With the Twins in Pittsburgh, Terry Ryan has remained in Minneapolis, and I speculate from vague and general statements this is due to continuing roster changes. Wouldn't one of these changes need to concern Rondell White?
Right off the bat, you should know that I've heard nothing saying that Rondell White's days are numbered in that it's-over-in-this-many-days-no-matter-what-happens kind of way. From examining the evidence, from recent changes to the roster, from Ryan's absence on this road series, however, my speculation has been able to triangulate the coordinates of the Twins' immediate future. These things tell me the Twins will soon part ways with their incompetent designated hitter, and that they'll be better off for it.
Exhibit A: Statistical Review
In one of my favorite Gleeman moments in recent history, it was pointed out that Rondell White is the worst designated hitter in the history of baseball with at least 180 plate appearances. Pat Putnam, Lee Stanton, Deron Johnson and Glenn Adams...not exactly ringing endorsements of White's season. This is the chart Gleeman presented.
OPS PA YEAR
RONDELL WHITE .413 189 2006
Pat Putnam .479 212 1984
Lee Stanton .514 342 1978
Deron Johnson .542 389 1974
Glenn Adams .555 242 1981
This has been one of those situations where all of the uninformed clowns who say "[Rondell White] is the worst player ever!" are actually correct. If you've had one chance to see White "hit" in 2006, you've seen what's been happening since opening day. Slow bat through the zone, lunging awkwardly in his swings, eyes not on the ball, amazingly quick at-bats and absolutely zero results to show for the effort.
I know Rondell White wants to succeed, and I can only imagine how he feels about his performance on the field so far this year. He knows what he was brought here to do, and he knows that's exactly what he hasn't done; to historical proportions. Unfortunately for Rondell, this shouldn't and won't stop the Twins from making an intelligent baseball decision. White's time is up.
G AB H R 2B 3B HR RBI Avg Obp Slg
2006 54 181 33 15 6 0 0 15 .182 .209 .215
Proj 131 439 80 36 15 0 0 36 .182 .209 .215
Exhibit B: Musical Chairs
Tony Batista was caught without a chair. Juan Castro's chair was shipped to Cincinnati. Over the last month we've been witness to any number of pitchers not only being caught standing when the music stopped, but having their chairs switch between the rotation and the bullpen. No matter how you view the organization's moves over the past few weeks, one thing is certain: the powers that be aren't afraid to pull a switch on something that isn't working.
What isn't working is Rondell White. So many changes have been made recently, some of them possibly a bit premature and unwarranted, but there are only a precious few decisions yet to be made concerning the major league roster. You could include Kyle Lohse, Scott Baker, Carlos Silva, Boof Bonser and Ruben Sierra in this picture, but the main player is our unproductive designated hitter. He's hit for no power, is hitting nearly as empty of a .182 as empty can be, and has clearly lost confidence. Perhaps a change of scenery will do him good, but I doubt he has much trade value at this point, particularly with the contract (and the stipulations therein) that he holds.
Exhibit C: A GM's Absence
You can't pin anything down on Ryan's nonattendance alone. It's the peripherals that make this circumstance curious. Terry Ryan, like a good general manager, is involved in the everyday performance and review of his club. The times when he isn't present at one of the Twins' games, when he isn't off scouting players in his own system, are times for speculation.
With Minnesota left for dead, with Minnesota's recent resurgence, there's nothing left to lose when it comes to parting ways with an unproductive player. Taking into account how miserable of a season it's been for White, when you see the sweep of changes that have descended upon the roster, it should strike you curious when the GM is suddenly taking leave from his club's road trip.
Right now all the evidence is circumstantial...there's no smoking gun. There are two open spots on the 40-man roster already. Nothing here should be telling you what you don't already know: Rondell White is probably on his way out. As the evidence continues to pile up, and as the media continues to act as the prosecution to White's hostile witness, it's only a matter of time until the axe falls.
Ruben Sierra's rehab stint in Rochester is becoming less of a "rehab". Michael Cuddyer is doing well in right field. Jason Kubel is on a tear. Torii Hunter is entrenched in center, Lew Ford's capacity to play all fields is too valuable and Shannon Stewart will be on the roster when he returns, even if he isn't playing in the outfield. There's suddenly a logjam for the outfield positions with the Twins, and slots can't be wasted on players who just aren't not hitting, but can't play a lick in the field, either.
Terry Ryan is an intelligent man, and is generally a good baseball mind. There's no way the organization is willing to give up on an underwhelming campaign in the middle of June. So there's only one question to ask concerning free agent acquisition Rondell White: how much longer can you allow the ruse to continue?