Fire Gardy

Mismanaging games since 2002

Boof gets cut

After Carl Pavano accepted arbitration, the Twins found themselves in a brand new bind — they had 41 players on their 40 man roster. So they had to get rid of someone, and there were certainly plenty of options.* But they chose to cut Boof Bonser, and I can’t say I understand the decision.

* Tolbert if you want to cut the worst player, Keppel if you want to cut the worst pitcher.

Boof pitched poorly enough in 2008 to lose his job, then missed all of 2009 with an injury. The Twins, it’s worth noting, gave him the typical Twins medical advice when he began having shoulder problems during 2008; rest and rehabilitation to waste a few months, then major surgery when it becomes clear rest & rehab never could have actually solved the problem. Hey, it worked for Neshek! So Boof ended up getting the Jesse Crain Special* and missed the year. Of course, he got a year of major league service time for that — just like Liriano and Neshek did — which means Boof would have been arbitration eligible this year, and would almost certainly have cost over $1M.

* That’s the “rotator cuff and torn labrum” surgery that all Twins pitchers seem to need after spending enough time with Rick Anderson. What? Did I say that out loud?

So yes, maybe the move was predicated on money, but it’d only be half a million more than Bobby Keppel makes, and I don’t see a reason to think that Boof couldn’t have bested Keppel’s 91 ERA+ in a long-relief/mop-up role. And given Boof’s arm and stuff and propensity for strikeouts, he certainly had more upside; a pitcher like that could have success as a 7th/8th inning setup man.

I don’t think this move was about money — there’s just not enough of it involved. And I don’t think it’s about talent either — even Gardenhire must know that Keppel’s no great shakes. I’d be somewhat surprised if we haven’t replaced Keppel by the time Spring Training ends.

I think this move indicated something else; that the Twins have soured on Bonser, perhaps much in the same way that they’ve soured on Perkins. I don’t know why they might have given up on him … maybe he put a bunch of weight back on, maybe his velocity is down, maybe he’s not taking well to his workout program, maybe he’s being an asshole, maybe the Twins are being assholes, there are plenty of options. But Boof’s stock has tanked over the last 18 months, and it can’t all be because of performance. (He’d need to have either gotten on the mound, or indicated that he can’t get back onto the mound, for it to be solely or primarily for performance reasons.)

It remains to be seen if there’s any interest around the league. How many teams have a roster spot available for a high-upside strikeout pitcher in his 20s on a minor league contract? Would they be willing to take the risk given his injury history?

If nobody wants Boof, the Twins can keep him at AAA, which is probably what they’re hoping for. But I can’t imagine any reason to take this risk given the option of simply cutting Keppel loose.

What do you think the reasoning here was? Are you happy to see Boof go, or not?


21 Comments so far

  1. rghrbek December 9th, 2009 11:23 am

    I don’t really care about Poof, but LEN III is saying in his blog that Poof turned down a one year deal from the Twins. Risky move. I think the Twins still liked him. I expect the twins to outright Crain as well. Who cares.

  2. Yawn Gardenhose December 9th, 2009 11:33 am

    The Twins operate like your typical U.S. high school. There are cliques, crushes, teacher’s pets, outcasts, etc. Gardy has a crush on Nick Punto, for example. A full-on puppy-love infatuation. Also, Tolbert is a teacher’s pet, which is why he is still somehow around. Keppel is the quiet loner type who everyone forgets about.

    Perkins is like the brash outspoken thespian who files a petition to the principal so that gym class doesn’t count towards GPA, and now the principal has it out for him.

    With Bonser (and, say, Casilla), Gardy feels like if they don’t do it my way then I have no use for them, much like the 72-year old hardassed football coach/gym teacher. Their actual performance doesn’t matter; it’s simply an issue of “principle”.

    Basically what it comes down to is that the player’s actual performance has little to do with front office/managerial decisions, so it’s useless to speculate as to why they do things without knowing the “inside scoop” i.e. petty politics.

  3. Fire people who call for people to be fired December 9th, 2009 1:19 pm

    the “inside scoop” i.e. petty politics

    I would suggest that the “inside scoop” is information, perspective, and professional evaluation. Why would you assume there’s petty politics involved? All the teacher’s pet stuff and doghouse stuff is repeated enough times in blog comments that people accept it as reality. The wisdom of mobs.

  4. Yawn Gardenhose December 9th, 2009 2:09 pm

    If anybody accepts my tongue-in-cheek comment as reality, well, I feel sorry for them. Calm down, guy. Some of the decisions the Twins make don’t SEEM to have much information, perspective, and professional evaluation behind them (i.e. releasing Bonser in lieu of Keppel). You’re entitled to disagree or want to “fire” me.

    Just take it easy man.

  5. Fire people who call for people to be fired December 9th, 2009 2:48 pm

    I don’t take it as reality, I take it as a failed attempt at a clever observation. You probably did get several STRib commenters to jump from their seats and shout AMEN, though.

    And I am both calm and taking it easy. What else is there to do at work? But thanks for the suggestions.

    Bonser rejected a contract offer from the Twins. But I guess maybe they found him making out with Punto behind the bleachers too, I don’t know. Either is a possible explanation for the decision.

  6. FunBobby December 9th, 2009 3:03 pm

    Bonser rejecting the contract is a very risky move. Not sure what the market for him will be. You know what they say about birds and hands.

  7. sirsean December 9th, 2009 3:09 pm

    Hmm, I don’t know what they say about birds and hands, but it sure sounds inappropriate.

  8. FunBobby December 9th, 2009 3:13 pm

    A bird in the hand is better than two in the bush. Its a common saying for a guarantee of X is better than MAYBE getting 2X.

  9. Fire people who call for people to be fired December 9th, 2009 3:16 pm

    No, it’s “fill one had with birds and the other with bushes and see which fills up first”

  10. Fire people who call for people to be fired December 9th, 2009 3:17 pm

    No, it’s “fill one hand with birds and the other with bushes and see which fills up first”

  11. FunBobby December 9th, 2009 3:22 pm

    Well, either way, I am not sure Bonser is better off by not accepting the twins contract offer. but we will see, I wish him the best of luck.

    Also, what does everyone think about the white sox pursuing Redmond?

  12. sirsean December 9th, 2009 3:37 pm

    If Boof felt that he wouldn’t be able to make the Twins’ rotation in 2010, but could make the rotation of another team (one without a glut of 25 year old almost-major-league-ready starters … so, like, 90% of teams), then declining the contract offer makes sense for him.

    And there’s good reason to think he wouldn’t make the Twins’ rotation: there are plenty of other options, the Twins seemed to have soured on him, and the rumbling about a transition to the bullpen has continued (and perhaps gotten louder).

    So it may well have been a calculated gamble on Boof’s part. I, for one, hope it doesn’t pay off. I hope nobody takes him and we can stash him in the minors until we need him. But my guess is that someone else will take a flier on him and be rewarded for it.

  13. FunBobby December 9th, 2009 3:39 pm

    You are probably right. Considering the deal Brad Penny just got, I can see some team (probably NL) grabbing him.

  14. Ed Bast December 9th, 2009 4:38 pm

    firepeople guy, that would be “wish in one hand and (crap) in the other and see which one fills up first.” oh and you should really get a sense of humor, yawn was making a joke there i think.

    i for one will not be sad too see boof go. all he had was the heater and after surgery i doubt it’ll be back.

  15. sirsean December 9th, 2009 4:46 pm

    Actually his best pitch was his curveball, but yeah, it very well could be tough for him to get that back after surgery.

  16. MarkW December 10th, 2009 9:53 am

    So now Bonser is dealt to Boston for PTBNL or Cash… also LENIII is reporting Casilla is also available. Does anyone else seem to think that we are just dumping guys that Gardenhire doesn’t like?? Gomez, Bonser, Perkins, and now Casilla. I know we “joke” about this most of the time, but I think this is becoming a huge problem when we are actually let Gardy dictate who we keep on the team based on his favorite “pets” because they “appear” to hustle more than others. And over at Gleeman’s page today, he mentions that the Twins are probably 1 of the 2 teams in baseball that dont have a “stat” guy in the office or used any advanced metrics to evaluate talent. This speaks volumes and is not that surprising to me.

    thoughts? Frankly I’m getting sick of Ron Gardenhire.

    But who is really to blame?

  17. sirsean December 10th, 2009 10:02 am

    If the “guys Gardy doesn’t like” have attempted to organize in any way (think “mutiny”), then the team is right to drop them. One of the important things about having a leader is that you also have to have people who will follow them. And while I personally think Gardy does a whole bunch of idiotic things, there’s no doubt in my mind that he’s a pretty effective manager overall.

    I don’t think there’s evidence that those guys did organize or anything, but even if Gardy thinks they did it’s understandable.

    And it’s worth pointing out that none of these guys are stars, or essential players. If Gardy has a feud with Morneau or Mauer or Nathan, well, he’s going to have to get over it.

    So the blame goes to Boof, Perkins, Casilla, and Gomez … for not being good enough at baseball. If they were better players, it wouldn’t matter how Gardy feels about them personally.

  18. Ed Bast December 10th, 2009 10:12 am

    why make casilla available over tolbert?

  19. sirsean December 10th, 2009 10:19 am

    More value?

  20. Ed Bast December 10th, 2009 10:25 am

    well if you must get rid of backup-type infielders and want to maxamize value then get rid of punto! wouldn’t he bring more than casilla, even if just slightly?

  21. sirsean December 10th, 2009 10:28 am

    Not necessarily. Punto is far more valuable as a player than Tolbert or Casilla, but he makes 10x as much money. There’s not a whole lot of surplus value on Punto’s contract, so the actual trade value for Casilla might be more than it is for Punto, even if Punto is the better, more valuable baseball player.

    (“Actual trade value” measured in “what kind of package the Twins can expect in return, hypothetically.”)

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