Tommy Milone is a 28-year-old left-handed starting pitcher with a 3.98 career ERA in close to 500 innings of work. He’s making a modest, by baseball standards, $2.78 million this season.
The Twins have had rancid starting pitching, for the most part, for each of the past four seasons. Their starters have never finished better than 26th in ERA in MLB during those four years. Several spots in the rotation have been bad every year, let alone the fifth spot.
And yet we get the sense there are some Twins fans actively rooting against Milone to lock down the No. 5 spot in the rotation this year, a spot he took another step toward grabbing with three more scoreless innings Wednesday.
Look: We want to see Alex Meyer as much as everyone else. He could very well be ready to contribute coming out of camp.
But Milone, even if he is not a hard thrower nor a strikeout pitcher (6.5 per nine innings in his career), has a track record of getting hitters out. That is not something the Twins have had enough of in recent years.
If he’s good enough to win the job, it will be a boon for the Twins — giving them a lefty in a rotation filled with righties as well as a guy who has had at least adequate MLB success.
Meyer, Trevor May and others will get their chances soon enough, as there are almost always injuries or other reasons to shake up the starting rotation. For now, be glad that Milone is pitching well. It could be worse. It has been worse.