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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Dire Straits

Things have gone from bad to worse for the Twins in the last week or so. Being no-hit by Jered Weaver and one-hit by King Felix and the Mariners bullpen, while frustrating are simply two more losses in a season that is quickly spiraling out of control for the Twins. The team currently sits at 7-19, a full four games behind the next worse team in the AL and there is no reason to believe things will get better in the coming weeks.

Justin Morneau has hit the DL due to the reemergence of a wrist issue that required surgery in the off-season. To compensate the Twins will call-up Rochester prospect Brian Dozier. There was talk of Dozier making to big-league club out of spring training after impressing with both bat and glove. His hot start carried over into the beginning the season at Rochester but has since slowed down and is hitting just .250 in his last ten AAA games.

The Twins also announced that they will recall Scott Diamond in an effort to improve their consistently struggling pitching. In six starts this season Diamond has pitched himself to a 4-1 record with a 2.60 ERA and 26 strikeouts through 34.2 innings pitched. Despite this hot start there is little reason to believe Diamond will be able to carry this over into the big leagues and I don’t think he will represent much of an improvement over the current Twins starting rotation. Diamond was given some experience at the big league level. In 39 innings pitched in 2011 Diamond was 1-5 with a 5.08 ERA and a WHIP of 1.74. Diamond managed just 4.4 SO/9 at the big league level – hardly the overpowering stuff the Twins rotation so sorely lacks.

With the Twins 7.5 games back after a month of the season, May will be a critical month for the 2012 club. After Sunday’s rubber game against the Mariners, the Twins will play 15 of their next 23 games at Target field, against slightly less tough opposition than their brutal opening month schedule. If the Twins continue to struggle expect the house cleaning to begin. By the all-start break the Twins roster could look significantly different with certain players becoming trade bait for teams in need. Denard Span is a name who has been mentioned and after his strong start may well find himself in a different uniform by the trade deadline. The Twins have to be careful if they pursue this route as Span is signed to a team friendly 4 year deal, the Twins need to acquire good value in areas of need for the organization, something that was sorely lacking in trades carried out in the Bill Smith era. Between potential forthcoming trades and excellent draft position this year, the Twins have a great opportunity to begin strengthening a mediocre farm system and build for the future.

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