After a month in the majors Colabello is back in Triple-A. (Photo Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports)

Quad-A Cursed? Twins Chris Colabello Optioned to Rochester

On Friday, Chris Colabello was optioned back to Rochester to make space for Ryan Doumit’s return from a concussion. Colabello was starting to hold his own in the Majors with a .288/.403/.538 triple split and four homers and seven RBIs over his previous 17 games. Now he’ll start playing again in Triple-A, even though he has nothing left to prove there, owning the lead in numerous offensive categories. This begs the question, will Colabello ever be back for good with the Twins or will he become a “Quadruple-A player?”

Whether it is simply bad timing based on a collection of players falling into the category, or a system wide problem cropping up with the Twins, several players are in danger of officially being labeled Quad-A players. Simple enough, AAAA players are those who dominate Triple-A, but can’t seem to stick in the Majors. Somehow they can’t handle big league pitching/hitters or can’t carve their own place on the team and get sent back down to Triple-A, even though they really have nothing left to prove at that level.

With regards to the Twins, they have several starting pitchers who have earned call-ups and the opportunity win a consistent starting job, only to get demoted after poor performances. P.J. Walters leads the charge as a pitcher who has performed well enough in Rochester but performed poorly with the Twins both this year and 2012. Pedro Hernandez started the year off as the 5th Twins starter but couldn’t stick with the club after a couple of awful outings. After his very solid spot start in the Twins recent doubleheader against the White Sox, you have to hope the Liam Hendricks avoids becoming a Quad-A pitcher after so-so results with the Twins in recent years. Are these pitchers left to bounce back and forth between Rochester and Minnesota for a couple of seasons? The book might be closed on Walters already but Hendricks and Hernandez might still prove valuable to the Twins.

Promoted starters have much more control over their destinies than hitters do. Pitch well every fifth day and they’ll likely continue to pitch every fifth day, even if it forces a rotation shuffle. Promoted hitters are much more restricted and seem to have much more pressure put on them to perform well or risk demotion. This situation makes it much more likely for a fielder/hitter to fall or be pushed into the 4A category, rather than play themselves into it. They could be way down on the depth chart at their position, given only spot starts here and there. If they don’t hit well in the few at bats they get, they look like they are scuffling, though they were never given the chance to find a rhythm. This scenario plays true for Chris Parmelee, who has great Triple-A career numbers but can’t seem to even buy a place on the Twins major league roster. He rightfully started the year as the RF but I still got the feeling he was being given a short leash that continually got shorter with his slow start at the plate. Then Oswaldo Arcia and Clete Thomas started to take his at bats away (Arcia I can understand as a hot-hitting prospect, but veterans like Clete Thomas should backup younger guys like Parmelee). Then by the All-Star break he was sent down to Rochester, all but unused on the Twins roster.

Parmelee was shipped back to Rochester primarily due to a lack of performance, but Colabello’s demotion was a result of limited roster space. Doumit’s return meant someone had to go. Both scenarios are common to guys who get the Quad-A label attached to their careers.

I like both Colabello and Parmelee but I feel that Parmelee just isn’t in the future plans for the Minnesota Twins. He hasn’t performed well enough in the unfairly short opportunities the Twins have given him and he appears to be running out of options. This is especially true if the Twins re-sign Justin Morneau this offseason. With a future 1B job off the table, I fear Parmelee might drift away from the organization and find a new team where he starts putting up some very respectable big league numbers.

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  • Mike Garone

    Its just a shame .. What the Org is doing to Collabello.. has a hitting streak going Gardy sits him for 2 games .. he get on base.( walks). hits up the middle and other way .while the team had a chance early in the season they let Hicks & Parmelle hit 200 .. month after month .. while Colabello had great WBC and Triple Crown numbers at AAA .. I think Gardy is the problem .. something is just not right . I’m not close enough to the team.. but if someone peeled back this Onion something sinks.. Maybe someone in the media ??? bring in someone from N.Y or Boston they would find out..Not to worry Cola will end up in Oakland or Tampa .. Org’s that know how to find and develop talent

    • Wally Fish

      Mike -
      Thanks for the comment and thanks for reading! I was disappointed that they sent Colabello back down instead of just cutting ties with a player like Wilkin Ramirez (who is out of options), but I can’t classify anything the organization has done with CC as a shame.

      They are they ones that gave him a chance after all and he will surely be back up after rosters expand in a couple of weeks. I seriously doubt he will wind up in a different organization anytime soon as the Twins control his rights through 2018 and I don’t see them just releasing him anytime soon. That works in CC’s favor as well since he should have a chance at major league playing time with the Twins in 2014.

      Oakland and Tampa certainly can find and develop talent but let’s not dismiss that they passed on CC for years just like the other 27 teams in MLB. It was the Twins that recognized his talent in the Canadian-American Association and gave him a shot at affiliated ball. They found and further developed him and we shouldn’t lose sight of that just because he will be in Triple-A for a few weeks.

      As far as what stinks, just take a good look at the roster. There are far too many underachievers and fringe guys. Only a select few are truly earning their playing time. Gardy’s trying to mix and match on a daily basis and he’s not the only one involved in the decisions on who comes up and who gets sent down.

      Whether or not Gardy will or should be the manager in 2014 is certainly up for discussion and debate but there is only so much a manager can do when handed the 40-man roster he’s had to work with this year.

      Hopefully Terry Ryan will be active this winter in his efforts to overhaul the roster.

      • Mike Garone

        What A great reply thanks !.. not trying to be funny.( calmed me down). Just became a Huge Colabello fan @ WBC ..then went to youtube and found him working in batting cage ( then his #’s at me.. so with a team hitting so poorly, why Colabello.. ?? just something sinks I’m a twins fan for 45 years ..and I’m proud of Org..what got my attention was how long it took to bring him up, then what they did to him the 1st time he came up.. think he is an inspiration to baseball and the team .. need more like him in the game. think gardy can have his pets and Cola maybe made him look bad..?? just a silly fans reaction ..or maybe some truth? ..just wish someone in the twins media would push Gardy or Ryan a bit more … I know , its the Midwest
        Ps love reading your stuff .. very cool !

        • Wally Fish

          CC is certainly a very easy guy to root for and I’ve become a fan of him as well. Agree that he is an inspiration and I’m pulling for him to carve out a successful big league career with the Twins.

      • Mike Garone

        Here’s my problem with Gardy.. he asked Ryan for speed and wanted to be very aggressive on base paths… never happened . also Gardy is very close with Polands.. that why he still mgr .. not sure its the right message to players , fans etc.. then after two horrible seasons ( no matter what team he has) .. he may be re-signed as mgr.. My feeling is we need a Larry Bowa type .!. think you can get a lot more out of the players.. just seem to be sleep walking at times..
        Ps Ryan has been quoted as say’in that Gardy is involved in all roster moves ..

        • Wally Fish

          Mike –

          That’s a very fair and reasoned take on things. I personally love Gardy as a manager (he looks like a genius compared to the managers the Royals have employed). That said, I do think we may be reaching the point where a change of scenery is necessary for both parties similar to the recent parting of ways between the Phillies and Charlie Manuel.

          In reading various quotes recently I think Gardy is coming to that conclusion, or he is at least prepared if the Twins let him go.

          Ryan is a quality GM so I’m sure he includes his manager in all roster discussions. I think CC’s jaunt back to Rochester was a tough decision for both of them but I’m confident he will be back up in a few weeks and hopefully will get a ton of playing time in September to sink or swim.