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GameDay Chatter: The three saddest letters

Sunday, I once again was the voice of the GameDay Chatter segment on AM1500's postgame show.  Here's the text of my latest appearance:

I've got three letters for you: D-F-A. They're the saddest three letters in baseball.

Those three letters are the abbreviation for "designated for assignment," which is baseball's version of the pink slip.  In technical terms, it means that the major league club has ten days to trade or waive the player so designated, and in th meantime, they can fill his spot on the roster with somebody else.

In real terms, though, DFA is the short way of telling a player, "We want you off our team immediately, and it's so important to get you out of here as soon as possible, we don't even care if we lose you for nothing.  We don't even get to stop paying you.  That's how bad you are; we would gladly pay you to sit at home, so long as you're anywhere but here."

Luis Ayala was the latest Twin to get the treatment; the Twins DFA'ed him last Monday, making room for Bobby Keppel, the team's latest attempt to stop the bleeding in the bullpen.  Astonishingly, this means that only two relief pitchers are left from the team's Opening Day roster.  Of those seven relievers, the Twins sent two down to the minors, and DFA'ed or released three others, one of whom ended up back in the team's minor-league system.  Only Joe Nathan and Matt Guerrier survive - along with R.A. Dickey, who was in the starting rotation on Opening Day.

Twins fans have been frustrated with the team's inability to get much past the .500 mark this year.  But with a bullpen that's been as DFA-worthy as this one - Ayala included - I'd say it's just a wonder that they're anywhere above Royals Territory in the standings.