Rocco Baldelli explains why Twins demoted Edouard Julien

The Twins manager admits demoting Edouard Julien wasn't an easy decision to make
Minnesota Twins v Chicago White Sox
Minnesota Twins v Chicago White Sox / Nuccio DiNuzzo/GettyImages

It's been a strangely bittersweet week for the Minnesota Twins. Late Sunday night it was essentially confirmed that Royce Lewis would be making his triumphant return to the lineup, something that rang true on Tuesday in just about every way.

The flipside of the annoucement that Lewis would finally be coming back was news that Edouard Julien would be getting sent down to Triple-A St. Paul to make room on the roster. Further adding to the mixed emotions of the week was the fact that Minnesota lost 5-1 in Lewis' first game back despite the fact that he reached base three times including on a solo home run.

Julien losing his roster spot was a bit of a surprise, even if it made some sense after taking a tep back.

He wasn't having the best season by any means but he was hardly the worst hitter in the clubhouse and was taking some positive steps forward defensively. Still, he was the weakest of the young group of players the Twins have on the active roster and a trip to St. Paul might do him some good.

Julien has been struggling all season to find consistency. He's shown flashes but he's also leading the league in non-swinging strikeouts, was hitting .182 over his final seven days with the team, and went 5-for-38 over the last 16 games.

As Rocco Baldelli put it, none of that made the decision to demote him any easier to make.

Rocco Baldelli admits demoting Edouard Julien wasn't an easy decision for Twins to make

Ahead of Lewis making his re-introduction on Tuesday, Baldelli spoke about the decision to send Julien down to Triple-A. He hinted at some silver lining to the situation that others have pointed out, but made sure to note that nothing about the decision was taken lightly.

"[The decision was] hard, because there was actual discussion to be had, but also it ended up becoming clear that of all possible decisions that you can make, that that was the right one for this time," Baldelli said.

The upside to sending Julien down, beyond what it might do for him in the long run this season, is that it's a reflection of how talented the Twins core of young players is at the moment. Jose Miranda and Trevor Larnach had seemingly been played out of meaingful roles but both have found a groove that has made them critical pieces of the lineup.

Miranda has impressed the most, as he's almost completely washed away how poorly last season went and has recaptured the magic he had in 2022. After hitting .211/.263/.303 with a .566 OPS, Miranda is slashing .280/.311/.469 and has already doubled his home run total from a year ago.

Larnach replaced Matt Wallner, who bumped him out of a role last season, and has thrived. He's batting .270 so far this year with a .870 OPS and has found a role in both the outfield platoon and as DH depending on the day.

Even Alex Kirilloff, who struggled with injuries and up-and-down play last year, has shown a ton of improvement even if he's lagging behind how wonderfully Miranda and Larnach are playing. All of that is to say Julien's demotion is less about how he's failing this year and more about how much better everyone else in his bracket is doing.

There's no doubt that Julien will be able to recapture his offensive magic in St. Paul, and once he does it will only further emphasize how strong Minnesota's youth movement is.

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