At some point this season, the Twins will insert Francisco Liriano into the rotation. They’d prefer that it be later than sooner, both to protect his arm and to limit his eventual value in arbitration.
The Twins probably could have traded Lohse during the winter, but chose not to. Remember, at the end of the 2005 season Brad Radke had a bad shoulder. Carlos Silva had knee surgery. Santana was held out of his last start with an injury. The Twins rotation literally limped through the final two weeks.
Ryan, Gardy and company hung on to Lohse probably as much as insurance as because of the promise of 2003. They clearly didn’t want to open the season with two rookies in the starting rotation, and keeping Lohse meant having four established starters. That’s important to their vision of a contending team.
But 30 games into the season, this team is far from a contender. Another month or so of this sloppy play, and Ryan’s going to have to start exploding the roster — shipping out veterans and bringing in kids.
When that day comes, Lohse is a prime candidate to go — if he has any value. That value won’t be there if he’s bounced from the rotation.
Of course, if he keeps making the rest of the league hit like Ted Williams, he won’t have any trade value in the rotation either.
Edward Thoma is a Free Press staff writer. He can be called at 344-6377 or e-mailed at email@example.com.