Say what you will about the Minnesota Twins' front office and their normal reticence in making moves, but the 2009 season has yielded its second notable deal, as the Twins added veteran pitcher Carl Pavano in exchange for a player to be named later.
Its not a sexy move, but at this time of year, very few waiver moves are. It's a low-risk move with the possibility to give the Twins the boost they've been seeking.
Much like Glen Perkins, Pavano has seemingly alternated between great and vile starts. He's given up two runs or fewer nine times so far this season, but has allowed six or more in five outings.
His last time out, he held the Tigers to just one run in eight strong innings. The outings prior to that he gave up six runs in six innings to the Angels and seven to the Blue Jays in just 4.2 innings. Over the two games, he offered up eight gopher balls, four in each start. To put that in perspective, Pavano hasn't allowed more than four home runs in any month this season.
Pavano works from a three-pitch arsenal, a low 90s fastball, a low 80s slider and a changeup that borders on eephus pitch levels. He'll throw a ton of strikes, having walked just 23 in 125.2 innings of work and strike out a few each start.
His support-neutral line-up adjusted value over replacement player (SNLVAR is an indication of how many games above replacement level a pitcher has added, this version of the metric weights for the quality of batters faced) is 1.8, good for second best on the Indians, and a better mark than most felt Pavano could post this season.
Translated to his new team, Pavano's contribution would place him third, behind just Scott Baker and Nick Blackburn. Even though manager Ron Gardenhire said that Francisco Liriano would make his next start, one has to wonder if that's still the case. Pavano was fairly clearly brought in to sure up a rotation that has been floundering lately, and that probably means Liriano's demotion to the bullpen, as he's been the Twins worst starter on a consistent basis this season.
Pavano doesn't make the Twins a ton better, but he does address one of their two biggest needs right now, and came at a terrifically reduced price. He isn't going to be the Carl Pavano the Yankees thought they were getting a few seasons ago, but he's also not going to be the abomination they actually got.
Credit the Twins' front office for this one. They added a decent player who may be able to help solve a pressing problem without giving up anything that's likely to be missed.
I can't really say whether Pavano will be enough to give the Twins a fighting chance down the line, but I like the move in a vacuum; we'll just have to wait and see if he can give the Twins the stability they hope a veteran like Pavano can bring.