Just an observation.
There is a lot of debate over the value of Worley, one and a half quality seasons of MLB work, and Diamond, almost a full year of quality work, and their potential long term, and as rebound candidates.
But I do find it interesting that nobody includes Andrew Albers in any of the discussions. Now I know his stuff is pretty limited, and that he's already probably seen his 15 minutes or so of glory and fame, however, I do find it curious he's never mentioned. After his first couple of wonderful starts/moments of glory, he fell back to earth. Though he didn't pitch all that poorly in some of his remaining starts. Despite his limitations, I found his approach to be fun to watch. He worked quickly for the most part, he seemed to attack hitters, and he didn't seem intimidated. While his final numbers were helped out by his first couple of starts, his overall ERA was 4.05 with a 1.18 WHIP, slightly higher hits per inning, and a 3-1 strikeout to walk rate.
Again, just an observation.
That was a really good post above, Doc Bauer. I like your comment about the rotation, but I see a real parallel with Aaron Hicks. The thought is that if the young high-potential guy wins out, he then and only then should get the reps. Aaron Hicks needs to show he's ready to play in the majors and he will have to do that in Rochester, I think. I hope that he shows he's ready by sometime in May, but that is up to him. Best wishes to both Gibson and Hicks. The season is incredibly long and if both those guys are big contributors by midseason, we'll all have forgotten the guys who they displaced.
As for your earlier point about the offense, I just don't see enough upside bats in the lineup for an improvement to take place. I think Dozier comes down, Mauer/Pinto isn't likely to be as good as Mauer/Morneau (sad, I know), and most of the rest of the positions don't have a lot of growth room. Only a huge jump by Arcia seems plausible to me, but I worry that the Ks at the end of the year are going to force him to adjust in AAA for awhile this year.
I agree the rotation is going to be much better (I'm really bullish on Hughes personally) but I think the offense might actually be worse. Or marginally better at best. But hopefully some young guys surprise us.
Really interesting thread. While the nominal topic is Worley, it seems like "how will/should the #4/#5 spots in the Twins rotation shake out, especially given out-of-option type considerations?"
Here are a few points to add.
1) When all else is basically equal, the Twins usually side with out-of-options guys. Therefore, I would expect to see Worley, Deduno and Diamond on the roster in some form sooner than Gibson, even if he nothing to prove in AAA.
2)Presly had to be rostered all year last year as a Rule 5, and can be sent down with an option this year.
3)Trading from the bullpen makes a ton of sense...Swarzak might be an attractive chip. Perhaps a different thread could focus on a number of the bullpen guys...Duensing, Fien, Burton, Thielbar?
4)The biggest point of contention on this thread is Correia and whether he gets a scholarship/earned a rotation spot/is blocking guys with more upside. This proves the point that everyone made last year about the signing: WHY did he get two years?!? Would be in such a better situation if he, or anyone, was just signed for 2013.
5) That said, I am going to love seeing people's heads explode around here when TR announces the three-year, $17.5 million extension for Correia.
To a lesser extent, that is what guides my position on Diamond mad Worley. In the age of patient hitters, a pitcher needs at least one plus pitch to be successful long term. Control pitchers have trouble being consistent because hitters wait them out and clobber their mistakes.
So why was Correia successful last year? Some of it was the hitters' unfamiliarity. He dominated early and was mediocre the rest of the time. But he did adjust late, and that is what he has done throughout his career. His ability to make adjustments sets him apart from the other two. Can they make adjustments? Sure. But they have not shown it yet.
It's been an interesting discussion as there are valid points on both sides and it seems to come down to our own individual approach to how a baseball team should be built. The bottom line for me is that it is important for the team to get better immediately.
However I am worried they could be sacrificing long term value for marginal increase in success (depending on who you don't like: Hughes, Pelfrey, or Correia), even if I like the overall approach. We're not talking about an option here between Diamond and Anibal Sanchez.
If any of the pitchers -- that are now out of options -- we're talking about (Worley, Deduno, Diamond) could become solid #4 or #5, that has a lot of value at their contract level for multiple years. It's possible that they won't, but this is a season where it might be worth a couple of wins to leave room and give a couple of them a last shot.
For those looking at creative solutions, I hope you are correct, that the Twins will figure out a way to create some space and get something of value in return. I'm not as confident, but they did do it to some extent on the offensive side, where it looked like they were getting heavy with DH types, and it's similar in a lot of ways here.
What I think is this: Nolasco and Correia are basically locks for the rotation to begin the year, if healthy. Based on what they did last year and the money in Nolasco's case. Many of you seem to consider Hughes and Pelfrey locks as well, but I doubt if that is the case. Neither pitched well enough last year to earn that status. While they may have a leg up based on the money they will be earning, I think either could be forced to the bullpen to begin the year given the right set of circumstances.
If they are all on the roster at the beginning of spring training and healthy, I would expect Deduno, Diamond and Worley to be given reasonable chances to begin the year in the rotation. That could be possibly true of Gibson as well, but you can only stretch so many guys out during ST. Either Hughes or Pelfrey could be considered reasonable fits in the bullpen to begin the year, so if a couple of the above guys outperform them during ST, it wouldn't surprise me to see Hughes or Pelfrey in the bullpen to begin the year.
No matter what happens to begin the year, it is pretty likely that things will change as the season goes along. We all expect/hope that Gibson will force himself into the rotation early in the year. Depending on how things go, it wouldn't be surprising for Meyer to do the same. Certainly, whoever starts the year in the bullpen among the group of Deduno, Worley, Diamond, Hughes and Pelfrey could get moved back to the rotation pretty easily.
I realize that the financial committment to Hughes and to some degree Pelfrey, means that that the Twins view them as starters. But I expect that is long term. In the short term other considerations might enter in. I expect these two will have to "earn" starter jobs in spring training.
I assume really, that is the reason the Twins went for overkill in starters this year. So that if somebody struggles they have reasonable alternatives rather than resorting to Pedro Hernandez or P. J. Walter. So, yes, given the right set of circumstances I expect that if either Pelfrey or Hughes struggle even in ST, they might begin the year in the bullpen. I also expect the Twins would prefer them to start. So there would have to be clear differences in performance for them not to.
One further point about Hughes. He has been at best, a back of the rotation starter for 3 years now. He couldn't hold a rotation spot in a relatively weak Yankee rotation last year. The Twins know this. They signed him because of his "upside" and all the other reasons that have been talked about on this site. Still, if he doesn't deserve to be in the rotation at the beginning of the year, they won't put him there. They have choices, and they can still work with him in the bullpen and eventually move back to the rotation. I don't think the 3 year contract or the money should be a factor in that kind of decision. I rather expect that it won't be, either.
But I totally disagree with the idea that Diamond, Worley, Deduno, Gibson, Albers or anyone else has a prayer of beating out Hughes or Pelfrey for a spot in ST. I simply can't conceive of a scenario other than injury in which that happens.
The most important aspect of the organization tied to long term health is developing starting pitchers with service time.
Meyer and Gibson have the most upside. Gibson has shown he can get AAA hitters out. The Twins need to invest a spot in the starting rotation towards his development. They need to stick with him through the struggles as they did with Radke and Viola. Meyer needs to be in the rotation early in the season. Hughes and Nolasco are under contract long enough that the Twins need to stick with them through any struggle.
Of the remaining pitcher, Worley probably has the most upside looking forward through 2016.
An outline of a plan to try to develop starting pitching from within. This is not my prediction of what the Twins will do. I would assume Gardenhire will go with veterans with the contracts. I expect young pitchers will be shuttled back and forth to Rochester like Hendriks. Gardenhire is probably fighting for his job. HE may not be willing to invest innings in the struggles of young pitchers adjusting to major league hitting.
Nolasco, Hughes, Pelfrey, Correia, Gibson
Worley and Diamond are in pen. If Deduno has a good spring, he is in the rotation and Correia is in pen. This will create a log jam in pen. Perhaps an opportunity to trade Burton will occur. Duensing could be released. Thielbar and Fien have options. The upside of any potential starter must be retained.
Assuming moderate success in AAA, add Meyer. Correia to pen even if he has his typically strong April. If Deduno was there to start and pitches well, be willing to cut loose Pelfrey. If everyone is pitching well... When was the last time that happened? The only way Meyer shouldn't come up early is if Deduno and Pelfrey are both pitching well. In that case, start looking for a trade partner for Pelfrey.
There will be injuries during the season creating an opportunity for Worley and Diamond to re-establish themselves.
If at the end of the season one of Worley, Diamond and Deduno show that they can be counted on, it will be a success. Gibson and Meyer just need to show signs of hope and be allowed to work through the struggle of adjusting to major league pitching.
Mentioned in this thread is that Correia will at some point go to the pen even early on, somehow I do not think the manager will do that with him, anyone else out there think this way also?
The four free-agents will be in the rotation--and with a long leash. Tryouts for the fifth spot will be in Spring training. There likely will be some shuttling up/down between candidates--that have available options. Those without options will be waived, and likely claimed. There is a reason that players are only allowed three options. If a guy can't make it here in three trys--well it's time to move on, there are others who are earning their shot(s) too! If the Twins had set the performance bar higher for pitchers, there wouldn't be so much teeth-gnashing and shuffling--they would just conclude a guy wasn't good enough and move on.
I also think that the idea that Hughes represents some sort of great upside is overrated. In his best season as a starter he was a mid-rotation starter. I expect he has a better chance to reach that upside consistently in Minnesota than he did in New York. I am not so sure that upside is much greater than that of Worley or Deduno. The key for any of them is good health or durability and few, really none of the candidates have demonstrated that.
I am not so sure I understand the idea of filling the rotation with the highest "upside" guys and just leaving them there whether they are struggling or not. Let's put the guys into the rotation who are pitching the best and force the rest to earn their opportunities.