Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Twins Rotation Finalized

Ron Gardenhire made it official this morning in Ft. Myers that the Twins fifth starter to begin the 2011 season is Scott Baker. It' s not a big surprise for several reasons, the first is Gardy likes Baker and has been a little down on Slowey for his lack of consistency and improvement. Secondly Baker has more experience and can help solidify the rotation. Whoever was selected though should be looking over their shoulder as Kyle Gibson is ready to make the jump to the major leagues and will be pitching for the Twins sooner rather than later.

In fact spring training should be a wake up call for the entire pitching staff as several young arms are ready to make the jump, besides Gibson there is Carlos Gutierrez and Kyle Waldrop who are both relievers that performed well. Expectations for some young guns and the anticipation of being active probably contributed to the Twins not making efforts to retain Crain, Guerrier, Rauch and Fuentes.

The Twins also waived Pat Neshek who was claimed by the San Diego Padres over the weekend. With the emergence of the young arms, some young guys in the system who have already been up and down to the majors and recently acquired arms Dusty Hughes, Jim Hoey, Eric Hacker, and Scott Diamond apparently there was no spot for Neshek, even with an option year remaining. With the loss of Neshek the Twims 40 man roster dropped to 39 leaving a spot available for a young player, a trade, or a waiver claim if awarded. The Twins have indicated they have no immediate plans to fill the spot leading to speculation that they are working a deal or have their eyes set on someone in the near term.

Whatever the result look for the Twins to be very active in 2011 on the trade market as they have a dearth of players at the backend of their Twins life cycle with younger guys pushing them out the door. Also the fact remains that the Twins are 1 or 2 players from getting over that hump in the playoffs. Bill Smith has been relatively quiet with the exception of a few lower tier moves expect that to pick up soon.

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