Twins Have Seven Starters For Five Slots

Aaron Gleeman on the Twins' rotation picture:

With six starters for five rotation spots someone is headed to the bullpen or the trade block and Ron Gardenhire wasted no time announcing that Brian Duensing and Nick Blackburn will be joining Francisco Liriano and Carl Pavano in the rotation, leaving Scott Baker and Kevin Slowey in a two-man battle for the final slot. Duensing got the nod because he's 12-3 with a 2.93 ERA in 22 career starts and Blackburn got the nod because ... well, I'm not exactly sure.

It's almost seven starters for five rotation spots, as Kyle Gibson reached Triple-A last year in his first professional season. He'll almost certainly return to Triple-A this spring, but the organization seems to think he won't need much more (if any) time there, and his few months in the minors suggests they're right.

I'm not exactly sure why Gardenhire's so fond of Nick Blackburn, either. I'm also not exactly sure why the Twins might be willing to trade Kevin Slowey to the Blue Jays for relief help.

Granted, as rumors go this one's pretty thin. But while six starters is a fine luxury if you can afford it, seven is sort of ridiculous. And if Gardenhire really is committed to Blackburn, Baker's probably the best choice for that last slot in the rotation. Even if Baker's fly-ball tendencies aren't well-supported by the Twins' corner outfielders. 

But then again neither are Slowey's. Leaving aside money and whoever they might get in return, if somebody's going to be traded, Slowey's probably the best candidate, with Gibson poised to join the big club if somebody gets hurt or Gardenhire notices Blackburn's inability to miss bats.

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