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  • These Call-Ups Are a Downer

    With the Twins on pace to lose nearly 100 games for a second straight year, fans have to derive joy from the little things. In a season that was basically lost from the get-go, relative frivolities like the trade deadline, August waiver moves and September call-ups become focal points of interest.

    Unfortunately, the Twins have been extremely passive on all these fronts, to a degree that is highly disappointing for a rebuilding club. Their deadline activity amounted to trading Francisco Liriano for a pair of marginal prospects. Their most notable move in August involved dumping Danny Valencia for a 21-year-old A-baller. And their final September call-ups, announced earlier this week, were Luis Perdomo and Eduardo Escobar.

    In isolation, none of these things are necessarily inexcusable, but together they give the air of an organization that isn't very actively pushing toward the future, nor putting in much effort to provide entertainment to the fans who have stuck around through all this losing.

    I mean, at the end of the day, that's the point, right? Giving the people who buy tickets and tune in their televisions something worth watching?

    In a meaningless final month, would it really hurt the development of Aaron Hicks or Oswaldo Arcia to come up and take in the atmosphere of an MLB clubhouse, occasionally getting into a game and offering a glimpse of the promising future? Is there any legitimate reason not to take a look at Deolis Guerra, who will be out of options next year and still hasn't faced a major-league hitter?

    And how can a club that has constantly emphasized a "no scholarships" meritocracy wherein those who earn their shot are rewarded possibly justify promoting Luis Perdomo – a 28-year-old journeyman signed during the offseason who issued seven walks in six innings with the Twins earlier this summer – over Anthony Slama, who has come up through Minnesota's system and dominated every level, including Triple-A this season where his 13.8 K/9 rate leads all of his International League peers?

    Perhaps the Twins have their developmental reasons for holding off on the likes of Hicks, Arcia and Guerra, but leaving Slama buried despite his phenomenal success defies reason. The organization has to be aware that fans are clamoring for the right-hander, and yet here in this joke of a season they won't let him throw a single pitch. When reporters ask about him all they can get are vague, anonymous quotes about how Slama "does not have good enough stuff to dominate in the big leagues." (As opposed to guys like Jim Hoey, Dusty Hughes and Jeff Gray, who were given plenty of leash in the majors despite their predictable struggles.)

    Unlike many fans, I'm not angry at the team for being in its current state. All franchises go through ups and downs, and the Twins were about due for a valley after a decade of winning and mostly favorable breaks.

    What really bothers me is that this organization can't back up its own rhetoric about earned opportunities, continues to weigh the opinions of its scouts too heavily against objective results, and – worst of all – won't level with the fans about questionable decision-making.

    We deserve better than that. Especially in a time like this.
    This article was originally published in blog: These Call-Ups Are a Downer started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 40 Comments
    1. Curt's Avatar
      Curt -
      Thanks for the article Nick. I agree with you. As far as Slama goes, what does a guy have to do? What kind of signal does it send to others in the organization? That results do not matter? I don't know if Slama would succeed at the top level but he has earned a shot. When I think of all the deadbeats (nice guys... family men, I'm sure) we have seen, I just do not get it. Not giving Slama a change at the MLB level is an unfathomable oversight.
    1. mgraves's Avatar
      mgraves -
      Quote Originally Posted by nicksaviking View Post
      Can we add Cole De Vries to the list of pitchers lacking stuff? Just about every article written on the guy prefaces his accomplishments with a line about how he has gotten to the big leagues despite having absolutely no decent pitches.

      Perhaps his Minnesota roots are reason enough to overlook his lack of qualifications.
      He was called up in May and made three starts, going five innings each time, and then was sent down. Since he was called back up at the end of June he's made 12 starts, of which six of them have been quality starts. He strikes out more than six per nine (tops among current Twins starters). He has been inexplicably serviceable, but on a terrible team, he's one of the best options. That is why he's starting.
    1. DAM DC Twins Fans's Avatar
      DAM DC Twins Fans -
      Quote Originally Posted by phalvorson View Post
      I'll leave the pitching discussion to you guys for now...

      In the OF, I think Span is shut down for the season. He might make a token appearrance right before the end, just to show that he's healthy, so he can be used as trade bait in the off-season for starting pitching. I don't think that Morneau is going to be traded to make room for Parmalee, like everyone seems to assume. I think the Parmalee experiment right now in RF is what TR hopes to make the permanent solution, then Span is the one he really wants to trade. Revere moves to CF. Mastroianni (sp?) is the 4th OF next year. And that's how it stays, with Willingham in LF. I do, however, think that Morneau will be traded next season near the trade deadline, or allowed to leave at the end of 2013 for draft pick compensation. At that point, Mauer and Doumit and Parmalee will take turns rotating between 1B, RF, & Catcher (except Parmalee at the latter position, obviously). It's the ideal platoon scenario for TR, to save Mauer's knees and give everybody at-bats and playing time.
      Some good points...scary too if you are right...why not play Parmalee at 1B?? Why put him in RF when he is a natural at 1B?? Is Ryan going to shop Justin?? The Twins are OF heavy with Span, Revere, Josh (one of whom will go this season) Mastroanni (?sp), Doumit and Hicks, Benson etc. on the way. Yes call up Hicks and Arcia and give them a taste. Call up Dozier too--try the Florimon/Dozier DP combo. We should be building a team that will contend in 2014 starting right now.
    1. StormJH1's Avatar
      StormJH1 -
      I really hope the "cheapness" aspect doesn't play into it. I don't think there's a ton of evidence for that since the younger Pohlads took over. The payroll has hovered around the 10th to 15th range in MLB, despite the fact the team hasn't won a single playoff series since 2002. And it's such a nominal amount of money compared to running the overall operation.

      Question: Does calling up a Hicks or Arcia start up their service time clock for arbitration/future salary purposes? I know that's a big deal for calling up guys prior to May 1st or June 1st, but I haven't heard that being discussed for September call-ups.

      I don't understand what we're doing if we don't call up at least a few of those guys. Think about how differently Parmelee gets viewed in the offseason if he didn't have the opportunity to come up in September and hit like he did. Yes, he got off to a slow start this year, but now he looks to be every bit a part of our plans going forward. We need these guys SOON, not later, and I don't understand the downside to giving them a taste of what is expected of them later on.

      In the case of Guerra, why the heck not? The guy was in the Santana deal prior to the 2008 season, and still hasn't seen an inning of garbage time in the bigs heading into 2013.
    1. spycake's Avatar
      spycake -
      My Slama theory:

      The Twins plan to add him to the 40-man roster after the season and bring him to spring training next year (or else trade him).

      However, the same cannot be said for Perdomo, Vasquez, Waldrop, and Walters (and perhaps others).

      So, they figure it is best to use those guys in September to figure out who is getting cut, and let Slama rest. (The same theory can be applied to Guerra, more or less.)

      In regards to the one open spot on the 40-man roster, I suspect they want to keep some flexibility in case an interesting player comes across the waiver wire.

      Is this how I would approach things? Probably not. I would have called up Slama some time ago, I'm sure. But at this juncture, it's not a terrible strategy, considering how meaningless these September games are.

      If we expose him to the Rule 5 draft, or otherwise lose him for nothing or virtually nothing, then I will be first in line to complain. But I'm willing to give TR a little more benefit of the doubt yet.

      (One hole in my theory is why Manship wasn't recalled. Hopefully they are just waiting for the right moment to sneak him through waivers.)
    1. nokomismod's Avatar
      nokomismod -
      Quote Originally Posted by Shane Wahl View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by phalvorson View Post
      I'll leave the pitching discussion to you guys for now...

      In the OF, I think Span is shut down for the season. He might make a token appearrance right before the end, just to show that he's healthy, so he can be used as trade bait in the off-season for starting pitching. I don't think that Morneau is going to be traded to make room for Parmalee, like everyone seems to assume. I think the Parmalee experiment right now in RF is what TR hopes to make the permanent solution, then Span is the one he really wants to trade. Revere moves to CF. Mastroianni (sp?) is the 4th OF next year. And that's how it stays, with Willingham in LF. I do, however, think that Morneau will be traded next season near the trade deadline, or allowed to leave at the end of 2013 for draft pick compensation. At that point, Mauer and Doumit and Parmalee will take turns rotating between 1B, RF, & Catcher (except Parmalee at the latter position, obviously). It's the ideal platoon scenario for TR, to save Mauer's knees and give everybody at-bats and playing time.

      You are possibly very right, and that is distressing. That OF will be significantly below average. I just don't get it. Why not ship Morneau?
      I think the Twins have some good options this offseason due to Revere's emergence and Parmalee's potential. Span and/or Morneau can be dealt to acquire pitching. If Span is dealt, I think we would could see either Hicks or Arcia starting next season for the Twins.
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Quote Originally Posted by phalvorson View Post
      I think the Parmalee experiment right now in RF is what TR hopes to make the permanent solution
      As I understand it, Parmelee didn't play one inning in the outfield at Rochester. If RF is Ryan's hope (soap opera pun unintended but acknowledged ) for Parm, does he have no influence on the lineups in AAA?
    1. mikes_madness's Avatar
      mikes_madness -
      Pugh didnt have a good year last year but like you said that was his first year in the bullpen. look at his numbers prior to last year and his number in AA were outstanding this year. He should have had a promotion to AAA, but with New Britain being in the hunt for playoff's i understand that. Pugh was the go to guy this year in AA and got it done. I am a big fan and his work ethic. He should for sure be on the 40 man this season. I like Hicks dont get me wrong but he shouldnt be a September call up. This was his first season putting up good numbers. He didnt have good numbers before this season he had a very slow start and got dominated the first month in the fall league. He should be putting numbers up llike this year hes a first rounder and the Twins paid him enough to do so.
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Quote Originally Posted by spycake View Post
      In regards to the one open spot on the 40-man roster
      Tangentially, how can a last-place team have any issues at all managing their 40-man roster? Just sooooo many talented players, the other teams will scoop one right up if the Twins aren't careful?

      Indecisiveness, that's the reason. Morneau, will he or won't he return to previous levels? Span, can we squeeze just a bit more out of a trade? Middle infielders, so many flashy-glove no-stick players to choose from, better hang onto a bunch and see if one steps forward.

      Meanwhile, at least, the scouts and front-office can make up their minds about Slama not being able to translate AAA success to the majors.

      A forty-man roster is intended to be a bit of a headache for the "have" teams. Not the have-nots.
    1. Paul's Avatar
      Paul -
      I've seen the word "cheapness" used, a few times on this thread, to describe the Twins FO in their handling of the opportunity of Sept callups. I think the word "frugality" would be more accurate. I don't know exactly how the math shakes out but, it would be some where around an $80,000, + expenses, investment per man for a 1 month look.. Their fiduciary responsibility as managers dictates that they look at investments and judge their viability intelligently and act accordingly. No matter who you are... 90 grand is 90 grand.

      I agree with those that have commented that there is more to the Slama situation than we can see from our vantage point. It appears irresponsible based on what we know and can see. But reason tells us that that may not be the case, and there is an element, or elements, we are not privy to.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      I think the point is that these callups do nothing to male us hopeful about next year. Another year of no impacts coming up.
    1. Paul's Avatar
      Paul -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      I think the point is that these callups do nothing to male us hopeful about next year. Another year of no impacts coming up.
      Maybe the FO has this in mind. How would you feel if they brought up Slama, Hicks, Arcia and Dozier and they all proceeded to stumble around?
    1. Montecore's Avatar
      Montecore -
      Slama must not have laughed when Gardenhire kicked a cat or something. I wish him the best with a better organization.
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      This just stinks of another player getting Slowey'd. I guess well have a new description for it that rolls off the tongue a bit better.
    1. TiberTwins's Avatar
      TiberTwins -
      Slama is just a big headscatcher to me. I am sure that he beat up Toby and stole his lunch money in the minors. Toby cried to Gardy and Slama wouldn't give the money back despite Gardy calling Slama's parents.

      This is the quote of the thread! Totally right on the money. Somewhere Slama did (or didn't) do something that pissed off a person to keep him from being called up. Well spoken Clutterheart.
    1. USAFChief's Avatar
      USAFChief -
      Quote Originally Posted by Paul View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      I think the point is that these callups do nothing to male us hopeful about next year. Another year of no impacts coming up.
      Maybe the FO has this in mind. How would you feel if they brought up Slama, Hicks, Arcia and Dozier and they all proceeded to stumble around?
      The front office is afraid to have prospects around?
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      Guerra isn't going to be a great player and he hasn't earned anything. Let's not include him on the same level as Anthony Super Slama. LET THE KIDS PLAY!!!
    1. Paul's Avatar
      Paul -
      Quote Originally Posted by USAFChief View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Paul View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      I think the point is that these callups do nothing to male us hopeful about next year. Another year of no impacts coming up.
      Maybe the FO has this in mind. How would you feel if they brought up Slama, Hicks, Arcia and Dozier and they all proceeded to stumble around?
      The front office is afraid to have prospects around?
      What did I say to make you infer this?

      Based on my prior comment, I was trying to imply that the FO had analyzed the promotion of the guys the "fans' wanted called up and had judged the promotions to be an unsound investment. Specifically, that the guys would be so overmatched at the ML level that any uptick in fan spending, coupled with the modest furthering of the prospects' careers, would not offset the cash outlay.
    1. Rosterman's Avatar
      Rosterman -
      I just had a thought. Slama was on the 40-man in 2010 and 2011. If the Twins added him this year...they would eat up a year. Because of injury, Slama basically played himself,out of an early opportunity to join the bullpen, compared to some others (doesn't explain Guerra) that the Twins wish to make decisions on for next season (Manship, Waldrop and any number of free agents). But the Twins CAN add Slama to the 2013 40-man roster, and still have not just one, but two more seasons of up-and-downs options with the pitcher. So, like the decision on Hicks and others, they are waiting until they need to sort out the 40-man in November. Considering the number of guys on the bubble, this is a meeting I would love to be, when the time comes. It also allowed them to have a spot to do another Gray/Maloney/Vasquez/Florimon pickup in this final month of the season.
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Quote Originally Posted by Rosterman View Post
      I just had a thought. Slama was on the 40-man in 2010 and 2011. If the Twins added him this year...they would eat up a year. Because of injury, Slama basically played himself,out of an early opportunity to join the bullpen
      If that was the FO reasoning, wouldn't Terry Ryan probably just have said so, instead of the oblique remarks about the quality of his stuff?
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