Twins make change at 2B

Alexi Casilla is gone, and Dave Cameron notes the Twins had little choice ...

    I'm not a big believer in trend analysis, but you rarely see that kind of direct line with no variation. His OPS by month has declined every single month since last May (he began the season in the minors, so there's no April data for '08), where he went from great to good to okay to bad to really bad to miserable to holy crap we've seen enough.
    At this point, I think we probably have to assume that Casilla is not going to make it in Minnesota. He showed some promise last year, but for a guy with no power and an aggressive approach at the plate, his margin for error is very small. When he gets into funks like this offensively, he's going to be really bad, and he's not exactly making up for it with gold glove defense at second base either.

    The Twins are going to look at Matt Tolbert and Brendan Harris to fill the void, but they're going to need to make a move to bring in a new second baseman if they want to try to get back in the AL Central race. At this point, Casilla's probably out of the picture for good, and they don't have a quality option for the long term available.

Forget about the trend line for a moment. Casilla turns 25 this summer, and his career line is .249/.300/.319 in 739 plate appearances. Just a run of bad luck? Casilla's Triple-A stats are little better. This is who he really is.
You could almost sort of live with numbers like that, if Casilla was a shortstop or a great second baseman. He is neither. At second base, he's passable at best. Really, there simply isn't a place for him in the major leagues. It speaks well of the Twins, that they've figured this out. It speaks poorly of them that it took so long.

I'm a bit more sanguine than Cameron about Brendan Harris. He's not a good fielder but he's no worse than Casilla, and he's actually a pretty good hitter, just a bit worse than league average for his career. Tolbert, who started tonight's game at second, is also decent. Sure, it'd be nice to have an established second baseman in the lineup every day. But in terms of fill-ins, the Twins could do a lot worse than Harris and/or Tolbert for the rest of the season. Now, if they can just find a real shortstop ...