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The Elusive Twins' 5th Starter Battle: It does not exist and it is not a bad thing...

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Originally published at The Tenth Inning Stretch
One of the most contested spots for the Twins, on paper, this Spring Training was going to be that of the 5th starter. The newly signed (or re-signed) Ricky Nolasco, Phil Hughes and Mike Pelfrey, in addition to holdover veteran Kevin Correia, had four spots, while the three out of option guys (Samuel Deduno, Scott Diamond and Vance Worley, in alphabetical order) were to battle for that fifth spot, maybe with the addition of first round draft pick Kyle Gibson and newly acquired once top prospect lefty Kris Johnson. Even opinions that maybe two of the later group might win spots and force a trade of Kevin Correia were mentioned.

That was on paper and theoretically. Here is what is happening in reality:

Ron Gardenhire had this to say about Samuel Deduno: "He's healthy. Coming out of the 'pen, whatever, I like the guy. I would love to have this guy on my staff". In other words, one of the no-options-left pitchers is all but destined for a bullpen position. In addition, here is the list of the pitchers who have started the Twins' games this spring (including the "B" and intrasquad games) :

2/27 (intrasquad) : Hughes
2/27 (intrasquad) : Correia
2/28 (Red Sox) : Pelfrey
3/1 (Red Sox) : Diamond
3/2 (Rays) : Nolasco
3/3 (Blue Jays) : Correia
3/3 (Pirates) : Worley
3/4 (Marlins) : Hughes
3/5 (Orioles) : Pelfrey
3/7 (Pirates - B game) : Correia
3/7 (Pirates) : Worley
3/8 (Blue Jays) : Hughes
3/9 (Phillies) : Pelfrey
3/11 (Rays) : Nolasco (today)

So other than the 3/1 game, Scott Diamond has been pitching in relief, like Samuel Deduno, Kyle Gibson, Kris Johnson et al., which means that if he makes the club, it will likely be as a reliever and the Twins all but handed the 5th starter job to Vance Worley. And this is not a bad thing necessarily because he is the youngest of all 3 pitchers with no options, has the highest upside and has had the most success in the majors.

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  1. Sconnie's Avatar
    On the flip side Vance Worley has the most value to other teams as a starter, and Deduno and Diamond are more likely to pass through waivers were they DFA'd.

    I'm ok with The Vanimal being the 5th starter because both Correia and Worley can be moved to make room for Prospects as the season goes on.

    I'm happy with Deduno in the pen as I don't see his success last season translating to sustained success as a starter. I think his effectiveness depends on being "wild" which will lead to more unearned runs with the high repetition of starting. Being in the bullpen allows Deduno to provide valuable outs and minimizes exposure.

    What value do you think Diamond has to the Twins or can return via trade? Would he pass through waivers?
  2. Thrylos's Avatar
    With teams like the Phillies likely having Jeff Manship as their 5th starter, Diamond has some value. He would have had more if he pitched better this spring.

    About moving Worley for prospects: He is the same age as Kyle Gibson, and 2 years older than Trevor May and Alex Meyer. He is not as old as Correia, for example.
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