First, a note. If you haven’t noticed, I have stopped doing game recaps, mostly because they were taking too much time. Perhaps one day they will return, but that day is not anywhere around the corner.
The Twins added another player to their organization earlier this week, another with MLB experience that is expected to help the Twins this year, rather than down the road. The Twins signed Dillon Gee, formerly of the Mets, Royals and most recently, the Rangers, to a Minor League deal on Tuesday, but you can be sure that they hope he will step into the rotation for the remainder of the year. Despite his Minor League deal, he was immediately recalled to the Major League roster.
Gee isn’t a superstar, nor does he really have the potential to be one, having already surpassed the age at which significant improvements are expected. The Twins know that too, of course, otherwise he would have been signed to a major league deal. Heck, if there was much growth in Gee’s future, he probably wouldn’t be available to sign in the middle of June. If he remains healthy, however, he can eat up innings every fifth day for the Twins.
Gee is a decent pitcher, with a career ERA slightly above 4, but he is coming off of thoracic outlet syndrome surgery, much like Phil Hughes before him. He isn’t going to work at the top of the rotation, but in his best form, he will alleviate some of the pressure for the bullpen.
While we are on the topic of Hughes as well, there is some news regarding him. Both Hughes and Hector Santiago are rehabbing in Rochester as we speak, and could soon return to the MLB roster. The rumors are that Hughes will be moving to the bullpen, while Santiago would likely occupy a spot in the rotation, especially if Gee is shaky in his first couple of starts with the Twins. Neither of those guys are particularly inspiring, but they are better options than the AAAA types they have trotted out in their collective absences.
The performance of these players, their health, and their presence on the roster shouldn’t be seen as a criticism as this front office of the prior administration, but rather a reminder of how difficult it is to gain value through free agent, veteran pitchers. It’s ok to sign stop gaps, especially when confronted with injury, or when taking over a team bereft of talent, but Derek Falvey and Thad Levine will continue to be challenged to develop players internally who can allow the Twins to stop needing to rely on these injury prone journeymen.