decent option at the back of a pen, and Taylor Rogers has been arguably the Twins best reliever this season. Trevor Hildenberger has slipped of late but is incredible when on, and Matt Magill has come out of nowhere this season to command much more work than he’s gotten.

Stopping with the names currently on the 25-man roster does little for me however. At 53-64 Rochester isn’t going to make the Triple-A postseason. Alan Busenitz, John Curtiss, Jake Reed, and Nick Anderson are all options worth exploring. Busenitz hasn’t ever gotten a chance to acclimate at the big-league level this season, while Curtiss has only experienced the majors in a very muted sense. Reed dealt with injuries that have delayed his debut, but his numbers have begged for an opportunity long enough. Anderson remains a flier that is worth experimenting with during this time of little consequence as well.

There’s no reason to suggest that Molitor be tasked with managing a bullpen full of fresh faces and demanded each of them record time in the 9th inning. Having this collection up on the big-league roster and called upon in late game situations does make a lot of sense however. Prioritizing the current big-league roster, and guys that will assuredly be relied upon next year is a must, but the more opportunities for new arms to be tested the better.

Minnesota found something solid in guys like Hildenberger and Rogers because they were given a chance to prove themselves. Rather than waiting to see if those opportunities present themselves in a fresh slate next season, now looks like as beneficial of a time as ever. There’s plenty of poor competition on the Twins schedule the rest of the way, and at this point the results don’t much matter. Seeing relief arms filter into the Target Field clubhouse at a very high rate the rest of the way would be something Minnesota fans should absolutely be on board with.

For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz

  • DocBauer and MN_ExPat like this

I don't know if the FO will bring some of these guys up? Would it do any good. Paul (it's always the 7th game of WS) Molitor likely wouldn't play them anyway. Not when you have Garver handy!

 Trevor Hindenberger, = new name fits

THIS! 100%!

What are we playing for at this point? Are we playing for the most wins we can get while finishing a very disappointing second? Or are we playing for the best 2019 we can build towards?

Sorry, but why in he'll is Gonsalves not getting his feet wet? (I know you were concentrating on the pen, but the reality is the same). Gonsalves has struggled, at least a bit, but always had the stuff and pitchability to learn and grow and make adjustments before performing well to damn well. So why isn't he being afforded the opportunity now to get his feet wet?

Unless the FO just has something against Busentiz, Reed and Curtiss, why wouldn't they be up ASAP over Belisle and mystery man Drake...as if they will suddenly fix his control issues and find something magical. Sorrym but thatnis short sighted and downright assanine.

The absolutely worst thing that could happen is you find another Hildenberger.

I have argued time and again that May should be auditioned as a SP still based on potential, experience being one previously, and what he flashed in 2015 and ST 2017 before his elbow broke down. And maybe he should be still. But he actually went to management thjs season and told them, while in recovery, that be felt he was better serving himself, and the team, by pitching out of the pen. At least for now. And after a couple rough appearances, he was lights out in Rochester and has looked great in the Twins pen thus far. HINT...maybe this is his calling!

I have no agenda with Molitor or the FO at this time. But if we don't spend the next month and a half looking at these arms before the off season hits, I will have a major issue.

I think some players are not being called up because their situation with the Twins is firm and we will be seeing them in time. Others are more unknown and this is a great time to begin evaluating them before we have to begin trimming the 40 man roster this winter.