The Terry Doyle Era has officially ended. Yesterday the Minnesota Twins returned Doyle to the Chicago White Sox after failing to work out a trade that would allow them to retain their Rule 5 pick without keeping him on the Major League roster. The Twins liked Doyle’s control and his genius-level math skills, but his performance this spring made it clear that the team could not justify letting him occupy a 25 man roster spot all year. Doyle pitched to a 16.88 and an otherworldly 3.19 WHIP this spring in three starts, including an absolute disaster against the Pirates in which he gave up double digit runs in less than an inning.
Perhaps Doyle was over-matched by Big League competition, having never pitched above AA ball. Or maybe his Boston College math education meant that he was bored by small numbers and his brain challenged him to rack up bigger ones. We’ll never know for sure.
On one hand, we should not be upset by the loss of a Rule 5 pick, because that draft rarely produces any star talent. Taking it further, we should be thrilled that the Twins did not unload a promising prospect to keep Doyle like they did for Scott Diamond last year. On the other hand, though, Doyle represents another missed opportunity for a team that has blown several recent chances to improve its farm system (dare me to bring up the Matt Capps signing again?).
Some intelligent, reputable sportswriters recognized from the beginning that Doyle was not likely to contribute anything to the Twins. Not only were Doyle’s stats unimpressive in the minors (word to the wise, Twins: if a pitcher can’t strike out more than 6 batters per inning at AA, that rate is not going to get any better in the Majors!), he did not fill any niche that the Twins do not already have. We probably use the phrase “pitch to contact” a little too much, but that’s because nearly every starting pitcher the Twins have is a P2C guy.
Before the Rule 5 Draft, Puckett’s Pond identified a few players the Twins might consider selecting in that draft, and I would still argue that many of those players would have made a better choice than Doyle. It’s tough to compare them so far, because many are playing in Major League camp right now. But middle infielders Greg Miclat and Tyler Kuhn are. Kuhn hit .222 in nine at bats for Chicago before being sent to the minor league camp. Miclat, who was drafted by the Rangers, is hitting .250 and still alive in the hunt to become the Rangers’ utility man. We’ll try to bring some updates on their performance from time to time, because every fan loves looking back at personnel moves – especially the bad ones that make us shake our heads and swear that we could do better ourselves.
In the meantime, we would like to wish Doyle luck in his career…. but he’s on the White Sox. So, a compromise: Puckett’s Pond wishes him a successful rise to the Major Leagues, and extra luck when he is pitching against the Tigers or Indians, but we sincerely hope that luck abandons him against the Twins!