Hasta Luego, Alexi

I’ve taken a couple shots at Alexi Casilla already. He clearly has some talent, very athletic and quick and all that, but I can’t stand to watch the kid play second base. His defensive numbers, UZR in particular, don’t look that bad (not good, either), but he just looks like he’s always out of position and just starting to get moving as the ball takes its million or so hops right past him.

Oh, and he’s hitting .167/.231/.202. I guess that’s not quite what the Twins were hoping to get out of their #2 hitter, because yesterday they recalled Matt Tolbert and sent Casilla down to Rochester. What can you do?

As down as I am on Alexi, I really hope he’s not done with the Twins entirely, as Dave Cameron suggests he is; I don’t think he has much trade value right now, and I’d sure like to see him turn himself into something eventually — though Aaron Gleeman joins me in thinking that’s probably unlikely at this point. (I really hope, as Cameron advocates for on his less even-handed outlet, that a trade for Yuniesky Betancourt, a worse version of the same problems with an even more awesome name, isn’t in the works.) But Casilla just obviously didn’t have whatever it was he had (maybe just luck?) in the spring and early summer of 2008, and the Twins weren’t going to compete in the Central with an absolute zero at second base.

But as Cameron says in the Fangraphs article, they’re not very likely to contend with Brendan Harris or Matt Tolbert there, either. I have a hunch that, if they’re still in the race in a month or so, a call will be put in to 39 year old Mark Grudzielanek or 37 year old Ray Durham, both of whom are apparently still sitting by the phone from the offseason. And frankly, I don’t think it’s a bad idea. Neither can really field the position anymore, but neither can Brendan Harris, and both can still hit a little–Durham posted a .380 OBP and hit 36 doubles last year, and Grudzielanek has had a batting average within 10 points of .300, OBP over .330 and SLG at or over .400 for each of the last six seasons. I guess I’d prefer Durham. But at least one of them is probably still worth a look, don’cha think?

In any case, I wish Alexi nothing but the best (unless the White Sox are in his future somehow) and look forward to not having to watch him wave at singles bouncing through the right side of the infield anymore, at least for a while. Of course, a couple Twins pitchers not named Francisco or Joe are going to have to stop throwing batting practice the way Kevin Slowey did on Wednesday night for any of this to make any sort of difference.

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One Response to “Hasta Luego, Alexi”

  1. The Common Man Says:

    If the Twins acquire a veteran player at the deadline to bolster 2B, I will die of shock. Bill Smith has shown no ability to identify talent since becoming our GM, nor go get it. And the organization is generally pretty down on rentals. Who was the last one? Shannon Stewart? Don’t get me wrong, that worked out well for a half-a-season, but was a long-term disappointment. No, I think they live or die with what they have. As they always do to our eternal frustration, my good friend.

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