Tommy Milone Back In The Minors?

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Thus far during the offseason, I have been operating under the belief that the Minnesota Twins have all but one spot in the starting rotation locked up, I believe that to be fact. To this point, I have been under the belief that Tommy Milone is the front-runner for said 5th spot, I believe that to be fact. What I haven’t taken a look at is what happens when he doesn’t win the job.

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Terry Ryan pulled off a great trade last summer when he sent Sam Fuld back to the team he was claimed off of waivers from, and in return got a major league quality pitching option in Milone. While Tommy didn’t pitch well for the Twins last year, he has shown he is a major league quality starter. However, before coming over to the Twins, he was in Triple-A for the Oakland Athletics.

In Spring Training, the Twins will likely give the slight edge to Tommy Milone when it comes to the starting rotation competition. Of the group, he has combined to have the best results and most experience. Both Trevor May and Mike Pelfrey will be trying to show that they are ready to settle in as quality starters for the Twins, and Alex Meyer will be hoping to show just how high his ceiling is. With those three arms, you can bet that Milone will have plenty of competition. So what happens if he loses?

Under the belief that Milone wins the 5th spot, I’ve slotted May going back to Triple-A with Pelfrey in a bullpen role, and Meyer likely destined for Triple-A as well. The more I think about it though, I don’t think the Twins want the 25-year-old Meyer down in Rochester any longer. If Milone doesn’t win the 5th spot, what if he is the man back in Triple-A?

In that scenario, Alex Meyer would lay claim to the 5th rotation spot, with Pelfrey pitching for the Twins out of the bullpen. Both May and Tommy Milone then would headline the Triple-A Rochester starting rotation. Last season, Milone was pretty vocal to the Athletics about toiling away down on the farm. Convinced he could contribute at the major league level, in what was a much better rotation than the Twins had, Milone consistently pushed for more. Could he find himself right back in the same situation?

At this point, I think it’s probably too early to speculate where everything is with the last rotation spot. However, things are going to quickly become clear once Spring Training starts. Despite projecting Milone for the final rotation spot, I’m warming up to the idea that it may actually be Meyer’s to lose, and Tommy could be headed back to the farm.

Next: Projecting The Twins Starting Rotation

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