Following an outing when he surrendered 10 hits and four runs over 3 2/3 innings, the Minnesota Twins have demoted right-hander Kyle Gibson to Triple-A where he will likely finish the season. With the poor outing, Gibson’s ERA inflated to 6.53 which became one of the numerous reasons that prompted the Twins to send Gibson down to the minors.
It is a rapid fall from grace for Gibson, who came into the majors this season with plenty of hype surrounding him, but it by no means Gibson will not be back next year. Gibson still figures to play a major role in the Twins’ rotation next year, but this year simply demonstrated that he has a lot to learn and he may not be fully back from his Tommy John surgery of a couple years ago. By sending Gibson down to the minors, the Twins allow themselves to fill his spot with a pitcher such as Anthony Swarzak or possibly Liam Hendriks for the remainder of the season. It also allows Gibson to head back to the minors and get some work in over the last few weeks of the Triple-A season in hopes that Gibson can regain his form and head into the off-season with some momentum.
While it still is possible that the Twins could bring back Gibson as part of the September call-ups, I would prefer to see the Twins shut Gibson down for the remainder of the season. As I wrote in an article two weeks ago, Gibson’s latest performances have shown that the life in his arm is simply not there right now. His pitchers don’t look as crisp, hitters are figuring him out and he doesn’t seem to be finishing his pitches and getting hitters out when he needs to. You could attribute that to the league catching on to Gibson and Gibson not making the adjustments, but I think the larger issue is that Gibson’s arm has simply running out of gas.
Whatever the cause is, shutting down Gibson now would not hurt anything and would allow the team to protect one of its young assets for the future. Gibson already has gotten experience this year that will help him down the road; continually running him out when he is pitching like he has been will only jeopardize his confidence and health. By demoting Gibson now, Gibson’s confidence is already at a fragile point, but shutting Gibson down when the Triple-A season ends could be an acceptable time for both parties to call it a season and regroup for next year.
Make no mistake about it, for good or bad, Gibson is still a major part of the Twins’ future; however, if Gibson doesn’t learn from his experiences and continue to work hard to improve this off-season, his status in the organization could change in a hurry.