Pick up the Slack: Twins opening week offers a mixed bag

Pedro Florimon … oof.

Florimon may be great with the glove, which isn’t exactly a given.

What is a given, though, is that he is overmatched as a hitter.


One week in, he has an OPS+ of -50. Yes, that’s a negative sign in front. An average  mark is around 100. His total the past two years has been 61 in 2012 and 69 in 134 games last season.

When free agent starting pitcher Ervin Santana wanted a one-year deal in the offseason to reestablish his market value, the Twins would only offer three. Their reasoning was that they wanted someone around for the long term.

One would have to think that’s the thought process in not trying to bring in shortstop Stephen Drew.

Only problem with that is, Florimon will absolutely not be in the long-term plans of the organization either. So, if the Twins want to bring back a winning culture, wouldn’t it make sense to, I don’t know, bring in a guy who could help you win a few more games?


Despite Florimon’s struggles, there’s a different shortstop who is worse.

Fortunately, this one is no longer a starter for the Twins.

Jason Bartlett proved an early disaster as an outfielder in Sunday’s series finale against Cleveland, while his best contact at the plate was getting plunked in the ribs.

For sentimental reasons, hopefully Bartlett can turn things around and become a little more serviceable off the bench, because right now, he has little tangible value.


About that pitching …

I still think Ricky Nolasco will be decent, certainly better than what he has been his first two starts.

But it is going to have to be a whole lot better to justify giving him a four-year deal. The Twins signed him to that contract because of his durability, but to merit it he’s going to have to make those innings halfway decent.


Careful what you wish for, Swarzak.

After struggling mightily early in his career as a starting pitcher, and as a reliever with a 5.03 ERA in 2012, Swarzak’s future in the big leagues was in serious jeopardy.

Then, he remade himself into a very competent long reliever last year, putting up a 2.91 ERA in 96 innings of mostly non-pressure spots.

This spring he expressed a wish to pitch in more close games.

Well, believe what you want about the difficulty of pitching while protecting a lead as opposed to pitching while behind big, Swarzak has imploded early when given the chance to throw in more meaningful situations.

He has blown a pair of leads, giving up six runs on eight hit over just 2 2/3 innings of work, only to be rescued by the offense each time.

The success of relievers is often fleeting. Swarzak should probably be reserved for mop-up duty until he proves last year, and not the first three years of his career, was a fluke.