The Twins are baseball’s most disappointing team at 25-53, but owner Jim Pohlad voiced continued confidence in manager Paul Molitor when speaking to Sid Hartman of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune in a recent interview. “I would say ’no’ to that definitely,” said Pohlad when asked if Molitor’s job was in danger. Pohlad told Hartman that Molitor will return for the 2017 season, though Hartman notes that there slightly more open-ended answer when asked about GM Terry Ryan. “…I mean we have to figure out what we’re doing wrong, what we’re doing wrong in the system,” said Pohlad. “If that points to the need to change personnel, I guess I would have to say we’d look at everything. But there has been no identification of anything like that. We’re beginning to discuss the process of how we examine doing things throughout our system.” While those comments certainly don’t indicate that the GM is on the hot seat, they’re a bit less firm than recent reports indicating that the team is “100 percent committed” to Ryan. Pohlad went on to emphasize that money isn’t an issue for the Twins despite a number of underperforming veterans and expressed frustration and disappointment that top prospects Byron Buxton and Jose Berrios have struggled so greatly upon reaching the Majors after dominating Triple-A.
More from the American League Central…
- The White Sox called up third base prospect Matt Davidson to make his debut with the team yesterday, and the former top 100 prospect (originally acquired from the D-backs in exchange for Addison Reed) experienced awful luck when he suffered a fracture in his foot while running the bases, as CSN Chicago’s Dan Hayes writes. The seemed to occur when Davidson was going from first to third on a J.B. Shuck double, with manager Robin Ventura telling the media that the injury was apparent when he was between second and third base. Davidson was a highly touted prospect when the ChiSox picked up up prior to the 2014 season in the aforementioned trade, but he struggled terribly with Triple-A Charlotte from 2014-15 before rebounding with a .268/.349/.444 slash in 75 Triple-A contests this season. It’s not yet clear how much time Davidson, who collected his first big league hit since September 2013 in yesterday’s game, will spend on the disabled list.
- Via MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian, Indians GM Mike Chernoff said yesterday that while the club has looked to fill holes in its outfield at various times — most notably when Michael Brantley was injured and when Abraham Almonte was suspended — the team is hopeful that it can patch its outfield internally (Twitter link with screen cap of Chernoff’s full quote). Chernoff praised the recent play of Tyler Naquin and said the team is optimistic about the recent progress of Michael Brantley, whom Chernoff labels the “highest-impact ’acquisition’ [the Indians] could make.” Brantley has scarcely played this season, though Chernoff points out that the current alignment of Rajai Davis, Naquin, Lonnie Chisenhall and Jose Ramirez are all playing well. Naquin’s success is largely fueled by a .462 BABIP, of course, but even if there’s regression around the corner, there’s no denying that he’s bridged the gap nicely if the club is indeed seeing positive signs out of Brantley. Reports yesterday indicated that Jay Bruce would be willing to waive his no-trade clause to go to Cleveland (or any contender), but the outfield may not be as big of a need as it once looked to be with the recent performances of internal options.
- The Tigers are carefully monitoring Michael Fulmer’s innings to preserve his arm for the long haul, as MLB.com’s Jason Beck writes. Fulmer hasn’t started in eight days and will make two more starts before the All-Star break, and he’ll then wait until July 19 when the Tigers first need a fifth starter after the break. That’ll give him nearly two weeks between starts, after which he’s tentatively scheduled to remain in the rotation on regular rest but with the occasional quick hook to avoid further arm fatigue. Per Beck, the Tigers have discussed a 25 to 30 percent increase over Fulmer’s total of 124 1/3 innings from the 2015 season, which would put him in the range of 155 to 165 innings this season. Fulmer, the centerpiece of last summer’s Yoenis Cespedes trade, has somewhat quietly had a brilliant debut with Detroit thus far, pitching to a 2.40 ERA with 8.5 K/9, 3.4 BB/9 and a 48 percent ground-ball rate in 63 2/3 innings.