Thursday, April 12, 2007

Heintz Down, Perkins Up...Big Move?

The Minnesota Twins made a roster move after last night's 5-1 victory over the New York Yankees. They sent down third catcher Chris Heintz and called up Glen Perkins. Perkins will work out of the pen, and may not be with the big league club for more than a week or so unless someone like Ponson decides to skip a start or two for the local Chinese buffet.

This may not seem as one of those "key" moves that an organization makes, but I think it's a lot bigger than many people may think. First off, it offers the Twins more flexibility and depth out of the pen. Perkins is another left hander, and with Reyes not pitching well so far this year. Reyes has given up as many earned runs this year in 5 games as he did in 66 games last year. However, I don't fault Reyes for all of his struggles as I think he's been misused so far this year. He's not this team's "mop up" man, which he seemed to be in Tuesday's 10-1 loss to New York. I think the struggles of Reyes had a lot to do with Perkins being called up rather than a guy like Matt Garza.

The reason why I feel as though Garza wasn't recalled is because I think this organization feels a lot more comfortable with Perkins coming out of the pen than they do Garza. Garza is essentially this team's 6th starter. If anyone falters, or if Ponson continues to struggle, Garza is probably the man that will replace him. However, that doesn't mean that Perkins isn't right there with Garza in that respect. In my opinion, Garza is "6a" on the pitching depth chart, with Perkins being "6b."

Also, another aspect that may have impacted the decision is comparing their two starts at Rochester respectively. While Garza didn't allow an earned run in his first start, he still walked five batters while striking out 3. Compare that to Perkins and his 6 brilliant innings, I think it made the choice a little easier in that aspect also.

However, the biggest impact that this roster move may have on this team is that Jason Kubel may actually start becoming an everyday player for this organization. Gardenhire loves playing matchups, but there is no reason why a guy like Kubel, who hit well in spring training and showed the dedication during the offseason to become a better player, shouldn't be playing everyday for this team. Kubel hit .343/.398/.560 in 350 AB's at Rochester in 2004 before injuring his knee that fall. It's obvious that the kid can hit, and it's just a matter of his manager staying behind him and remaining confident in him.

The reason why the demotion of Heintz being sent down is so crucial in this scenario is that Gardy now cannot DH Mike Redmond when Joe Mauer is behind the plate. Gardy no longer has the flexibility of playing both of those guys at the same time now that Heintz has been sent down. It's either play one or the other, or rely on someone like Justin Morneau to be your emergency catcher. Yikes!

That should, hopefully, open up the way for Jason Kubel to either be the Twins everyday DH or LF'er, depending on how Gardy feels on that given day. Kubel's a better hitter than Redmond, Tyner, & Rabe, who are his main competitors for those two spots. It's just up to Gardy and Co. to realize that, and allow Jason Kubel to take off like we all expected him to before he severely injured his knee.

No comments: