We've always known this was going to be a conversation, right? It's been staring us in the face for weeks. With the signings of Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes, the re-signing of Mike Pelfrey, and the solo incumbent from last year, Kevin Correia, we're left looking at one spot with at least four players up for the job: Kyle Gibson, Samuel Deduno, Scott Diamond, and Vance Worley.
A little while I ago I asked on Twitter who you thought would get the job, and the response was overwhelmingly in favor of Deduno.
@TwinkieTown Deduno— Jared Hines (@Jared_Hines27) March 13, 2014
@TwinkieTown Deduno. He's looked the best thus far, even if its ST.— Dex (@DexsTweets) March 13, 2014
@TwinkieTown Deduno. I think he'll end up being the #3 guy but due to contract situations with others has to settle for the 5th for now.— Steve Urman (@SteveUrman) March 13, 2014
@TwinkieTown Deduno should be our #2 but will settle for #5. Best stuff on the team when he throws enough strikes.— Brennen Rath (@bjrath) March 13, 2014
In fact, barring suggestions for "my plummer", "Joe Mays or Rick Reed", and "Brad Radke", every answer I had went in favor of Deduno. Twitter is a heaving mass of digital inhumanity, so for there to be a level of agreement to such an open-ended question feels unprecedented.
And to be fair, anyone who says Deduno is having the best spring is absolutely correct. He's made four appearances and has certainly garnered better results than the other three. Worley has been rough, Diamond hasn't been much better, and Gibson, for as good as he's looked, doesn't seem like a good bet considering the other three are out of options. Whether you agree with it or not, that alone will dictate that Gibson starts the season in Triple-A.
Between Deduno, Diamond, and Worley, the Twins also have differing levels of vested interest. Worley came over as one half of the return for Ben Revere, under team control and young enough with decent enough numbers that most people thought Minnesota was getting a decent, cost-controlled arm to settle down a rotation in upheaval. Diamond, who the Twins have always coveted, was a Rule 5 selection that the Twins ended up swapping a prospect for, in order to send him to Rochester.
Deduno, on the other hand, does not have the same protection that comes when you acquire a player through a trade or multi-year contract; there isn't the pressing need "to get the most out of him" due to the investment of a player traded or millions of dollars spent. It's certainly feasible to see a scenario where the Twins go with Worley as the fifth starter, because of the trade and the original expectations of the front office upon his arrival, and Diamond in a bullpen role, just because he's left handed.
Ultimately, I do agree with the replies above - if Deduno pitches the remainder of the spring and continues to look as strong as he has, he'll get the nod. All things being equal, I also have to believe that his performance last year - which also earned him the fifth starter nod from Terry Ryan neat the time of the Winter Meetings - will give him a leg up on the competition.
The Twinkie Town crowd seems to lean towards Deduno. What do you think?