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What to do about Blackburn?

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#1 IdahoPilgrim

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 01:33 PM

I was at the game last night, and Blackburn struggled again - he was lucky to get through 5 and get a win (which shows how useless that statistic actually is). Unfortunately, that has been his tendency the last couple of years. So what do we do about him? Here's a radical idea that I admit up front probably has no chance of happening, but it got me thinking. Let's send him down to Rochester. I know he's making big bucks, but so is Nishi and look where he is (deservedly). And this is the last chance the Twins will have to do it - next year Blackburn will have over 5 years of service time and can't be sent to the minors without his consent. As I understand it, he does still have an option year remaining, so he wouldn't have to go through waivers. And we do still have Hendriks who can come up (and DeVries for that matter) to take his place. I just can't help but wonder if Blackburn has gotten too comfortable and used to being up here. Does he still truly appreciate what a privilege it is to play in the majors, even for a team like the Twins? Maybe he needs a good few months of bus trips and sub-par facilities to regain his motivation to make sure he is worthy of a spot on the roster. And it wouldn't be a bad message for others on the roster - perform or else; poor play will not be tolerated. Just a thought. Go ahead and flame me. I'll even bring the marshmallows:)

#2 ashburyjohn

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 01:55 PM

Let's send him down to Rochester.


I've been in favor of that for some time now. If some team claims him, the Twins are off the hook for the salary.

And we do still have Hendriks who can come up (and DeVries for that matter) to take his place.


Butera could take his place for all I care.

I don't think it's a matter of his being complacent or whatever; I just think he's lost what talent he had. Unless the coaches/scouts think the talent is retrievable, he needs to go.

#3 CDog

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 02:02 PM

I'll start by saying that I don't think he was all that bad last night (as in, much better than at times before his DL stint, which may be faint praise). He didn't exactly get stellar defense in the 4th when he gave up all his runs, and the two-run double was a bloop AND probably should have been caught. That said, he obviously hasn't been great this year, either. If Rochester would be a place to help him work some things out, I don't know. Where I'll ge out the lighter fluid and enjoy a sb'ore (see what I did there?) is the notion that he's too comfortable or that the hardships of minors vs. majors are at all related to any poor performance (or its cure). I don't buy that even a little bit.

#4 SwainZag

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 02:25 PM

He has 1 start since coming up from AAA after his DL stint and last night wasn't stellar, but like CDog said a lot of things didn't go his way. I also thought his pitches were being quite squeezed and he was obviously getting somewhat frustrated. If he can anyway grab his last year's form and be that 4.50 ERA starting pitcher I think it would suffice. Next year is the last year on his deal where he will make $5.5M and at this point are there any better options?

#5 Highabove

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 02:27 PM

Somewhere, there's a Home Run Derby looking for a Pitcher.

Edited by Highabove, 13 June 2012 - 02:59 PM.


#6 CDog

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 02:29 PM

He has 1 start since coming up from AAA after his DL stint


Last night was his 2nd, but I think the point was the same.

#7 IdahoPilgrim

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 07:18 PM

OK, I was probably being unfair when I questioned my motivation. Consider me contrite. I'm just trying to find an explanation for the drop-off in his performance. His first couple of years (2008-09) he pitched pretty well. Something has happened since we moved to the new ballpark (?) that caused him to drop sharply in effectiveness. I'd like to know what changed - if it wasn't his attitude it must be something else.

#8 snepp

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 07:42 PM

OK, I was probably being unfair when I questioned my motivation. Consider me contrite.

I'm just trying to find an explanation for the drop-off in his performance. His first couple of years (2008-09) he pitched pretty well. Something has happened since we moved to the new ballpark (?) that caused him to drop sharply in effectiveness. I'd like to know what changed - if it wasn't his attitude it must be something else.



Here's a start, his walk rate has doubled since those first two years.

#9 darin617

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 07:43 PM

Place him on waivers is one option. Or just send him down take him off 40 man roster along with Nishi and hope that some team wants to claim him and his contract. There is no way I would pay $5.5 million for 2013 when you can find better pitchers for that money.

#10 IdahoPilgrim

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 07:45 PM

Here's a start, his walk rate has doubled since those first two years.


Yes, but my question is - why?

#11 snepp

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 07:58 PM

Yes, but my question is - why?


Because his deal with the devil expired?

#12 Dilligaf69

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 08:06 PM

Place him on waivers is one option. Or just send him down take him off 40 man roster along with Nishi and hope that some team wants to claim him and his contract. There is no way I would pay $5.5 million for 2013 when you can find better pitchers for that money.



Why would they??? Twins are stuck with him and barring injury he'll be a back end of the rotation guy for another yr..

#13 IdahoPilgrim

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 08:10 PM

Unfortunately, with Walters getting pulled tonight and an MRI scheduled, it makes my initial question somewhat moot. He's not going anywhere, even if it might be best.

#14 cr9617

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 08:16 PM

OK, I was probably being unfair when I questioned my motivation. Consider me contrite.

I'm just trying to find an explanation for the drop-off in his performance. His first couple of years (2008-09) he pitched pretty well. Something has happened since we moved to the new ballpark (?) that caused him to drop sharply in effectiveness. I'd like to know what changed - if it wasn't his attitude it must be something else.


He was nerver all that good to begin with, and should never have been given a multiyear deal when they didn't need to. Has has 1 pitch, a sinking fastball....and on most nights, it doesn't sink.

#15 darin617

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 08:25 PM

Why would they??? Twins are stuck with him and barring injury he'll be a back end of the rotation guy for another yr..


Why would they keep him if some team would actually take him off their hands.

#16 glunn

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 10:31 PM

Unfortunately, with Walters getting pulled tonight and an MRI scheduled, it makes my initial question somewhat moot. He's not going anywhere, even if it might be best.


I believe that you are correct my friend. We can only hope that he can find the way back to being effective.

#17 Nick Nelson

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 12:34 AM

I'm just trying to find an explanation for the drop-off in his performance. His first couple of years (2008-09) he pitched pretty well. Something has happened since we moved to the new ballpark (?) that caused him to drop sharply in effectiveness. I'd like to know what changed - if it wasn't his attitude it must be something else.

I tend to think it's mostly been about injuries up until this point. Every spell of horrible performance in his MLB career until now has been followed up by arm surgery. I wrote about that over the winter: http://twinsfanatnic...ndervalued.html.

This year's struggles have been perplexing. Haven't heard about any health problems but his command has been uncharacteristically shoddy.

Unfortunately, right now the Twins don't really have any choice but to let him ride it out and hope for the best.

#18 Thrylos

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 07:45 AM

I'm just trying to find an explanation for the drop-off in his performance. His first couple of years (2008-09) he pitched pretty well. Something has happened since we moved to the new ballpark (?) that caused him to drop sharply in effectiveness. I'd like to know what changed - if it wasn't his attitude it must be something else.


He did not pitch pretty well. He always was a mediocre back of the rotation pitcher. In his best season, 2009, he led the AL in hits allowed. (and he had sub-average 1.37 WHIP and way sub-average 4.3 K/9) In 2010 his Hits/9 IP increased, he missed games because of injury, and the Twins rewarded him with an extension... at least he be gone after 2013. I think at this point, sticking him in the pen and using him in a relief role might get something from him.
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#19 Nick Nelson

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 10:53 AM

He did not pitch pretty well.

Then your standards are pretty ridiculous. In 08/09 Blackburn averaged 200 IP with a 106 ERA+. He was a solidly above-average innings-eater and without question the Twins' most valuable starter over that span. Granted, he was basically playing at the maximum end of his potential so there was little upside in buying out his team control years, but that shouldn't cause you to dismiss his success in the first two years of his career.

#20 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 11:31 AM

Then your standards are pretty ridiculous. In 08/09 Blackburn averaged 200 IP with a 106 ERA+. He was a solidly above-average innings-eater and without question the Twins' most valuable starter over that span. Granted, he was basically playing at the maximum end of his potential so there was little upside in buying out his team control years, but that shouldn't cause you to dismiss his success in the first two years of his career.


Yeah, you can't really fault Blackburn's first two seasons with the club. He never projected to be much of anything but performed very consistently for a soft-tosser. He was better than league average over that span. What more do you want out of a guy whose favorite phrases are "pitch to contact", "put sink on it", and "let the defense play"?

#21 sotafan

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 12:47 PM

Then your standards are pretty ridiculous. In 08/09 Blackburn averaged 200 IP with a 106 ERA+. He was a solidly above-average innings-eater and without question the Twins' most valuable starter over that span. Granted, he was basically playing at the maximum end of his potential so there was little upside in buying out his team control years, but that shouldn't cause you to dismiss his success in the first two years of his career.


In '09 he posted his best FIP @ 4.37. That is a C'mon Man!! This year it is at 5.66. Really!! The dude sucks and always has.

#22 Nick Nelson

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 01:07 PM

I'm less interested in his FIP and more interested in what he did on the field. He was very solid in 2008 and 2009 and a big reason those pitching-light teams were contenders.

#23 cr9617

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 01:22 PM

I'm less interested in his FIP and more interested in what he did on the field. He was very solid in 2008 and 2009 and a big reason those pitching-light teams were contenders.


You are a consistent apologist for Blackburn, and I don't know why. He was ordinary at his best, and terrible at his worst. Lately, as in his last 2 1/2 seasons, he's been at his worst.

It doesn't help that he's sort of the Poster Boy for their famous pitch to contact philosophy, which they were so proud of.

I just look forward to the day he's no longer wearing a Twins uniform.

#24 snepp

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 01:26 PM

In '09 he posted his best FIP @ 4.37. That is a C'mon Man!! This year it is at 5.66. Really!! The dude sucks and always has.


The league ERA for starters in 2009 was 4.62, his was over a half run lower. Even if his ERA had been closer to his FIP, he still would have been an above average starter.

He may be abysmal now, but he hasn't always "sucked."

#25 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 01:26 PM

In '09 he posted his best FIP @ 4.37. That is a C'mon Man!! This year it is at 5.66. Really!! The dude sucks and always has.


What's so bad about a 4.40 FIP when the guy never projected to be more than a back-of-the-rotation starter? The AL average FIP for those two seasons were 4.33 and 4.42. Nick Blackburn's FIP was roughly league average those two seasons. He got a little lucky and his performed at a slightly above average clip in ERA and other traditional stats.

I'll take that out of a back-of-the-rotation guy all day and never complain one bit.

#26 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 01:28 PM

You are a consistent apologist for Blackburn, and I don't know why.


I find that particularly funny because I seem to remember Nick howling about Blackburn's contract when he received it... Maybe I'm wrong but I don't think he was a fan of the deal at all (since there seemed to be no real point in making it in the first place).

#27 snepp

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 01:29 PM

You are a consistent apologist for Blackburn


Fighting conjecture and hyperbole with logic and reason doesn't make someone an apologist.

#28 Boom Boom

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 02:30 PM

Blackburn was modestly good from 08 to 09, but that sure seems like a long time ago. I'm not optimistic he's going to ever regain that form. Carlos Silva was pretty good for the Twins for a couple years, too...

#29 TrevorPlouffeFanFiction

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 02:31 PM

Sean Bergman > Nick Blackburn Seriously though, Blackburn is what he is, a capable (when healthy) #4/#5 type guy.

#30 peterb18

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 02:43 PM

He was nerver all that good to begin with, and should never have been given a multiyear deal when they didn't need to. Has has 1 pitch, a sinking fastball....and on most nights, it doesn't sink.


This is about as good of an explanation of Blackburn's troubles that I have seen. He just doesn't have enough quality to his pitches--not enough movement, not a real good fastball, terrible curveball, etc. Everything has to be perfect for him to be successful. If he is pitching I wouldn't but a ticket!