Upon reading my associate's posts today, I saw that I either completely agreed with him or his thoughts lit a bulb in my head. The Twins need to seriously rethink their game plan completely. Matt Guerrier is turning out to be a good middle-reliever, but is not be used as much as he should with a 2.79 ERA. If Romero is out there, so should Guerrier. And especially if they think at all about using Mulholland in key situations. That is just ridiculous. There is still no reason to have a batting practice pitcher on the team. I don't buy the whole "veteran" logic, since Rincon, Romero, and Nathan have the experience anyways and seem to be doing fine. If his role is the mop-up guy or what not, why isn't he being used this way? He needs to be dropped, and not just because of his terrible pitching, but more because of the prospects we have in the wings. That's part of the reason to make a trade, as it makes sense to get rid of guys like Lohse, Mulholland, Cuddyer, and possibly Radke. Get rid of guys not doing their jobs and bring up the potentially great pitchers in the minors and give them a chance. Who do we have waiting?
* Travis Bowyer - Bowyer leads the International League with 19 saves and has a 3-1 record with a 1.27 ERA in 42 and 2/3 innings. Most impressive, though, is that he's allowed only 20 hits in those innings. That's incredible. He also has 59 Ks and will be a minor league All-Star for the Rochester Red Wings. Bowyer is clearly ready for a shot in the bigs, as he has simply dominated the minor leagues with his great fastball. (Reminds me of Jesse Crain) He definitely deserves a shot and it looks like no matter how he reacts immediately, he certainly has a lot of upside.
* Scott Baker - Baker made a very good impression in Spring Training and even got a small call-up this year, only pitching a scoreless inning. He should the Twins that he can mix his pitches well and he certainly has some good control to go with it. Baker has had a great year at Triple-A, going 2-5 with a 2.83 ERA in 14 starts. He has 72 Ks in 82 and 2/3 innings and 21 walks. Baker also has certainly earned his call up and his chance, as he can start or be used in any situation well. Reminds me of the situation with Santana in 2002.
* Boof Bonser - Another pitcher acquired in the trade for A.J. in 2003, Bonser has also had a good year a Triple-A. He has gone 6-4 with a 3.82 ERA with 93 Ks in 92 innings this year with 29 walks. There is no scouting report on Bonser, so I have no way to be sure what his pitching selection is, but Bonser has certainly been a power pitcher in the minors and would go along well with the current Twins bullpen.
* J.D. Durbin - Durbin, ever since being shaken up last year in his call, has had a decent year at Triple-A. His fastball is down and he isn't hit 100 like he did last fall. However, as with the others, Durbin has such a high upside that it is hard not to give him a chance. The 4.43 ERA isn't great, but the arm is and it certainly would be good for his confidence.
* Dave Gassner - He's pitched well at Triple-A and even had a call up earlier this year, but did not do so well, making two starts and going 1-0 with a 5.87 ERA. At Rochester, he's gone 6-5 with a 3.86 ERA, striking out 38 and walking 19 in 79 and 1/3 innings. His main asset is being a solid lefty with good control and that would certainly be a step above Mulholland. However, he still does not look quite ready for the big leagues. I'd look to see he him next year as a possible starter or long reliever.
* Fransisco Liriano - It is likely too early to call him up, but this lefty will be something else. He throws 97 to 98 with his fastball and he has a great slider to go along with it. He dominated in Double-A and recently was called up to Triple-A, where he had a 3.75 ERA with 15 Ks in 12 innings. He might be raw now, but it would be fun to watch him pitch.
Either way, the Twins need to make a move, and based on their prospects in Triple-A, they have the guys ready to go.