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Trade Rumors: Jon Rauch and the Setup Spot


TORONTO — With the lastest chapter in the Matt Capps directed picture Distruction: The Story of the Twins Bullpen wrapping another successful night of shooting itself in the foot, question now arise as to what Minnesota should do to fix the problem.

At this juncture, its obvious that internal solutions are non-existent, therefore outside resources must be tapped.

An interesting choice would be Toronto Blue Jays relief man and former Twins Jon Rauch. That tattooed buffoon is rough around the edges of his personality but he wears that on his sleeves — and his neck, wrists chest and everywhere else.

One of the reasons he was let go this offseason was his surly attitude at times and distaste for him at times within the clubhouse. But desperate times call for desperate measures and with the Tigers looking to add a top notch guy like Ubaldo Jimenez, the Indians in first place and the Sox always a danger, this would qualify as desperate times.

Getting a closer, as the STrib’s Joe Christensen stated, is not the Twins focus. Adding another is beyond pointless as that would set up a situation where three guys are hungry for saves; three upcoming free agents if that third guy is San Diego’s Heath Bell.

Instead the Twins will be on the hunt for a setup man and getting Jon Rauch in this situation works.

It works because if he’s not liked it’ll most likely be because he’s taking a guys job or reiterating fan frustration. Even if it’s for reasons other than that, it’s not easy to overlook how successful he was with the Twins. He pitched in 76 games for the Twins in 2009 and 2010 combined and struck out 60 whilst saving 21 games (all in 2010). His current ERA is north of 4.00 in 38 apperances, but even that is an improvement on the current woes for the Twins bullpen. However, if the Twins don’t feel like Rauch is a good option, the list of possible relievers is deep, yet in high demand. Some other options for the Twins include:

Dotel is currently pitching with an ERA of 3.46 with 28 stikeouts in 31 apperances. Dotel hasn’t been credited with a loss since April 27th against Texas when is ERA was 4.70. He has since gone 23 straight appearances without a loss and has brought down his

ERA. He’s not the shutdown bullpen guy he once was, but he’s still got the potential to give the Twins bullpen a boost and some consistency that it lacks.

The most appetizing option Toronto has to offer. He has 41 appearances and his ERA is just 3.08. Frasor also has 9 holds this year and just two blown saves. His 32 strikeouts bests both Rauch and Dotel but because of this he may demand a slightly higher asking price. His 33 years of age is nice leverage for the Twins however.

He’s the youngest realistic option available for the Twins, but he’s also the riskiest. His ERA is south of 3.00 and his strikeout total of 28 is good, but he seems like he could fall into the woes of the current Twins bullpen. His last two apperances ended with Gregerson gettng the loss; he allowed 5 runs in his last appearance on July 14th against the Giants. Should the Twins acquire the 27 year old, he could get resigned at the end of the year as he fits the young mantra of the pitching staff.

Balfour is probably the best option for the Twins as he is everything Jon Rauch is (including a former Twins) but better. His ERA is 2.27 in 36 appearances and he has 38 strikeouts. More importantly Balfour has 15 holds this year and just 2 blown saves, the last of which coming May 22nd against the Giants. The only catch would be Oakland might milk Minnesota’s situation to sweeten the deal for themselves. But the Athletics and Twins have dealt before and another go around at it would benefit Minnesota greatly.