After last nights 6-2 loss to the Angels at Target Field the Twins record stands at 8-22 (.267) and the team is 9 games out of first place after having played just 30 games. After the game the Twins announced that 3B Danny Valencia was optioned to AAA Rochester, pitcher Francisco Liriano was sent to the bullpen and that reliever Matt Maloney was designated for assignment.
In turn the Twins called up 26-year-old Darin Mastroianni from Rochester. The Twins had picked up Mastroianni on waivers from the Blue Jays this past February. Mastroianni started the season in AA New Britain where he played outfield in just 9 games hitting .143 before being promoted to AAA Rochester where he has hit .346 in 20 games and has stolen 10 bases in 11 attempts. In his 20 games in Rochester, Mastroianni has played in the outfield 15 times and played second base on 5 occasions. I have to say that I don’t understand this call-up at all, why do the Twins need another outfielder when they already have Willingham, Span, Plouffe, Komatsu, Parmelee and Doumit? And, what about Revere? This move just makes no sense to me at all. Where and when are they going tp play Mastroianni and who do they have as a back-up infielder besides Plouffe? This is crazy.
To replace Liriano in the starting rotation the Twins called up PJ (Phillip Dewayne) Walters. Walters is a former 11th round pick of the Cardinals in 2006 and has seen brief big league action with the Cards in 2009-2011 and he also appeared in one game for the Blue Jays in 2011 after being traded in a big 8-player trade with St. Louis in July of 2011. The Twins signed Walters as a free agent this past December. The 6’4″ 200 pound right-handed Walters has started 6 games for Rochester and is 3-1 with an ERA of 2.70, a 1.17 WHIP with 25 strikeouts in 33.1 innings.
It is about time that Liriano has been sent to the bullpen but why call up Walters when you could have just swapped Liriano out for Brian Duensing in the bullpen? Granted, Duensing has been solid in the bullpen but he has big league starting experience while Walters has started 4 games with St. Louis.
Sending Valencia down makes sense as he has not played like a big league third baseman for some time either in the field or with a bat. Some time in Rochester might be just what Valencia needs for a wake-up call.
I know the Twins need to make some moves because they don’t want to announce before Memorial Day that they are already out of the running and ready to go into full-blown rebuilding mode but I would sure like to know how they explain the Mastroianni call-up. This reeks of a panic move. Just announce that the team is in fire sale mode and let’s move on, you certainly will not shock anyone with that announcement. I am sure that some Twins bloggers will call this another negative Twins story but I will argue this is just being realistic, this is one bad Twins team and the sooner it is broken up and a rebuilding effort is put in motion the better off we will all be. To this point the Twins have not used the rebuilding word claiming that once all their injured players came back that they would be in the hunt again, that was a line of bull last winter and it remains so today. Come on Mr. Ryan, throw us a bone and at least give us some hope here.