SAN DIEGO — The Twins bullpen got a little weaker on Sunday as news came down that Pat Neshek had been claimed by the San Diego Padres.
There is a lot to this story, one being the Twins didn’t trade Neshek; they waived him. He will join two former Twins in San Diego: Jason Bartlett and Orlando Hudson. This move is a complete one sided move as the Padres, who were also looking for depth in their bullpen, have added a guy that can go out there and act as both a setup man or a middle relief guy.
The Twins on the other hand, either made a egregious mistake, or feel confident that the bullpen they have can win games down the stretch. The setup role will be filled by Matt Capps, but its middle and long relief pitching that the Twins needed and couldn’t afford to giveaway. There is reasoning, however, as to why the Twins would be willing to part ways with Neshek.
Despite starting out his Twins career with pretty solid numbers, Neshek missed the entire 2009 season after having reconstructive elbow surgery. Prior to that, he was a top setup man for the Twins, posting a 2.19 ERA in 2006 and 2.94 ERA in ’07. Neshek also spent most of last year in Triple-A Rochester and when he was called up late last year, he wasn’t as lights out as Twins fans remembered.
His reliability was gone. He was now, instead, a liability on the mound.
So when all is said and done, parting ways with Neshek based on those facts makes it little easier to swallow. It’s not like we cut Joe Nathan or anything.
But the part that is hard to grasp is just giving Neshek up. The Twins must have tried to trade him but when all is said and done with that, the Twins got nothing in return that will have any impact in the bullpen. Thats an area the Twins were bleeding perfusely from and that wound just got a lot bigger. Neshek’s departure frees up about 6k for the Twins to play around with, but with piychers being in short supply, Minnesota will need more than six thousand dollars to get a man who can fix the hole in the bullpen that is bigger than the holes in the metrodome roof.
But Twins GM Bill Smith is confident in his choice and is wishing Neshek the best. “It’s a good opportunity for him [going to San Diego]. It was leaning toward him being one of the odd guys out in the bullpen.” Neshek will be pitching in the pitchers Heaven that is PETCO Park, where even Mark Prior looked respectable.
When all is said and done, the Twins must be confident in the guys they have in the pen now and the guys who will be new callups. It’s hard to get angry or frustrated about a player moving like this when the season hasn’t even started. Besides, it did appear as though Neshek’s days as a reliable setup man were over. Nevertheless, if the Twins bullpen struggles, and Pat Neshek revives his career with the Padres, the waiving of the righty may come back to bite the Twins where they don’t want to be bitten.