May 6, 2009

Casilla on the outs?

First, I will post the Game Balls that I have missed at some point today. Also, I will be continuing with the Top 50 MiLB Prospect list to finish it off, my hope is to have them all posted by Friday. That likely means two today, two tomorrow and one on Friday.

La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Start-Tribune made note on his blog last night that he expects there to be a roster move at some point today. The move would likely involve adding an infielder to take the place of Alexi Casilla who as I noted yesterday, has struggled all season. But it could also just be Neal suggesting that Casilla will be moved to the bench in place of Brendan Harris or perhaps a minor league call-up.

The tone of the report suggests that Casilla would be in fact sent down. Yesterday he made multiple defensive misplays, one resulting in an error, while continuing to show absolutely no composure at the plate. Actually, his 1-4 effort now give him 7 hits in his last 58 at-bats (.120 average). In that time, he has struck out 15 times. He still only has two extra-base hits on the season as well.

Yesterday looks like it was the last straw for Ron Gardenhire.

Neal suggests that Matt Tolbert, who recently appeared on my "Not-So-Hot-List", may be considered for a call-up. Tolbert has hit .356 with four extra-base hits and seven RBI in his last ten games. But more importantly, he has played mistake-free defense which is really what Casilla has been scolded for the most. If Casilla was playing flawless defense (or at least better defense), he probably wouldn't be in this situation.

The Twins now have 12 relievers again, and although many have been ineffective this season, R.A. Dickey and Craig Breslow, probably the two most likely to be considered "on the bubble" combined for five strikeouts yesterday.

Whether or not this report is just a suggestion that Casilla will be benched in favor of Brendan Harris or that Casilla could be sent to the minor leagues, it is encouraging to see Gardenhire be vocal and show willingness to improve the team in some fashion.

I'm trying not to beat this issue to death, but it is something that should be noted.