Monday, April 13, 2015

Twins Must Measure The Leash

MLB.com
Heading into the 2015 Major League Baseball season, there's no doubt that the Twins took some significant chances. While deciding to play it safe, at some point, the organization must push themselves in a better direction. Now through the first handful of games, it's fair to question just how long the leash is for a couple of players that were questionable roster inclusions in the first place.

Whether on the mound, in the field, or at the plate, the Twins have failed to get production out of a handful of players. Having a minor league system filled with top prospects and capable placeholders, aging veterans was probably never the ideal way to go. Looking to right the ship before it sinks, Minnesota and Paul Molitor will need to start making some tough decisions, and quickly.

In trying to figure out what options the Twins have, let's first take a look at who's playing themselves out of being an option:

Blaine Boyer

First and foremost, Boyer's name comes up. He has all but shown why he has bounced around a handful of major league teams in his career (even retiring for a two-year stint). In his three relief appearances on the season, he has failed to leave the game without giving up a run. With an ERA north of 15.00 and owning only one strikeout while giving up 11 hits across 3.0 innings, things aren't good. As a reliever, names like Michael Tonkin, A.J. Achter, Caleb Thielbar, and Ryan Pressly all appear to be far superior options. This experiment shouldn't have too much time left on it.

Mike Pelfrey

Maybe somewhat of a surprise inclusion, there's no doubt in my mind Pelfrey belongs in this grouping. After being spotted a four run lead against the White Sox, a meltdown inning allowed the White Sox to pull even with the Twins. Pelfrey gave up two home runs, while striking out just two in five innings of work. If the outing against the White Sox was the floor, we may be having a different discussion. Unfortunately, I think we have already seen Pelfrey's best outing of the year. After fighting his way into the rotation, I'm not sure the Twins move him back to the bullpen. It may be time to ask him to go to Rochester, or be on his way.

Jordan Schafer

While still early in the year, there's no doubt Schafer has proved incapable of the one aspect of his game he was included for...defense. Taking poor routes in the outfield, not commanding his corner fielders, and struggling to make the routine play, he's all but worn out his welcome in the outfield. At the plate, he has provided some positives, but there's no doubt his at bat against Chicago's David Robertson sums up his ability. With the Twins needing a hit, coming to the plate offering a bunt attempt on the first pitch, swinging at a bouncing ball on the second, and being completely overmatched on the third was an ugly look. Schafer's game is mainly focused around bunting, and owning up to that being a more likely way to get on than swinging, provides little to no faith. Aaron Hicks and Eddie Rosario are both far superior options until Byron Buxton arrives.

Although the argument could be made for a few more players that are preventing a more talented or higher ceiling option from being included on this club, they haven't yet played themselves out of a role. If the Twins want to turn the page on what has been an ugly opening to the 2015 season, making roster moves to correct the three misses above should happen sooner rather than later. There's no doubt the organization has options throughout the farm system, but it's up to them whether or not they want to utilize them.

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