Today, the Minnesota Twins made the roster move that everyone around the organization, as well as Twins Territory, was expecting. They moved Samuel Deduno out of the starting rotation. The move of Deduno was the obvious one, the less likely scenario that played out, was for whom Deduno would be ceding his spot to.
This afternoon it was revealed that Rochester Red Wings frontline starter, Yohan Pino would be getting the call. Pino, a 30-year-old minor league veteran will be getting his first call to the Minnesota Twins.
As a 21-year-old rookie, Pino started out in the Twins organization with the Elizabethon Twins in 2005. Looking back on a minor league career that has spanned stops through organizations affiliated with the Cleveland Indians, Toronto Blue Jays, Cincinnati Reds, and Minnesota Twins, Pino is ready for his moment.
Prior to his call up to the big club, Pino, a career 4.30 ERA pitcher through 6 seasons of Triple-A baseball, posted a 9-1 record with a 1.92 ERA. His strikeout to walk ratio checks in at 61/16 with a whip that resides at 0.934. By all accounts, Pino has been absolutely lights out on the farm for the Rochester Red Wings this season. With that being said, this move can’t go wrong; or can it?
For Twins fans, this particular roster shuffle comes at a very odd time, and on the heels of another very similar pitcher. Those familiar with the Rochester Red Wings and the Twins farm system may remember a pitcher by the name of Anthony Slama. Slama was a 39th round pick by the Twins in the 2006 Major League Baseball draft. He went on to have a fine minor league career, posting a 3.17 ERA over 5 seasons (a full run lower than that of Pino’s).
Unfortunately for Slama, the Twins also realized where his talent level was best served. His Major League ERA resides at 7.71 while his strikeout to walk ratio stands even. Slama was last seen at the Major League level in 2011 and left the Minnesota Twins organization after the 2013 season in hopes to rekindle his career through Independent Baseball.
While Pino and Slama don’t have direct correlations, the similarities remain stark. The issue that Twins fans have to sort out though is a very real one, what direction is this team going?
Heading into 2014, the Twins were projected cellar dwellers shooting for 100 losses. Through the first bit of the season, they find themselves fighting right around the .500 mark. Last week, Kendrys Morales was brought in on a one year free agent contract, essentially a vote from the front office to say, let’s capitalize on our unpredicted success. This thought process, and corresponding actions are what brings the Yohan Pino move into a gray area.
The Twins have done well to survive through one of the toughest parts of their schedule. Samuel Deduno and Kevin Correia (until his last two starts) have given the Twins an open door to move some pitchers around. Instead of making the call for Trevor May (2.77 ERA, 78/29 K/BB, 1.112 WHIP) or Alex Meyer (3.62 ERA, 76/30 K/BB, 1.330 WHIP), the Twins instead went for the journeyman with the lower ceiling.
While the summer has a lot left to it, and the call ups of two of the best pitching prospects the organization has seen in a long time is likely coming, the move today appears as little more than a head scratcher. As Twins fans clamor for the likes of Jose Berrios, Kohl Stewart, and Lewis Thorpe in the low minors, their days at Target Field seem even further off with roster moves like that of Yohan Pino.
Although the strategy of signing front running free agent types while promoting minor league caliber pitching talent doesn’t seem to mesh, Twins fans must once again be forced to trust in Terry Ryan. As the organization has seen through the years, there is always an equal amount of good and bad moves, the hope is that the bad doesn’t overshadow the good. While Yohan Pino being promoted in front of the big name prospects doesn’t look to hamper the organization, it also doesn’t do much to further it.
Twins Territory will have to go back to waiting, at least for now, to get their eyes on some of the prized arms that are going to be leaned on to return the Twins to their former glory.