Game Recap #138: Duplicates 3, Pale Hose 6

Bait and switch.

As we said the other day about Ricky Nolasco, the Tommy Milone the Twins thought they were getting is not the Tommy Milone they've gotten.  Granted. in Milone's case we're only dealing with five starts, but still.  The Twins had every right to think they were getting an average pitcher who was still young enough to improve a little.  Milone's first start was average, the next four have been awful.  As with Nolasco, I don't know what's wrong with him, and apparently neither do the Twins or Milone himself, or they'd be doing something about it.

It makes me wonder if the Athletics knew something about Milone, that they were willing to trade him for no more than Sam Fuld.  He'd been pitching well enough in Oakland when they sent him down, but he was bad in AAA Sacramento and he's been bad in Minnesota.  It's far too early to give up on him, of course, but that trade, which looked so good when it was made, looks worse every time Milone goes out there.

We said in yesterday's cup of coffee that someone should explain why it was necessary to place Samuel Deduno and His Magical Zoomball on waivers a few days before rosters expanded, and yet we still have room on the forty-man roster for Doug Bernier.  I want to go into that a little more, because the more I think about it, the less sense it makes.  There are only two possible reasons to make that move:  we needed to make room for someone on the twenty-five man roster immediately, or we needed to make room for someone on the forty-man roster.  Neither of those appears to be the case.

There was no burning need to bring up Aaron Thompson.  For one thing, he wasn't exactly blowing people away in Rochester, and for another he's pitched a grand total of 1.1 innings and that was in a blowout loss.  I know Gardy said he wanted another left-hander in the pen, but come on.  It's not like the Twins are fighting for a playoff spot.  What would it have hurt to wait until September 1 to bring up Thompson?  Nothing.

There was obviously no need to make room on the forty-man roster, either, or Doug Bernier would not be on it.  Nothing personal against Bernier, who's probably a really nice guy for all I know, and we all love the story of a career minor-leaguer who finally gets his chance, but come on.  He's a thirty-four-year-old journeyman middle infielder who can't hit.  Guys like that are a dime a dozen.  If they had a need for a light-hitting glove man, they could have simply brought up Pedro Florimon.  There is simply no argument to be made that it's more important to have Bernier on the forty-man roster than to have Deduno there.

You may be asking, "Why are you making such a big deal out of this?  It's not like Deduno was anything great."  And you're right, he's not.  In the grand scheme of things, losing Samuel Deduno and His Magical Zoomball probably will make no difference whatsoever.  But the reason I make a big deal out of it is that, to me, losing a Deduno for no reason shows an overall organizational sloppiness and lack of attention to detail that's annoying to me.

I remember reading Earl Weaver's book about baseball years ago.  he wrote that one of the hardest decisions he had to make was deciding who the twenty-fifth man on the roster ought to be.  He'd be up all night thinking about it, playing out various scenarios in his mind, trying to figure out whether it was going to be more important to have and extra arm in the bullpen, or to have a power bat to come off the bench, or to have a defensive specialist, or to have a speedy pinch-runner.  The point he was making is that, to him, each spot on the twenty-five man roster was extremely important, each man on the team had a role to play in helping the team win, and each spot on the roster was far too valuable to be wasted.

The Twins, by their decisions, don't appear to look at it that way.   They don't seem to lose any sleep at all over who the last man on the roster should be.  They seem to look at the twenty-fifth spot on the roster and say, "Ah, what the heck.  It probably won't make any difference who the twenty-fifth guy is anyway.  Let's use that roster spot to keep this guy around.  He can't really play ball, but he's a nice guy.  We like him.  Besides, it's the last spot on the roster.  No one expects him to do anything anyway."

That's not how good organizations do things.  And that's true whether we're talking about a corporation, a church, or a ball club.  Good organizations pay attention to detail.  They make sure they get the little things right, because they know that someone who can't be bothered to get the little things right probably won't get the big things right, either.  If you've ever read anything about management or leadership, you know that every expert on the subject says that there is no such things as an unimportant person in an organization.  Every person working for you has some role to play in making the organization a success, from the janitor to the CEO.  I'm not saying it always works that way in practice, but that's what a good organization strives to do.

Again, the point is not that this move is a disaster for the Twins.  It's possible that Deduno and his Magical Zoomball will do absolutely nothing for Houston or for anyone else.  The point is that the Twins gave up a perfectly acceptable groundskeeper who could make a spot start if he had to, they got nothing in return for him, and they gave him up for no reason whatsoever.  They did that because somebody couldn't be bothered to pay attention.  They did it because they decided it was a little thing that didn't really matter anyway.  That's just sloppy.  It shows a lack of attention to the details, and it does not speak well for the Twins organization.

Tonight the Twins send out another pitcher who's been pretty awful in a small sample size, as Trevor May goes against John Danks.  Danks isn't very good either, and the Twins have had some success against him this year.  On paper, it looks like a high-scoring game so, this being baseball, it'll probably be 1-0.  That's okay, as long as the Twins have the one.  Two-dozen games left.  We'll just have to settle for 84-78!

7 thoughts on “Game Recap #138: Duplicates 3, Pale Hose 6”

  1. It makes me wonder if the Athletics knew something about Milone, that they were willing to trade him for no more than Sam Fuld.

    Actually, the A's traded for a bunch of starting pitchers and sent Milone to AAA to make room for them. He demanded a trade after being sent down, so the A's got what they could for him. Milone is a pitcher the A's typically would value more than other teams, a guy that gets outs despite having underwhelming stuff. I like the fact the Twins overlooked his underwhelming stuff. Hopefully, he'll start getting back to the pitcher he was in his first 468 2/3 innings of his career instead of what he's done in 20 2/3 innings with the Twins.

    1. Well, on the other hand, the fact that they traded for a bunch of starting pitchers when they already had Milone may tell us something. But as I said, it's far too early to give up on him. It'd sure be nice if he'd show us something, though.

      1. Mostly it tells us that the A's needed playoff-quality starters, and Milone isn't one. But he's not a bad pitcher. Supposedly. The A's are gearing for a deeper playoff run and have traded up for that.

        1. I think the book is still open as to whether Jason Hammel is or will be an improvement over Milone for the A's.

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