Thursday, March 29, 2007

Winner By Default

Much to no one's surprise, the Twins re-assigned Matt Garza to minor-league camp yesterday, assuring Carlos Silva the fifth spot in the rotation to start the season. Garza pitched well this spring, posting a 1.50 ERA while allowing nine hits, walking five and striking out seven over 12 innings. Silva was of course horrible, posting an 11.02 ERA while allowing more than two base-runners per inning.

I feel bad for Garza. He came into this spring with the mindset that a spot in the rotation was his, and he wasn't going to do anything to lose it. And really, he didn't do anything to lose it. He pitched well. Of course, the Twins didn't really give him much of a chance to prove he belonged. He started only one game (Silva will make his fifth start tonight) and never pitched more than three innings in an outing.

As much as this move frustrates me, I can see how it is at least somewhat defensible. The fifth starter for the Twins will probably only make three starts in April, and Garza needs regular action early in the season. Furthermore, if the Twins had gone with Garza only to have him struggle badly or run into an injury, they would lack options to replace him since Silva would be gone and Kevin Slowey and Glen Perkins probably need a little more time in the minors.

I realize I'm toting the company line here. Don't get me wrong, I think you need to go with the guy that gives you the best chance to win, and without question that would appear to be Garza. All I'm saying is that this probably isn't the worst thing in the world, assuming the Twins don't handle the situation the way they handled the Castro/Bartlett debacle last year. If we reach the end of April and Silva is getting shelled while Garza is tearing up Triple-A, and the Twins do nothing, I'll be furious. But every indication is that Silva's leash is fairly short at this point. It seems that Ron Gardenhire has backed off from heaping the absurd praise on Silva that he's given him in the past and that he gave Castro early last season. Gardy has said that if Silva continues to struggle, the team will "make an adjustment." Hopefully that's the case

As it stands though, the Twins will apparently open the season with a potentially disastrous rotation. Behind Johan Santana, we'll be watching Boof Bonser, Ramon Ortiz, Sidney Ponson and Silva. I'm hoping the latter three can find a way to recapture the form they showed earlier in their careers. Even more, I'm hoping that if they can't, the Twins will not stand idly by and watch their 2007 season go to waste.

10 comments:

Corey Ettinger said...

I wrote a eerily similar review today. Therefore, I couldn't agree more. Nice piece Nick.

TheBentKangaroo said...

It's becoming so sad that the only thing non-scathing about Silva in the paper that's being said is, "He looks good in the bullpen."

When I was in Babe Ruth ball, our team got shelled regularly. I wasn't a good pitcher, but I "looked good in the bullpen." Coach finally put me in once when we were down seven runs late. In eight pitches, I gave up a home run, a double, and a home run. We lost the game by the ten-run rule and my ERA was infinity.

Beth said...

I'm glad Garza will get regular pitching in Rochester, and I hope that if Silva's struggles continue that the plug is pulled very quickly--the end of April sounds good to me, but I'll bet on mid-May.

Lee Henschel said...

gEntirely predictable.

That's what the Twins did with Carlos Silva and Matt Garza. They kept the veteran and sent the rookie down.

The Twins like keeping veterans to start the year; they prefer to call up rookies during the season.

Look at the starting rotation: Santana, Bonser, Ortiz, Ponson and Garza. Bonser was brought up (during the year last year), so he's not exactly a rookie. All the others – no matter how they pitched in spring training, or in previous years, are up with the team.

Among the fielders, it appears that Luis Rodriguez has beaten out AAA's Alexi Cassilla for the reserve infiler spot. Jeff Cirillo is also a reserve infielder, but he's a veteran, signed over the winter.

Jason Tyner and Josh Rabe were up with the Twins for parts of last year; they might make the team.

J.D. Durbin might be the "exception that proves the rule." The rookie may make it as a long-reliever, but because he's out of options, not because he's pitched that well.

Rookie lovers shouldn't fret. the Twins will be bringing up some the rookies early this year.

That's how they operate...

the Dragon said...

Happy or not, I think this is probably the best answer at the moment.

I personally thing Opening the season with the "dream" rotation of Santana, Bonser, Garza, Perkins & Slowey would have been a disaster. Now that rotation could have promise June/July.

I'm just a fan...That's why they pay me the BIG Bucks.

Nick M. said...

Sadly, Durbin is gone and, as predicted, so that Chris Heintz can be the third-string catcher. Pathetic.

Corey Ettinger said...

Ok, so this is the conversation I think Terry Ryan and Gardy had about Durbin and Hientz.

Guiness guy #1: "Ive come up with a great new idea"

Guiness Guy #2: "Oh really, whats that?"

Guiness Guy #1: "I've been think, you know how we manage a beer league softball team?"

Guiness Guy #2: "I love the beer league!"

Guiness Guy #1: "I know, but you never manage to make it through a game without passing out and vomiting all over yourself."

Guiness Guy #2: "Yeah... Didn't you say you had an idea?"

Guiness Guy #1: "Oh yeah...I've decided that we should replace anyone with talent with another player with minimal talent that will never play!"

Guiness Guy #2: "Brilliant!"

Guiness Guy #1: "Brilliant!"

Guiness Guy #2: "Brilliant!"

Kristen Mainz said...

You know, I really feel Garza's pain. I am in a similar situation to him pitching for my team, except I am the veteran (senior about to graduate) who is being overlooked for a (freshman) pitcher who does not have the talent I do and who gets absolutely shelled at times. And let me tell you, it absolutely sucks, but I am an asset to the team in other positions, so the coach overlooks my pitching and leaves me out to dry.

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