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Steady As She Goes

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Or so insist The Raconteurs.  How do you feel about Rondell White?

I've been meaning to do this the last few days and I'm just getting around to it.  Rondell has been hitless in his last couple of games, which isn't bad on it's own considering he had been improving.  But much like the Kyle Lohse Situation, how long do you sit on a guy having a bad season?

RONDELL WHITE
           Games  AB Hits 2B HR BB  Avg  Obp

2006         37  139  25   5  0  3 .180 .199
Projected   146  549  99  20  0 12 .180 .199
Car Avg     103  377 109  21 14 26 .289 .343

If Gardenhire and the Twins continue to hold course, as it's easy to see them do, Rondell White's projected numbers look pretty sad.  White has, occasionally this spring, hit the ball hard.  He's had a couple of hits robbed, if you'd like to give him credit.

Rondell White's resume is solid.  Apart from recurring health issues, White has had a long and productive enough career to ensure he was a desired player on a list of free agents.  His best seasons behind him, when White arrived he was expected to be a consistent presence hitting cleanup.  Washing out of that slot very quickly he was dropped into the bottom third of the order, and nothing has improved.  His inability to work a walk is a constant hinderance and we haven't even had a sniff of his mediocre power.

Between May 2 and May 16, White rattled off an 11-game hitting streak, going 13-for-43 (.302).  This raised his season average to .187.  He took one walk over this stretch and hit only four extra-base hits; all doubles.  After two more consecutive 0-fers his May average is 34 points below his career numbers.

There are some similarities between Kyle Lohse and Rondell White.  Neither player has met even median expectations.  Both players have, for the Twins, a significant dollar figure under the payroll.  What makes them different is the time, and to a lesser extent the many votes of confidence, that Minnesota has invested in Kyle Lohse.  Does this mean that Rondell White should be released?  Minnesota doesn't have the option of sending a veteran like White to Rochester.

It's hard to justify what was done to Kyle Lohse, but the bottom line is that he wasn't doing his job even marginally and a decision was made.  Rondell White is reaching the same point, but why do we get the sense that the Twins won't banish the 34-year old designated hitter as they did the 27-year old right-hander?

Regardless of what happens, Rondell White will not play 146 games for the Twins in 2006.  He's topped this number only once, 1997, and hasn't played more than 130 games since 2003 with the Royals and Padres.  I do believe he'll reach his career average of 103 games, and possibly could see more time if the Twins don't drop him into a black hole in exchange for the one he's been on our offense.

So let's play a game.  Let's see how well Rondell would have to hit in order to match his career averages over a span of a certain number of games.  Games played will be assessed at 103 (career average), 146 (projected) and 124 (median).

Season Totals (Projected)             Required performance in remaining games
Games       AB  Hits   Avg   Obp      Games   AB  Hits  2B   HR   BB   Avg   Obp
103 games  387   112  .289  .343        66   251   87   16   14   23  .347  .401
124 games  466   135  .289  .343        87   330  110   16   14   23  .333  .377
146 games  549   159  .289  .343       109   413  134   16   14   23  .324  .360

Basically, the more games Rondell plays, the more realistic it becomes that he still can achieve career averages.  Of course, "realistic" is a relative statement, because there's no way White is as good as even the most likely scenario.  In each case he gets progressively more time to land what are his career and seasonal averages, but as each day passes he's more and more likely to continue to slip further away.

So how much longer to you wait on Mr. White?  There have been a rash of changes in the roster recently, and more are likely to occur as we break into the interleague portion of the season.  If Bonser is thought good enough to take the spot of Kyle Lohse, is Jason Kubel good enough to take the spot of Rondell?