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Updated: July 27th, 2012 9:17am
Reusse: Twins' pitching plan was disaster from start

Reusse: Twins' pitching plan was disaster from start

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by Patrick Reusse

The Twins were so impressed by what they saw from Luis Perdomo this spring that the 28-year-old reliever started the season at Class AA New Britain. He was there for 28 games, then was promoted to Class AAA Rochester when the Red Wings' staff was ravaged by the constant raids from Minnesota.

And now, in late July, Perdomo will be at Target Field tonight when the Twins start a three-game series against Cleveland.

Perdomo will be the 23rd pitcher (excluding Drew Butera) for the 2012 Twins when he gets in a game. Here are some other fun facts about Perdomo and the Twins pitching staff:

*Perdomo will be the fourth who was signed as a minor-league free agent, joining P.J. Walters, Casey Fien and Samuel Deduno. Two others, Jeff Gray and Matt Maloney, were claimed off waivers. Maloney was shipped to Class AAA Rochester early and is now lost to surgery.

*Perdomo will be the seventh pitcher currently on the staff who also has pitched at Rochester this season, joining Scott Diamond, Deduno, Cole De Vries, Fien, Tyler Robertson and Nick Blackburn. Six others - Kyle Waldrop, Lester Oliveros, P.J. Walters, Liam Hendriks, Maloney and Jeff Manship _ have pitched for both the Twins and Rochester.

*Perdomo doesn't figure to increase this number, but the Twins have had 11 starters in 2012: Francisco Liriano (17), Blackburn (15), Diamond (14), Carl Pavano (11), DeVries (8), Hendriks (8), Jason Marquis (7), Walters (7), Brian Duensing (4), Anthony Swarzak (4) and Deduno (3).

The Twins would like us to think that somehow this chaos with the rotation has been the product of poor luck.

It started when Scott Baker's elbow turned balky this spring and he elected to undergo Tommy John surgery. Arm and elbow problems had become a regular occurrence with Baker, and now we're supposed to believe that the Twins were shocked to have it happen again?

Pavano could not get his average fastball out of the mid-80s and made his last start on June 1. He was an ace for the Twins in 2010, went backwards in 2011, and it can't be a surprise when that trend continues _ and ailments befall _ a 36-year-old.

Blackburn was so horrendous that he required a trip back to Rochester. He hasn't been worth a hoot since 2009, and now he's worse than ever, and again ... no surprise.

The veteran added to the rotation before spring training, Jason Marquis, lasted for seven starts before being released. He arrived with a track record for being remarkably hittable, and not even Target Field could hold the fly balls that he served up.

Bottom line: The Twins might as well have out the $3 million spent on Marquis in a pile and burned it.

Finally, Francisco Liriano was so miserable for the first month of the season that the Twins moved him to the bullpen for a time. Wasn't that a shocker _ Liriano going through a spell where he's on the mound with no clue?

Nothing that happened to this starting staff should have been that unexpected: Baker's elbow giving out, Pavano continuing his decline, Marquis being useless, Blackburn being overmatched or Liriano being as unreliable as a cheap watch.

This all falls on the Twins, not bad luck.

They wasted $3 million on Marquis. They wasted another $4.5 million (with a $250,000 buyout for 2013) on Matt Capps with the idea that he could be the closer.

Capps had arm soreness and was an absolute punching bag during the 63-99 season in 2011. And the Twins say, "He had a sore arm last year, so let's pay him double what any other team would consider to come back as the closer.''

Memo to front office: When a veteran pitcher has a sore arm, that's a reason to avoid him, not to guarantee him nearly $5 million and hope for a miracle.

What the Twins did for their pitching last winter reminds me of an old St. Paul newspaper editor on the occasion of his retirement. He was lamenting his lack of wealth and someone said, "What did you do with your money, Harry?''

To which he replied: "I spent some of it on booze, and some of it on women, and the rest I just wasted.''

Last winter, Terry Ryan spent some of his money on pitching for Jason Marquis, and some of it on Matt Capps, and what was left he wasted (with the exception of $750,000 for Jared Burton).

If ever a team needed a workhorse for the rotation, it was the Twins last winter and for the foreseeable future. And Ryan had $7.75 million in seed money if he hadn't spent it on Marquis and Capps.

Edwin Jackson was one such starter looking for a job. He couldn't get the long-term deal he was looking for, so wound up taking one year, $11 million from the Washington Nationals. He already has worked 120 innings in 19 starts, with a 3.52 ERA.

He's the type of guy the Twins should have pushed the payroll to sign to a multi-year deal. Instead, they threw away several million, and relied on pitchers going in downward directions, and now they have become the home for a collection of 28-year-old never-was pitchers such as Luis Perdomo.

Terry Ryan and his advisers put together a putrid plan for a pitching staff last winter, and the result hasn't been surprising: a team that is going to surpass 2011 and reach the magic 100-loss mark in 2012.

Patrick Reusse has been covering sports in the Twin Cities since 1968. He co-hosts SportsTalk from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. and hosts The Ride with Reusse from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays. He also co-hosts "Saturday Morning SportsTalk" from 10 a.m. to noon on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Patrick | @1500ESPN_reusse | The Ride with Reusse