Minnesota Twins: Weekly Whatnot, April 28

Andrew KneelandSenior Writer IApril 28, 2008

I couldn't help but copy J.J. Stankevitz's idea of gathering the top fans of a team and putting their opinions in one place to contrast and compare.

Without further ado, the primer of the Weekly Twins Whatnot.

Francisco Liriano gave up six runs in two-thirds innings on Thursday afternoon. He had an 11.32 ERA leading into the game, and is now at 0-3. Did Minnesota bring him back up to the majors too quickly? What should the Twins do with Liriano?

Jon Grilz: Liriano had the worst start since Brad Radke a few years back. Of course, Radke was injured. One could argue that Liriano is still rehabbing both physically and mentally, of course, if he isn't 100%, why is he back? He is still a kid, we don't need to rush him. However, since we traded Santana it seems like the Twins are trying to prove that we can live without him. Liriano was the key to that theory, too bad the key doesn't fit the lock. Send him down the the minors (the Twins have the best farm club in the nation anyway) and give him time. If we force it we risk mental and physical repercussions that will end his career.

Jon Bartsch: Well, I agree with exactly what they did: send him back down.  He was never right, and getting bashed by major league hitting every start isn't going to help anything.  They brought him up too fast, but that is obvious for anyone to say in hindsight.  With a talent like that, and Slowey going on the DL, you would have to be crazy to not think about bringing him up and hoping his instincts take over and make up for any velocity that isn't quite there in his pitches.  Unfortunately, Liriano  may need a long time in the minors to get back to where he was, or he may not get there at all...

Marty Andrade: Liriano isn't throwing his out pitch, the slider. Twins pitching coach Rick Anderson has him throwing a hard cutter rather than the slider to little effect. There's nothing about Liriano's pitching so far this year in either the majors or the minors which suggest to me he should be in a major league rotation. Liriano has to learn how to get batters out sans slider and high velocity fastball. The best place to accomplish this task will be in the minors, though I wouldn't mind seeing him in a mop-up role in the Twins bullpen.

Andrew Kneeland: It the start of the baseball season, I was stoked to land Liriano on my fantasy baseball team. He has since turned my good team into a horrible team. Six runs in two thirds innings? Are you serious? What the Twins did with Liriano is completely to my satisfaction. He needs to be in the minors, where he can regain his confidence and his devastating slider. Without the slider, Liriano really isn't Liriano. That pitch is what makes and breaks him, and without it, he really doesn't deserve to be in a major league uniform.

Speaking of pitching, list the ideal starting rotation in Minnesota.

Jon Grilz: My ideal starting rotation of Minnesota? I would have to say Nolan Ryan, Greg Maddux, Randy Johnson, Johann Santana and a clone of Nolan Ryan. Sadly, until we develop the technology to time travel and create clones, I don't think this one is going to happen. Until then, can we just pitch Hernandez every game and hope for the best? 

Jon Bartsch:

Liriano (once he's healthy)

Marty Andrade: Scott Baker, Nick Blackburn, Livan Hernandez, Boof Bonser and Brian Duensing (AAA Prospect).

Liriano needs some time in the minors, soon.  Slowey would replace Duensing when and if he comes back while I might consider Brian Bass at the back end of the rotation since that move wouldn't involve roster changes.  If Bonser continues to struggle, he might need to get downgraded to the bullpen.

When it comes to pitching the Twins have a lot of depth but no clear "Ace" yet.

Andrew Kneeland: Nothing is really working for the Twins this year. I am usually not one to throw out the season, but what better can Minnesota do besides rebuild this year? I say we let some AAA prospects make their debuts and get some major league experience as we try to play spoiler this year. Here's what my ideal rotation would look like:

Livan Hernandez
Scott Baker
Kevin Slowey
Brian Duensing
Francisco Liriano

Carlos Gomez is hitting .242 with only six RBI so far this season. He was highly thought of because of his speed, but his on-base-percentage is only .258. How should Minnesota deal with Go-Go Gomez?

Jon Grilz: How about fines for every crappy pitch he swings at? No, I think he would end up paying to play by the All-Star break. We just need to be patient. His RBIs don't matter because he is a lead-off batter. Only his runs matter. He is second on the team with 12. Mauer has 13 and he is the #2 batter. That doesn't work for me. Someone has to teach him how to be patient at the plate. If only we had a former batting champ on the team...

Jon Bartsch: Deal with the growing pains.  Carlos Gomez is an elite talent.  Not only does he have speed, he has tremendous athletic ability.  He has already impressed me with his glove and his arm in addition to his speed.  Hitting at the major league level may be the hardest tasks in all of sports, work with him daily and give him some time to develop a better batter's eye.

Marty Andrade: I loathe to say this, but Gomez needs some time in AAA.  All he's doing right now is using up service time and killing the run production of the Twins.  I rarely recommend keeping someone in the minors since teams often "soak" their prospects far too long, but Gomez has been overmatched by the level of pitching he's seeing.  I would go with Jason Pridie in center field for the time being. 

Andrew Kneeland: Simple solution. Send him to the minors until he can learn how to swing at a pitch. When he has accomplished that, send Gardy down to make sure. If Gardy is certain Gomez is ready for the Big Time again, send Sotty Ulger down to check Gomez out. Once everyone is convinced and happy that Gomez is indeed ready for the majors again, bring him on up and bench him for two weeks. Then you can let him lead-off again.

What is your take on the DH situation? Should Jason Kubel be given the job every day? Should he continue to split starts in the DH slot with Craig Monroe? Why?
Jon Grilz: Kubel is the only guy on the team besides Morneau that has double digit RBIs (13). He is also the only guy on the team besides Morneau that has more than 1 HR (3). Monroe has half the at-bats to go along with half the RBIs (6) and only 1 homerun. However, his BA is higher (.256 versus .250) and his slugging percentage is second only to Morneau. I think that the duty should be shared until a clear front runner can be picked. No reason not to give Monroe a chance. 
Jon Bartsch: Split em up, Kubel is emerging as a legitimate major league hitter (finally.)  But he can get very streaky, and still has work to do against lefties, Monroe offers a nice change of pace, and a right-handed bat with power potential that the Twins need desperately.  The HR porch seats at the Dome are not even worth sitting in anymore, unless you're expecting Morneau to go yard opposite field.
Marty Andrade: Kubel should be full time.  Monroe is past being useful; his stats are skewed by a single good game where he went 3-4 and enjoyed a 240 point increase in OPS.  Take out the beating Monroe delivered to Joe Blanton and he's hitting just .224.
What's funnier, Kubel has a higher OPS against left handed pitchers this year than Monroe does against the same.  So what's the point of platooning Monroe with Kubel when he falls short of doing the job? 
Andrew Kneeland: Another simple question which begs for a simple answer. Give Kubel the full time job. Only let Monroe get an occasional start if Kubel is on a horrific slump.
How would you rate the Johan Santana trade so far this season?
Jon Grilz: I'm still okay with it. Santana has had a solid start so far, but it isn't our starters that I am concerned about, it is our bats and our bullpen. We are one of the worst run producers in MLB and our bullpen, which used to be lights-out, is now doing everything they can just to avoid blowing a 5 run lead.
Jon Bartsch: Mediocre... we won't really know what we have for a couple more  years.  I'm happy with Gomez in center, and I love his ability to steal bases, but he has to get better at the plate eventually.  Mulvey has been impressive in the minors, although he hasn't really proven anything yet.  Humber may never regain his college form which made him such a highly regarded prospect before surgery.  Out of all the pitchers we got, I have the highest hopes for Deolis Guerra, a young right-hander with a huge upside.

And on the other side, the Mets clearly got a HUGE asset in Johan.  I hate to see him in any uniform but a Twins uniform because of what he can do on the mound, (and now with the stick, too.)  If we somehow could have convinced the Mets to trade us Jose Reyes or put Fernando Martinez in a package deal like the one we accepted, I'd like the Twins future a lot more, but such is life.  It was a trade that had to happen and I'm not overly disappointed with the results. 
Marty Andrade: All's well that ends well.
Andrew Kneeland: It was a necessary evil. Minnesota had to shot at being able to keep Santana, so we got the best we could. I could argue that we could have gotten a lot more, but I won't. It I value the trade based on what we got, right now I would say that the trade was an awful excuse of a trade. In the long-run, however, I think it will balance out a little more. 
If you think you're qualified as a Twins expert, or want ask a question to the experts, just e-mail me at:


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