Twins Talk: Weekly Roundtable

Marty AndradeSenior Writer IAugust 1, 2008

It’s a small group in the Roundtable this week, which is fine because you can catch me and other Bleacher Report Twins Community writers and bloggers at my Twins Podcast, which is live every Sunday at 8pm central. Last week saw the Bleacher Report’s Dan Carey and Dan Wade join me along with Seth Stohs and former Twins Podcaster Jeff Straub.

Josh Taylor of Taylor’s Twins Talk joined me at the roundtable this week:

Carlos Gomez bruised his back making a spectacular catch last week, he wasn't badly hurt but the question remains, should outfielders sacrifice their bodies to make outs and risk injury?

Josh Taylor: The question you asked has the word "should" in it, and I guess if I were to directly answer the question as asked the answer I'd give is a straight-up no. The value of one out -- even one coming with, say, two outs and runners on base which is extremely valuable in the moment -- is nowhere near as high as the value of having that player in the lineup regularly.

However, I think that it's virtually impossible to ask a player not to go for the ball. It's similar to players who slide head-first, or slide at all into first base. It's a reaction thing, something they do without thinking at all. As a result, I don't think "should" plays a role.

Incidentally, I also think it might send the wrong message for a manager to call a young player into his office to say "don't try so hard." Potentially negative side effects could result, methinks.

Marty Andrade: The value of an out is not nearly close to the value an everyday player brings to his club. You can name the era and find a player known for making spectacular catches but who had his career shortened due to injuries. Fred Lynn is a personal favorite example of a guy who just beat himself up until he couldn’t play anymore.

Gomez wasn’t badly hurt, but players need to be better at assessing risk/reward scenarios. Or baseball higher ups can make the necessary moves to change baseball player’s stupid behavior. It’s completely possible, when was the last time you saw someone get taken out of game on a stretcher after slamming into the brick fence at Wrigley Field? No one in their right mind will dive headfirst into a brick fence. However, the padded fences see players slam against them all the time. Maybe the way to reduce injuries to outfielders is to make the consequences of stupid actions a little bigger.

Speaking of Carlos Gomez, he's now, offensively, the worst overall regular in the American League. Should the Twins consider sending him down to the minors?

Josh Taylor: Consider? Yes. The Twins should consider every option when it comes to what to do with their players that could make the team better. Without question, Denard Span has played better ball this season than Carlos Gomez. Gomez should probably be playing every day, though, so when Michael Cuddyer comes back he is logically a candidate to go down. My preference, though, would be to keep him in the bigs and find a way to get a regular rotation going where he plays 3 or 4 of every five games. Give Cuddyer and Young some time at DH if you have to. I think his speed (in the outfield and on the bases) warrants keeping him around, especially if he's hitting in the 9-hole and isn't asked to do too much. I guess I just have a soft spot for the guy. Also, I wonder how much sense it makes to send him down for August only to have him back as a September call-up. Maybe there'd be some value in that, but I'm not sure.

Marty Andrade: The Twins are going to have to make some difficult decisions when Michael Cuddyer is ready to come off the DL. The Twins need to drop someone from the roster unless they can delay Cuddyer’s return until September, which seems unlikely. My choice would be to send down Gomez for a few weeks before bringing him back up in September. This way, the Twins get to keep everyone they want.

Otherwise, the Twins will have to drop either Denard Span, who’s been doing very well in his call-up, to AAA or they will have to give up Craig Monroe. Sending Gomez to the minors allows the Twins to lose nothing in the long run. Sending Span down to AAA will be sending down one of their better hitters for a month. Dropping Monroe leaves the team hurting for a right handed DH, which could be filled by Cuddyer sure. I think demoting Gomez makes more sense than people think.

The Twins just finished up a poor stretch of games which included a long losing streak, what went wrong?

Josh Taylor: Nothing out of the ordinary. The losing streak involved the last game of a series against Texas where they won 2-of-3, and the first game of a series against Cleveland that they won 2-of-3. In the middle, they were swept by a tough Yankees club, in Yankee Stadium where they never play particularly well. These things happen, especially on the road -- a sweep isn't that remarkable. It just so happens that the five games were all together -- but if the Twins had lost the middle game of the Texas and Cleveland series, instead of the last and first respectively, it wouldn't have looked so bad.

Marty Andrade: I have to agree, there’s nothing special about losing streaks like this, but I think the extra news coverage about “the Twins last trip to Yankee Stadium” might have had a negative impact on the players.

How much longer will Livan Hernandez stay a Twin?*

Josh Taylor: If I had my way, he'd have never been signed in the first place (and yes, I understand the reasons for signing him -- I just disagree with them and no amount of discussion will convince me otherwise). However, GM Bill Smith and I apparently feel very differently about Livan's value to the organization, and I wouldn't bet on his departure anytime soon. To me, Hernandez is the perfect option to be replaced by Francisco Liriano in the rotation, especially since Kevin Slowey just tossed a complete game to almost certainly save his bacon. Again, though, I'm biased because I never wanted Hernandez at all. If I had to guess, Hernandez will be a Twin for the remainder of the year, like it or not. And just in case my point was somehow missed -- I decidedly do not.

Marty Andrade: It has been clear, everyone with an inside angle on the thinking of Twins GM Bill Smith says Smith likes Livan in the rotation. My prediction would be Livan will stays in the rotation the rest of the year. And this move alone will probably cost the Twins 3 wins down the stretch.

*There was a delay in getting this Roundtable posted up, and, hilariously, the Twins got rid of Livan Hernandez earlier today.