To: Terry Ryan, General Manager Minnesota Twins.
Dear Mr. Ryan,
The time has come to make some drastic changes to Minnesota's rotation. After spending almost $9 million in the offseason to sign and retain Carlos Silva, Ramon Ortiz and Sidney Ponson, it's finally time to cut bait and go with your young starters.
I'd have argued the $9 million would have been better spent on a short-term deal (Mike Piazza?) for someone who could hit better than Lew Ford or Rondell White at DH/LF, but what do I know? Your idea that Matt Garza, Kevin Slowey and Scott Baker needed more time at Triple-A seemed reasonable. Slowing their arbitration clocks is a big factor for your small-payroll squad. And I can't argue with your success in developing pitchers.
But the Ponson/Ortiz/Silva-experiment is a failure. You did released Ponson, but while Ortiz and Silva combined to go 5-2 with a 2.77 ERA in April, they've gone a combined 0-7 with a 9.67 ERA in May. Ortiz isn't fooling anyone with less than 3.5 strikeouts per nine innings. Meanwhile Matt Garza and Kevin Slowey are on fire at Triple-A. Slowey has a 1.76 ERA and amazing 50:5 K:BB ratio. After a slow start Garza has looked better his last three outings and still has a 3.49 ERA. Scott Baker looked good in his first start since replacing Ponson. How much worse can the kids be than these veterans? At least the kids have more upside.
With Twins sitting at 20-24 and eight games out in a tough AL Central, now is the time. Last year your club overcame an 11-game deficit, but comebacks like that happen once in a generation. You don't have much more time to wait while the bad starts continue.
It's time to make some wholesale changes. Move Ortiz to the bullpen. Maybe give Silva another start or two, but he's pitched well out of the bullpen in the past. Both may be needed there with Jesse Crain, Dennys Reyes and Glen Perkins hurt and maybe non-factors the rest of the season.
p.s. You should sign Craig Wilson. He'll cost only the major league minimum after being released by the Braves. Yes, I know he's stunk so far this year, but he's got more power than almost anyone you have on the bench or at Triple-A. Plus, since he can get behind the plate in a pinch, he'll allow you to DH Joe Mauer more when he's back from the DL and manager Ron Gardenhire can quit being unrealistically nervous about losing the DH if a catcher gets hurt when Mauer and Redmond are in the lineup.