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Another Big Move Coming for Minnesota?


Ted Schwerzler

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Update: The Twins put Miguel Sano on the DL today (5/1). Gregorio Petit was selected to join the 40 man roster and replace him on the 25 man roster. Dietrich Enns was DFA'd to make room for Petit. Given that the Twins are going with a fill in type player in Petit, I would assume that signifies a belief in Sano not being on the shelf for too long. Gordon would still make sense at some point in the not too distant future.

 

After yet another ineffective start for the Minnesota Twins, Phil Hughes was guaranteed nothing by the front office and Paul Molitor. His scheduled start was listed as TBD on the press releases, and eventually the news came out that he'd been demoted to the bullpen. Top pitching prospect Fernando Romero is on his way to the big leagues and will have a chance to stick in the major league rotation. With Miguel Sano being hampered by a hamstring injury, that may not be the only top prospect making a debut for Minnesota.

 

On Monday night when the Twins played the Toronto Blue Jays, Paul Molitor's bench included just two available options: Ryan LaMarre and Jason Castro. Given that neither of them are reliable bats at the current juncture, that's a pretty underwhelming set of reserves for a Twins club that badly needs to turn things around. With the promotion of Romero, I opined on Twitter that it signified the front office was echoing the statements of many fans. This level of performance is unexpected, and unacceptable. Instead of looking for band aids to try and get by, they were going to throw out their biggest pieces. That suggests to me that Stephen Gonsalves could soon be a rotation option, and Tyler Jay may not be far behind in relief. For the lineup though, there's one name that now jumps off the page.

 

Minnesota's 40 man roster has been exhausted when it comes to hitters. The only player currently available and not with the big league club is Jake Cave. The outfielder, acquired from the New York Yankees this spring, is slashing .188/.322/.261 at Triple-A Rochester through his first 19 games. With Zack Granite on the disabled list, Derek Falvey may be forced into another aggressive move.

 

It's probably time to wonder if top prospect Nick Gordon isn't ready for the big leagues.

 

Here's the thing, it makes no sense for Gordon to come up and sit. There's also little reason to put him on the 40 man roster and start his clock if the stint at the highest level is going to be a matter of days. In regards to both of those concerns however, there's a clear path as to how things could work out.

 

First and foremost, the playing time should be there. Eduardo Escobar is locked in as an everyday player right now. The utility man has filled in for Sano admirably, and is arguably the Twins best offensive threat going. Gordon, while not an ideal fit at shortstop, could immediately take over for Ehire Adrianza. The slick fielding Venezuelan would be a loss with his glove, but he's posted a .590 OPS and has never been a bat to rely on. Gordon would be making a big jump from Double-A Chattanooga, but his current .898 OPS in 23 games suggests he may be better than the level anyways.

 

Secondly, there's no guarantee that Miguel Sano is going to simply need 10 days to get his leg back to full health. Hamstring pulls are tricky, and rushing them back only leads to further aggravation. The reality is that even with the ability to backdate his DL stint to April 27, the Twins could be without their starting third basemen for a matter of weeks. When he returns, slotting him into a DH role while Escobar is going hot would continue to make room for Gordon to receive regular playing time.

 

There's a lot to digest here, and in Gordon, we're talking about a 22 year old kid with some question marks remaining in regards to his prospect status. That being said, his fielding deficiencies probably aren't going away, and that bat has continued to profile well. After a strong start to the 2017 season, he ended up with a .749 OPS. The .898 mark this year is solid, and that's bolstered by a .934 OPS over his last 16 games. Assumed the potential replacement for Brian Dozier, it's hardly a bad idea to get a look and see if he can't provide a jolt right now.

We could have our answer sooner rather than later, but if the Twins want a spark and another aggressive move, the kid with the bloodlines should be the place to turn.

 

For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz

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For Gordon, the "service time" isn't an issue, at least not in my opinion. If he's up for 5 days, that's just five days of service time. The bigger issue to me is the usage of the option for five days. If it's going to be just 5-8 days, then they should go with Gregorio Petit. When Sano comes back, you DFA Petit (or Adrianza). 

 

If we knew Sano would be out for 20-25 games and Gordon would play, then there is value in bringing him up.

 

Then again, if the Twins call up Nick Gordon, I will be incredibly excited for him!

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For Gordon, the "service time" isn't an issue, at least not in my opinion. If he's up for 5 days, that's just five days of service time. The bigger issue to me is the usage of the option for five days. If it's going to be just 5-8 days, then they should go with Gregorio Petit. When Sano comes back, you DFA Petit (or Adrianza). 

 

If we knew Sano would be out for 20-25 games and Gordon would play, then there is value in bringing him up.

 

Then again, if the Twins call up Nick Gordon, I will be incredibly excited for him!

Yeah, I probably could've been more articulate than simply saying "clock" but intended to be somewhat all encompassing. I'm in agreement though that if it is Gordon, I want it to be for a significant amount of time, and to play.

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I'd rather have normalized BABIP LaMonte Wade with his zone control and > Grossman defense.

 

.370 BABIP Gordon with his 3.3% walk rate and < Adrianza defense won't do as much to move the needle.

I'd prefer Wade over Grossman as well, but there's more factors at play there. Grossman has started to come around, and Wade would would have a more difficult road to consistent playing time.

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At some point, not calling it rebuild, but DO you play for the future and cut the guys who won't be a aprt of the team in anyway come 2019.

 

Of course, there is no market for the likes of Rodney or Lynn or Hughes right now. And even Morrison. You aren't going to walk away from them and their salaries, sadly. Which means they play...until you give up. And too early to give up. The good news is that they are all money, and you MAY be able to filter in some new faces in the meantime.

 

The Twins do have decisions.

 

What to do with Mauer and Dozier.

 

Should Sano be in the long range plans (and may we forever be a year too late in making a decision on the big guy).

 

We have Santana coming back, in a free agent walk year...will he be lights out?

 

What role can Trevor May play...long relief and spot starting with hopes of a return to the rotation?

 

Michael Pineada is also in the wings.

 

But suddenly you are hampered by free agents NOT producing. They can't sit. The big salaries can't be jettisoned easily (but, yes, they can be jettisoned if push comes to shove).

 

The hope is everyone will get to work again, and figure things out. No way can ALL these guys be this ...putrid.

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Well the good thing is the Twins didn't make any bad long term commitments last offseason such as multi-year deals to guys like Lynn and Morrison who are flat out not producing.  They are also one year closer to ridding themselves of Hughes bad contract which will help in addition to Mauer's 24 million a year coming off the books.    

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At some point, not calling it rebuild, but DO you play for the future and cut the guys who won't be a aprt of the team in anyway come 2019.

 

Of course, there is no market for the likes of Rodney or Lynn or Hughes right now. And even Morrison. You aren't going to walk away from them and their salaries, sadly. Which means they play...until you give up. And too early to give up. The good news is that they are all money, and you MAY be able to filter in some new faces in the meantime.

 

The Twins do have decisions.

 

What to do with Mauer and Dozier.

 

Should Sano be in the long range plans (and may we forever be a year too late in making a decision on the big guy).

 

We have Santana coming back, in a free agent walk year...will he be lights out?

 

What role can Trevor May play...long relief and spot starting with hopes of a return to the rotation?

 

Michael Pineada is also in the wings.

 

But suddenly you are hampered by free agents NOT producing. They can't sit. The big salaries can't be jettisoned easily (but, yes, they can be jettisoned if push comes to shove).

 

The hope is everyone will get to work again, and figure things out. No way can ALL these guys be this ...putrid.

There is all kinds of a market for those guys. Don't stray far from the board at the trade deadline, we are going to be buyers and sellers.

 

Let me make a prediction. There appears to be a gap for starting pitching prospects between Rochester and Cedar Rapids. Look for the new regime to partially fill that gap at the deadline. I don't believe they can do that, by only taking college starters in the 2018 draft.

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How many bad half seasons has Dozier had? Good thing the front office is not as fickle as some or Dozier might have been traded for some sack of potatoes middle reliever.  Weil and Wade may be good players. Unfortunately they might not be so good as to have the talent to jump from AA to MLB.   There are over 100 players the smart list makers think are better than either of these two players. The words  "nationally ranked prospect" have not been linked with them

 

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