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Nick Blackburn and Sunk Costs

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#1 John Bonnes

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 11:04 AM

When do they stop throwing good innings after bad money?

If the Twins didn't have a long-term contract with Blackburn, he would have been done long ago, right? As I watched him get the snot kicked out of him yet again yesterday, I couldn't help but wonder: how much longer until he is recognized as a sunk cost? Why are they still investing innings in this guy? When do they stop throwing good innings after bad money?

And I'll admit - I've been a supporter of Blackburn's in the past. Even within the last couple of weeks, I thought he was pitching better than his numbers. But this is getting silly.

Right now there isn't really another option, but when Pavano or Walter gets healthy, doesn't this have to be over? Even if Hendriks is struggling, I'd still rather see him getting innings than Blackburn now. Or Duensing. Or Swarzak. There just isn't any "there" there.

Am I overreacting?

#2 Mayhem25

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 11:11 AM

I don't think you are overreacting at all. The money they tied up in him seems to be blinding the FO/Gardy. Which brings up another issues, the deal they made to lock him up in the first place!

#3 Yoshii

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 11:13 AM

Hopefully we have seen the last of Blackburn in a Twins uniform after his last start. I hope they dont stick him in the bullpen like Liriano, just DFA him and eat the rest of his contract. He is a useless piece of ****, who at best is only a innings eater. What does that say?

#4 Nick Nelson

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 11:15 AM

Yeah, this is getting out of hand. I too have been pretty bullish on Blackburn, but my patience is running out. It's always something; either his command is shaky or he's getting the ball in the zone and getting hammered (like yesterday). In his post-game quotes yesterday he sounded helpless, and not like a guy who's confident he's going to be able to get things figured out.

#5 shs_59

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 11:23 AM

Well, I think you guys are overreacting a touch.
He is what he is. A perfectly capable 5th starter on a good baseball team. A Team like Texas , on an ave. year, would love to slot him in their 5th spot in that tiny Ballpark at Arlington. Or White Sox @ U.S. Cellular similar thing. A team like The Padres could use Blackburn because he won't give up the long ball there as much.

Its not Blackburns fault the Twins, saw more in him, Thought more of him than what he actually is, The Twins Mistake #1 pay him like he's a #3 starter for the next few years

Mistake #2 Lock him up as long as they did.

Mistake #3 Expecting him to keep up the awesome #'s he did possess when he first broke in, despite having those Tiny K Rates, and Massively high Oppotents Batting Average. - HE did have excessively Low BB% rates.

The Twins saw more in him than he really is, and I think the pressure has gotten to Blacky as he probably goes out there expecting to shut the other team down in some starts, which simply put ..... He cannot do time and time again. I think its clear Blackburns once mighty sinker or "moving" Fastball does not sink like it once did.

He's a 5th starter now, (at one time maybe a #4 guy) and For some reason the Twins saw much more in him than a back end guy/ long reliever.

Top Twins prospects ? 1.Byron Buxton (OF-A+)
2.Miguel Sano (3B-AA) 3.Alex Meyer (SP-AAA) 4. Kohl Stewart (SP-A) 5. J.O. Berrios (P-AA) 6.Nick Gordon (SS-RK)  7. *Josmil Pinto (C-AAA) 8.Jorge Polanco (2B-AA)  9. L. Thorpe (SP-A) 10. *Trevor May (SP-AAA) 11.Kennys Vargas (1B-AAA) 12.Travis Harrison (OF-A+) 13.Eddie Rosario (2B-AA) 14. Max Kepler (OF-A+) 15.Nick Burdi (RP-A)  Just Missed :P P Tyler Duffey, SS Aderlin Mejia, P Stephen Gonsalves, C Stuart Turner.


#6 mike wants wins

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 11:24 AM

Other than wanting to see Duensing get starts, I'm with you. Duensing is not a starter. He is a reliever with value though, not sure why they are ruining that value by starting him. They are going to lose if Duensing starts or Blackburn starts, don't lose value on one of them in the process.
Lighten up Francis....

#7 nokomismod

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 11:26 AM

Me too. I thought the decision to offer him the contract ~2 years ago was a good one. At the time he was an innings eater and I thought the big ballpark would be great for his career. I think the bullpen would be worth a shot before putting him on waivers though.

#8 mike wants wins

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 11:28 AM

Why would TX be happy to have him as a 5th starter? His ERA is so high, no one should want him to start any game, #1 starter or #5 starter. If he was really "as good as" a number 5 starter, the Twins should also be happy to have him start. OTOH, they have no real options.....that's the quandry they are in. The majors and minors are devoid of starters, and yet in the paper Ryan says he doesn't want to make trades and send up the white flag, while also stating he will do what's best for the team ..... so I have no idea what he was trying to say.
Lighten up Francis....

#9 DPJ

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 11:38 AM

As craptastic as Blackburn has been and will continue to be, what are the other options? The Twins dug there own grave with the lack of depth in the starting rotation and now they're at the point where they have no other options but to throw Blackburn out there and cross your fingers.

#10 Winston Smith

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 11:38 AM

Dfa him, nobody will pick up his contract (except maybe the Rangers) then send him to Roch. Let him finish the year down there, maybe he builds some value or next spring he makes the team with a big come back year (being funny). At this time he doesn't belong on a major league field! If they are just pitching him because of his contract our future is lost anyway.

#11 edavis0308

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 11:41 AM

Well, I think you guys are overreacting a touch.
He is what he is. A perfectly capable 5th starter on a good baseball team. A Team like Texas , on an ave. year, would love to slot him in their 5th spot in that tiny Ballpark at Arlington. Or White Sox @ U.S. Cellular similar thing. A team like The Padres could use Blackburn because he won't give up the long ball there as much.

Its not Blackburns fault the Twins, saw more in him, Thought more of him than what he actually is, The Twins Mistake #1 pay him like he's a #3 starter for the next few years

Mistake #2 Lock him up as long as they did.

Mistake #3 Expecting him to keep up the awesome #'s he did possess when he first broke in, despite having those Tiny K Rates, and Massively high Oppotents Batting Average. - HE did have excessively Low BB% rates.

The Twins saw more in him than he really is, and I think the pressure has gotten to Blacky as he probably goes out there expecting to shut the other team down in some starts, which simply put ..... He cannot do time and time again. I think its clear Blackburns once mighty sinker or "moving" Fastball does not sink like it once did.

He's a 5th starter now, (at one time maybe a #4 guy) and For some reason the Twins saw much more in him than a back end guy/ long reliever.


This is a joke, right?

A capable 5th starter on a good baseball team? He has an ERA over 7.50. He wouldnt even crack the top 10 best starters in the Rangers org. You realize how bad he is getting crushed right? 400ft+ home runs are still going to leave Petco.

#12 Boom Boom

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 11:42 AM

The way Blackburn's been pitching, he's not a #5 starter on any team. Fun with stats - for his career, opponents are hitting .300/.343/.470 off of Nick Blackburn.

#13 DPJ

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 11:46 AM

Fun with stats - for his career, opponents are hitting .300/.343/.470 off of Nick Blackburn.


Think about that, every hitter Nick Blackburn has ever faced is pretty much Torii Hunter (sans BA)

#14 rnw24

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 11:50 AM

Well, I think you guys are overreacting a touch.
He is what he is. A perfectly capable 5th starter on a good baseball team. A Team like Texas , on an ave. year, would love to slot him in their 5th spot in that tiny Ballpark at Arlington. Or White Sox @ U.S. Cellular similar thing. A team like The Padres could use Blackburn because he won't give up the long ball there as much.

Its not Blackburns fault the Twins, saw more in him, Thought more of him than what he actually is, The Twins Mistake #1 pay him like he's a #3 starter for the next few years

Mistake #2 Lock him up as long as they did.

Mistake #3 Expecting him to keep up the awesome #'s he did possess when he first broke in, despite having those Tiny K Rates, and Massively high Oppotents Batting Average. - HE did have excessively Low BB% rates.

The Twins saw more in him than he really is, and I think the pressure has gotten to Blacky as he probably goes out there expecting to shut the other team down in some starts, which simply put ..... He cannot do time and time again. I think its clear Blackburns once mighty sinker or "moving" Fastball does not sink like it once did.

He's a 5th starter now, (at one time maybe a #4 guy) and For some reason the Twins saw much more in him than a back end guy/ long reliever.


you can't be serious. blackburn is garbage and needs to go. as bad as the pitching depth is in the twins organization i'm not sure he's even the 10th best pitcher in the twins org.
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#15 edavis0308

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 11:50 AM

Think about that, every hitter Nick Blackburn has ever faced is pretty much Torii Hunter (sans BA)


Opp OPS this year alone, .951.

#16 Boom Boom

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 11:52 AM

Think about that, every hitter Nick Blackburn has ever faced is pretty much Torii Hunter (sans BA)


That's pretty close to the career hitting lines of HOFers Dave Winfield and Eddie Murray.

#17 Thrylos

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 11:52 AM

I have never been a Blackburn fan... That said, I had never been a Perkins fan either. I think that because of the contract or what, Blackburn should get a chance for the rest of the season to prove himself in the pen. Let him be as bad as Gray or Manship, if that's what it takes. But I think from what I've seen periodically from him (like a flash of a 93-94 mph FB, if he forgets and throws the four seamer) that he might actually find his niche there and be useful. Don't be frustrated at Blackburn (he is what he is) be frustrated at Gardy and Andy who are playing him and starting him. They are the ones who are at fault here, not Blackburn.
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#18 rnw24

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 11:54 AM

putting him in the bullpen doesn't improve this year, getting rid of him improves the team.
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#19 Thrylos

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 12:00 PM

putting him in the bullpen doesn't improve this year, getting rid of him improves the team.


Like they are going any place this year? Putting him in the pen is a tryout to see whether he is part of the solution for next season or not. This season is gone.
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#20 Boom Boom

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 12:04 PM

I have never been a Blackburn fan... That said, I had never been a Perkins fan either. I think that because of the contract or what, Blackburn should get a chance for the rest of the season to prove himself in the pen. Let him be as bad as Gray or Manship, if that's what it takes. But I think from what I've seen periodically from him (like a flash of a 93-94 mph FB, if he forgets and throws the four seamer) that he might actually find his niche there and be useful.

Don't be frustrated at Blackburn (he is what he is) be frustrated at Gardy and Andy who are playing him and starting him. They are the ones who are at fault here, not Blackburn.


This is true, on most other teams Blackburn would not have gotten so many chances.

You made me think of this - http://www.1500espn....f_my_guys030511

#21 gunnarthor

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 12:07 PM

Whatever leash he has, has to be incredibly short at this point. We don't have enough options to just DFA him but a move to the pen makes sense when another starter is ready.

#22 rnw24

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 12:12 PM

how much more do we need to see to know he isn't a solution for any season in any capacity? the guy sucks, plain and simple. the FO screwed this one up, cut bait now and move on. i'd much rather watch the kids with some semblence of upside take their lumps in the pen and learn than let blackie chew up more good innings with bad performances.
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#23 DPJ

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 12:16 PM

BTW wasn't Blackburn in the pen a few years back and just as god afwul as he was in the rotation?

You made me think of this - http://www.1500espn.com/sportswire/G..._my_guys030511


Ah...the coveted Gardy "Circle of Trust"

#24 Riverbrian

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 12:42 PM

yet in the paper Ryan says he doesn't want to make trades and send up the white flag, while also stating he will do what's best for the team ..... so I have no idea what he was trying to say.


Send up a White Flag? Who does he think he'd be surrendering to? You'd have to assume that the players have been around baseball and are able to see the condition of the Starting Rotation. Players would probably be not only understanding of trades for Starting Pitching but thankful for any pitching help. That's my opinion anyway.

Is there some sort of belief inside Target Field that the rotation can get the job done if the wind blows exactly right?

On the subject of Blackburn: In my mind... As a pitcher... he has no margin of error. Never has... Never will... If you average 4 K's per nine innings. That's a lot of balls put in play. If the walk rate goes up from 1.8 to 3.2 that is significant because of all the balls put in play and the BABIP percentages alone will eat you alive. Couple that with a sinker that doesn't sink down in the zone and the HR rate goes up and it's good night nurse. (look at me using those metric thingies... now go watch the game... lol)

Blackburn had a couple of decent years in 2008 and 2009 but was living on the edge each of those years. His contract was questionable from the get go.

As for this year... We have no alternatives... Next year... He's back with us... Feel free to skip his starts to give others with a future a turn. The phasing out of Blackburn should be getting underway. It could last until the end of 2013 or with a loud explosion in the next few months.

#25 CDog

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 12:58 PM

Lots of things in this thread I felt like I wanted to comment on, so no quote since they were from so many. I apologize in advance for any lack of clarity as to what I'm talking about. Like John and Nick stated, I have also thought Blackburn had more to offer than many. And like them I'm befuddled by the lack of results. As for the actual direction of the original post, the only reason I can see continuing to start him now because of being under contract next year is if there is some merit to the general argument that the best way for him to get right is by starting big league games. Given they are very unlikely to get to contention this year, do you use this year as work to get him better for next? I don't know if there IS any merit to that, but that's the only reason I can think of to keep going in the same lane. Along the lines of results and what it might take and how far away he is from fixing anything, wasn't it just three months ago that he was lights out in spring training? So this is a question...having virtually no access to see spring training performances and the lack of statistics to properly measure them, is there anyone with the expertise here that actually WAS able to watch then to know what was different? Was it just luck or small-sample variation? Or was his sinker actually sinking and his breaking ball actually breaking and all of that? If he WAS throwing a good, heavy sinker just that recently, is that hope enough to think he could do it again relatively soon? There was a comment about him being paid like a # 3 starter. I haven't looked it up, so this may be wrong, but I can't imagine the median or average for a starting pitcher in the big leagues is as low as what he's getting. More in general, there's a lot of hand-wringing (or worse) about his contract, but the dollars involved really weren't that enormous. And finally, I can't imagine how big "a brass bowl" (that's a rhyme) one has to be to call someone a "piece of ****" or "garbage" behind the safety and anonymity of their keyboard because they aren't throwing a baseball as well as they'd like.

#26 chopper0080

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 01:02 PM

You probably have to try him in the bullpen to see if you can salavage any value from him in the future. I think he is done as a starter, and was last year as well. I wouldn't be crushed if they DFA him however.

#27 Thrylos

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 01:06 PM

Like John and Nick stated, I have also thought Blackburn had more to offer than many. And like them I'm befuddled by the lack of results. .


Unfortunately the numbers were there 3-4 years ago that showed that Blackburn was as effective a starter as Perkins was. Here is a crunching at some point in 2009. Clearly, Blackburn has not been cutting it since then (and even before that.) That is 3 seasons ago. Nothing new. Just Gardy and Andy cannot see it, because they do not think that way.

And I agree, there is no reason to deamean any player personally. They are who they are. Most of us wish to have half Blackburn's talent ;)
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#28 glunn

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 01:06 PM

Lots of things in this thread I felt like I wanted to comment on, so no quote since they were from so many. I apologize in advance for any lack of clarity as to what I'm talking about.

Like John and Nick stated, I have also thought Blackburn had more to offer than many. And like them I'm befuddled by the lack of results. As for the actual direction of the original post, the only reason I can see continuing to start him now because of being under contract next year is if there is some merit to the general argument that the best way for him to get right is by starting big league games. Given they are very unlikely to get to contention this year, do you use this year as work to get him better for next? I don't know if there IS any merit to that, but that's the only reason I can think of to keep going in the same lane.

Along the lines of results and what it might take and how far away he is from fixing anything, wasn't it just three months ago that he was lights out in spring training? So this is a question...having virtually no access to see spring training performances and the lack of statistics to properly measure them, is there anyone with the expertise here that actually WAS able to watch then to know what was different? Was it just luck or small-sample variation? Or was his sinker actually sinking and his breaking ball actually breaking and all of that? If he WAS throwing a good, heavy sinker just that recently, is that hope enough to think he could do it again relatively soon?

There was a comment about him being paid like a # 3 starter. I haven't looked it up, so this may be wrong, but I can't imagine the median or average for a starting pitcher in the big leagues is as low as what he's getting. More in general, there's a lot of hand-wringing (or worse) about his contract, but the dollars involved really weren't that enormous.

And finally, I can't imagine how big "a brass bowl" (that's a rhyme) one has to be to call someone a "piece of ****" or "garbage" behind the safety and anonymity of their keyboard because they aren't throwing a baseball as well as they'd like.


I agree with all of this and would love to see one of our gurus address these issues.

#29 Boom Boom

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 01:11 PM

So this is a question...having virtually no access to see spring training performances and the lack of statistics to properly measure them, is there anyone with the expertise here that actually WAS able to watch then to know what was different? Was it just luck or small-sample variation? Or was his sinker actually sinking and his breaking ball actually breaking and all of that? If he WAS throwing a good, heavy sinker just that recently, is that hope enough to think he could do it again relatively soon?


Spring Training stats?

http://minnesota.twins.mlb.com/stats/sortable.jsp?c_id=min#playerType=ALL§ionType=sp&statType=pitching&page_type=SortablePlayer&season=2012&season_type=ANY&sportCode='mlb'&league_code='MLB'&split=&team_id=142&active_sw=&game_type='S'&position=&sortOrder='desc'&sortColumn=avg&results=&page=1&perPage=50&timeframe=&extended=0&last_x_days=&ts=1340909907724&elem=%5Bobject+Object%5D&tab_level=child&click_text=Sortable+Player+pitching

Blackburn's ST numbers were very good. I don't put stock into ST numbers for multiple reasons. Small sample size, questionable competition, players "working on things" rather than playing their game, pitchers "ahead of the hitters", etc, etc, etc. Look at some of the other Twins pitchers that had very good STs - not exactly a cross-section of the best pitchers in the organization.

#30 cr9617

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 01:21 PM

Spring Training numbers? Come on....