The Triple-A Rochester Red Wings played their last game of the regular season today, and they won resoundingly, pummeling the Pawtucket Red Sox 10-1. Unfortunately, the game will also be the last of the Red Wings season, as the Lehigh Valley IronPigs also beat the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders 4-3, meaning Rochester just missed making the playoffs.
It’s actually pretty remarkable. A week ago it looked like the Red Wings were headed to the Triple-A postseason. However, the IronPigs then went on a six-game winning streak, meaning both teams ended with an 80-62 record. In the Triple-A, they don’t play a tie breaker game—the winner of the tie is the team that beat the other more during the season. This season, that was the IronPigs.
Red Wings play-by-play guy Josh Whetzel put the feat into perspective for us on Twitter:
The Red Wings are just 5th team in last 85 years in IL to post a .550+ win % and yet not make the POs. Last year's team was the 4th.— Josh Whetzel (@JoshWhetzel) September 4, 2017
Since the league expanded to 14 teams in 1998, the 2017 Red Wings are just 4th 80 win team to not make the playoffs.— Josh Whetzel (@JoshWhetzel) September 4, 2017
Then there is this... https://t.co/kaWy8HH32o— Josh Whetzel (@JoshWhetzel) September 4, 2017
While missing the postseason is probably a bummer for the Red Wings players, coaches, and fans, it could be good news for the Twins because now they don’t need to worry about calling up reinforcements.
Who might those reinforcements be? The Twins already officially called up Aaron Slegers today, and he’s scheduled to start Wednesday against the Rays. The team will likely also call up rehab-ers Adalberto Meija and Dietrich Enns too, since they sorta have to do that at some point here, right?
Hector Santiago is a bit more of a question mark. He has struggled in his recent rehab starts for the Red Wings, and was reportedly was throwing the ball only 84-85 mph. That seems to indicate he’s not entirely ready or healthy, though it’s unclear where else he will rehab since the Red Wings season is over. There’s also the whole issue with him having been moved to the 60-day DL to make a 40-man roster spot for Niko Goodrum. If the Twins activate Santiago, someone else is going to get the DFA. Considering how Santiago has pitched, is it worth putting him back on the roster?
As for position players, Robbie Grossman will certainly be back soon. He’s been rehabbing from his finger thing down at Triple-A. However, it’s not clear if the Twins are going to call-up the other two Triple-A players on the 40-man roster: Engelb Vielma and Daniel Palka. As I wrote last week, Vielma—a slick fielding shortstop—seems a little redundant with Ehire Adrianza on the roster. And though Palka has some power and might be useful as another bench bat, the team may not find his .274/.328/.433 and eleven home runs in Triple-A this year worthy of a cup of coffee.
In any case, we should see more players join the big league club sooner than had previously been predicted.
UPDATE (5:10 pm CT):
Looks like Robbie is already headed back.
Robbie Grossman is headed back to the Twins after playing a couple games with Rpchester— LaVelle E. Neal III (@LaVelleNeal) September 4, 2017