The Minnesota Twins have had serious struggles with their bullpen so far this season, just as they did at the start of last year. Last year, they cut bait on Juan Rincon, added Craig Breslow and saw almost immediate improvement.
They'll hope for the same effect from Juan Morillo this season.
Morillio was claimed off waivers Friday from the Colorado Rockies, where he'd spent his entire career. Morillo is just 25, hits 95 to 96 on the radar gun, but is a walk machine. In 2006, he struck out 132 hitters in AA, but also walked 80.
Hopefully, working with Rick Anderson will help Morillo find the plate more consistently. If he can cut down on the walks, there is a chance Morillo could become a solid option for the Twins going forward.
To make room for Morillo, the Twins designated Philip Humber for assignment. Since he is out of options, Humber will have to pass through waivers unclaimed to join the staff at AAA Rochester.
A piece of the Johan Santana trade, Humber barely made the team out of spring training, and was uninspiring in his four appearances so far this season. His ERA of 12.46 and WHIP of 3.23 are inflated by the low number of innings, but are indicative of how he's pitched over his last few outings.
There is a chance Humber's poor start will allow him to pass through waivers, but it is doubtful. Plenty of teams need middle relief and Humber still has his first-round pedigree on fall back on (Humber was the third pick in the major league draft before undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2005).
While this move is by no means a sure success, it is good to see the team being proactive in addressing the bullpen's travails.
There are a limited number of replacements floating around the waiver wire, so if Morillo cannot fill in the way the Twins hope he will, players like Rob Delaney and Anthony Slama may be given their chance earlier than previously hoped.
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