Puddle Jumping: Clint Robinson, Nick Johnson, Thornton and Penny


Last week was a struggle for me plain and simple, but there was a silver lining. By casting more attention to other aspects of my life, I had to step back from my writing and that allowed me to recharge my batteries a bit. It was a needed respite, though I wish it hadn’t come as a result of one of my kids being sick.

Yesterday I got back on the writing horse by knocking out an article that has been on the back burner for a while. Tonight I thought it would be a great time to jump in some puddles.

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Justin Morneau returned to action in a “B” game today and Chris Parmelee has impressed me thus far by hitting 0.273/.333/.636 through his first 5 spring games. Still, it never hurts to keep tabs on players who are blocked or in danger of being squeezed out of a career in other organizations.

When fully healthy, Justin Morneau is one of the best and most complete 1B in all of baseball so his return to game action today is obviously a great sign. Twins fans everywhere were able to breath a small sigh of relief. Hopefully in the coming days Morneau will remain symptom free and we will all be able to fully exhale.

However, if Morneau’s return to health is delayed it might be worth making a call to Dayton Moore to check in on the availability of Clint Robinson. Like Parmelee, Robinson got his first taste of AA in 2010 so in terms of competition faced they are in the same camp. However Clint is more advanced, three years older and coming off a breakout season. As I mentioned above, C-Parm has impressed me so far this spring, but I don’t think many out there would argue with the assertion that he still needs to spend another year or two (at least) in the minors.

Clint Robinson could be the bridge, if needed, to get the Twins from Morneau to Parmelee. If Morneau is able to stay healthy and on the field, Robinson could certainly give Minnesota more depth and options as they look toward the future.

It’s all wonderful in theory but of course the primary question in all of this is what the Royals would want in return and if that price would be worth paying.

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The Cleveland Indians picked up their own 1B option in recent days by signing veteran Nick Johnson to a minor league contract with the chance to earn $750,000 if he makes the team. This is a curious move for the Indians. Projected starting 1B, Matt LaPorta, is entering what is likely a make or break year. He doesn’t need to be looking over his shoulder at any point during this season and it’s not like Cleveland is playing for anything this season.

An oft-injured 32-year old bat is far from the answer for the Indians. Johnson is currently working his way back from a wrist injury and doesn’t figure to be ready for game action until after the season starts. Even when he returns if LaPorta is swimming and Travis Hafner occupies the DH slot in the lineup, his playing time will be sparse or he will be in AAA. Considering Johnson has averaged just 49 games played over the last 4 seasons he’s far from a sure bet to get OR stay on the field.

Indians fans may view this as a good signing, I view it as a waste of time and money.

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Matt Thornton continued the high dollar multi-year contract bonanza for relievers this week. Unlike other teams that have thrown this type of deal around this offseason, the White Sox spent their money on one of the best non-closers in the game. As much as I’d like to say otherwise, this was a good move for the Southsiders and a bad move for me as a Twins and Royals fan.

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Want to complain about the back of the Twins rotation? At least Minnesota’s not banking on Brad Penny being both effective and healthy. Good luck with that Tigers fans …