After a week that saw the Minnesota Twins shuffle their starting rotation around and call-up Samuel Deduno and P.J. Walters respectively, many fans and analysts were left scratching their heads and pondering why the Twins didn’t promote talented prospect Kyle Gibson. Gibson, if you can remember, had Tommy John surgery in 2011 and is just starting to show signs of the form he had prior to the injury which made him one of the organization’s most talented and touted prospects. Gibson’s progress, however, was not good enough to receive a promotion this past week.
Twins’ general manager Terry Ryan spoke with Minneapolis Star Tribune’s sports writer Jim Souhan following the promotion of Walters and Deduno. During this interview, the two discussed the Twins’ plan for bringing up Gibson and why the team hadn’t promoted him yet. Souhan asked Ryan whether the decision not to promote Gibson was made for baseball reasons or financial reasons and Ryan responded with, “If I was worried about all of that, I wouldn’t bring up (Aaron) Hicks and (Oswaldo) Arcia. Any GM in any organization knows you’re always going to get that question. In every decision, it comes down to baseball factors first. Can you bring up Gibson now? Yeah. Sure you could. But I guess you’d be sending him back pretty quick, and I don’t want that to happen.”
Ryan went on to say that, “I’d like to tell you when we bring up a young guy that it’s for good. Gibson is getting there. He’s been inconsistent. His last outing was very good and I’m hoping he’ll back that up with another one. Every start for him is important, and so far he’s been good, bad, good, bad, good, bad. He’s close, but he’s not quite there yet. We’re looking for him to string together four or five of those good one. That would give us confidence that it’s time for him to come up here.”
Currently for the season, Gibson is 3-5 with a 3.25 ERA over 52.2 innings and nine starts. He’s pitched two complete-game shutouts, including one in his last outing. What Ryan is expecting to see out of Gibson is understandable and I agree with his rationale for holding Gibson back and seeing more consistency before promoting the youngster for good. However, I think a large reason that Ryan isn’t promoting Gibson is because he doesn’t want to rush Gibson back and with the team falling out of contention fast, Ryan is even more hesitant to promote Gibson and start his big-league service time.
Do I blame Ryan for his hesitancy with Gibson? Absolutely not, but I do wonder how long the team can continue to brush off questions about Gibson and not promote him. Gibson has shown that he certainly could help out the Twins at the majors this season and may be better than a lot of the options that they are currently trotting out, but the Twins appear content trying Deduno and Walters before they turn to Gibson. This may be a move to see if Deduno or Walters has any long-term value with the organization—because the team is certain that Gibson will be with the team long-term—but make no mistake about it, Walters and Deduno both have pitched well in the minors and deserved their promotions.
While the fan base and analysts remain a little less in the dark regarding the situation surrounding Gibson’s promotion status, it’s getting continually more difficult to watch the Twins’ starting pitching struggle and not think about how Gibson could help out this staff. At any rate, all we can do is watch and wait and keep a close eye towards Rochester with the hope that Gibson can start to string together a series of strong starts so he will be allowed to join the big-league staff and begin his long-awaited career in the majors.