Saturday, May 16, 2009

Bullpen? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Bullpen!

Time to make a change

After two late-inning blown games in New York, it's time to deem the Twins bullpen an official mess. But it's not just those two losses in New York that appropriate a move to help the team, it's the last two season's worth of poor relief pitching that dictate finding a solution -- and fast.

The Twins starting pitching is solidifying as the season moves along. The Big Five are getting quality starts and the offense is generating enough run support to allow the starters to stay in games much longer than, say, three years ago. This should translate into wins. Instead, it's translated into a .500 baseball team that can't beat anyone outside the division.

The solution may be trading an outfielder. Heck, the Twins have plenty of those. The Twins even have a bunch of catching prospects -- certainly some team is suddenly interested in the skills of Jose Morales. Perhaps a prospect pitcher should be called up (ala Johan Santana, who was a reliever early in his career) or (gasp!) trade for a solid reliever.

Or, better yet, it may be time to move Joe Nathan and spend less on the closer position while dispersing money paid him instead to four solid setup men. Billy Beane and Terry Ryan certainly would agree a closer could be found somewhere in the organization. Beane's long-held postulation that pitching one inning is an easier find than a setup or long reliever has been proven time and again by Ryan. Take a look at: (a) LaTroy Hawkins, (b) Eddie Guardardo and (c) Joe Nathan.

Let's trot out Anthony Swarzak, Kevin Mulvey, Brian Duensing or even Phillip Humber for some relief time. It's time for the Twins front office to act like it actually sees what the fans have been seeing for two years now.

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