It was for both me and the Twins. I was busy moving out of my summer room and bringing everything across campus to my new room for the fall. But the Twins had even more on their plate, as they made a series of moves that involved acquiring two new players, completing a trade, sending down two players, calling up one, and DLing another.
I'll start with the bad news, and that's that the Twins lost Yohan Pino to the Indians. Pino turned out to be the player-to-be-named in the deal for Carl Pavano. This certainly makes the deal less appealing than it was a month ago, when I figured they wouldn't be relinquishing someone who's pitching pretty well in AAA right now. In fact, I may have been clamoring for Pino to move into the fifth spot in the rotation if he were still here.
Pino had been a solid prospect until this year, but he really started to impress me in both AA and AAA this year. He struck out over a batter per inning in AA and had four strikeouts for ever walk, culminating in an 3.19 ERA and 2.99 FIP. In AAA, his strikeouts dropped to 7.76 K/9, but he lowered his walks to keep his K:BB rate at an even 4.0. His ERA and FIP were still still strong too, at 2.82 and 3.45 respectively.
There were some red flags, though, as he got a very low percentage of groundballs, and yet had a home run rate well below league average. This was particularly the case in Rochester. There, he induced only 31.6% groundballs, and also had a home run per fly ball rate of just 6.6%. Overall, though, I'm sorry to see him go.
The second move was one we all could see coming for a while: Joe Crede was placed on the Disabled List. Somehow he had avoided the DL to this point in 2009, despite facing a myriad of injuries that included everything except a bruised testicle (a la Adrian Beltre). He finally succumbed from a back injury related to post-operative changes there, whatever that means.
In his stead, the Twins have called on Jose Morales for the third time this season. I suspect they simply wanted him available for the play-off roster, and figured they could make do with being short on infield subs until September 1st when rosters expand. Morales, of course, deserves the opportunity to play in the bigs and hopefully he'll showcase the skills necessary to make him Joe Mauer's backup next season.
And finally there were the two new acquisitions: Ron Mahay and Jon Rauch. The Twins picked up Mahay for some spare change and that's just about all he's worth. Someone at Fangraphs accurately described him as "left-handed and breathing". He was decent at best the last two years, and this year he's been pretty awful. His ERA has always been fairly pretty, and it still looks okay in 2009, but his FIP is 5.80 and he's continued to walk batters at a rate of over 4 per inning. The big jump this year has been in his hit rate, as he's given up 55 in just 41.1 inning versus less than one per inning for his career. While I don't expect him to be an improvement at all, he probably can't be much worse than the likes of Phil Humber and Bobby Keppel.
Speaking of Humber, he was sent down to AAA along with Armando Gabino to make room on the roster for Rauch and Mahay. Rauch is more promising than Mahay, as he has been better this year and had a few very nice years with the Nationals. He hasn't pitched in the American League before, though, so it remains to be seen if he will be as effective in the more hitter-friendly environment.
As I predicted earlier in the week, Gabino will not make another start or even another appearance (although it's possible he gets another shot in September). As such, the Twins have chosen Jeff Manship to take the final spot in the rotation. He shouldn't get too attached, though, as Minnesota's shown a willingness to pull the plug quickly on the young guys who don't come through.
Oh, and with all that going on, the Twins managed to win their game Friday night by the score of 3-2, behind a wonderful 7-inning gem from Brian Duensing. Yes, Brian Duensing.
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