Monday, March 29, 2010

Alexi Casilla Gets Roster Space Over Matt Tolbert & Jacque Jones! AAAAAAHHHHHHRRRGH!!

Yesterday the Twins announced they would be sending veteran left fielder Jacque Jones (playing great in asubstitute role) and infielder
Matt Tolbert (playing lousy!) to their minor league camp, with later placement on the Rochester AAA roster.  This meant that now-perennial underachiever Alexi Casilla, a Dominican Republic native, would retain a spot on the big league roster.  This is obvious partly because the Twins know that any other team could claim Casilla on the spot, as the quota of roster moves (referred to as "options") involving him have been exhausted.


The Twins received Alexi in a swap for another under-achieving headcase pitcher named J.C. Romero from the Anaheim/California/Los Angeles Not-the-Dodgers in 2005.  They felt fortunate to get him in the exchange, in light of the tortuous travails they were experiencing with the headstrong, afraid to-throw-a-strike
Romero.  How ironic that they were making what looks like now an even trade!


The reason for the Twins holding this mindset is that they obviously still view him as a talented, promising player, with room to grow.  Undoubtedly, he has all the requisite physical characteristics for the job.  It's when Alexi is asked to think with some foresight about what's happening on the baseball field that trouble follows...he's just not all that, to coin a term, very "baseballically" intelligent. And that's being kind!


He takes impatient, bad at-bats, swinging at pitches he can't handle ( those over his head, or thrown in the dirt). He always seems to behind in the count 0-2.  Conversely, Joe Mauer is seemingly always ahead at 2(balls)-0(strikes).  He's out of position in the field unless the coaches are waving towels or semaphores to get his attention to move one way or the other, depending on the batter. He has excellent speed, but he doesn't get on base enough to steal bases at a great clip. He made a critical baserunning error (see link at Rotoworld, for detail) in Twins game 163 when the Twins defeated the Tigers.  Basically, he just doesn't appear to play at a high level of intensity to suit my taste...[sigh]...I guess I've turned calloused and mean in my old age!


He did get the game winning hit later in that same game, in a clutch situation (see game photo).  But those moments have been too few and far between for him.


The time has come for the Twins to fish or cut bait with 'Lexi.  He's 26.  He's too old to be called a "prospect."  He adds NOTHING to the team, realistically, especially when you can't depend on him to play heads-up and intelligently, the "Twins way."  Alexi, you coulda made us proud.


Twinkler Out!

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