"Let us go forth a while, and get better air in our lungs. Let us leave our closed rooms...
The game of ball is glorious."

--Walt Whitman

Friday, January 05, 2007

Worth a Shot, I Suppose...

Twins Ink Ponson to Minor League Deal

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins have been searching for experienced arms to boost their starting rotation, and on Tuesday they added at least one well-known pitcher to compete for a starting spot in Sidney Ponson.

Ponson, 30, was one of two pitchers that the Twins signed to Minor League deals with invitations to Spring Training. The team also inked right-handed pitcher Brad Voyles, who spent last season with the Cardinals' Triple-A affiliate in Memphis.

A career 80-96 pitcher, Ponson went 4-5 with a 6.25 ERA in 2006 during stints with the Cardinals and the Yankees, both of which released him during the year. Ponson has also seen his ERA rise over each of the last three seasons after going 17-12 with a 3.75 ERA with Baltimore and San Francisco in 2003.

And while Ponson's recent numbers are of concern to the Twins, the hope is that the pitcher who showed the ability to be an innings eater at one time can find that form once again.

Eating innings is one thing. Whether or not they stay down is entirely another.

Ponson has, in his career, had two pretty good seasons (defined, for a starter, as a sub-4.00 ERA), four decent seasons (sub-5.00 ERA), two poor seasons (ERA in the 5's) and two shoot-me-now seasons (ERA over 6.00). The good seasons were three and four years ago, respectively, and the decent ones were all before that.

This does not look promising.

That said, it's just a minor league contract. He'll have to (one would assume) have an awfully good spring training to actually make the club. Of course, one also assumes he's not the only veteran pitcher we'll be signing to a minor league contract in the next month or so, but one could be wrong.

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