Saturday, April 14, 2012

Clete Thomas vs. Ben Revere

New Twins outfielder Clete Thomas has hit
.253/.336/.391 in 391 at-bats spread over three seasons
with the Detroit Tigers.

Here's a player move that really illustrates how Ron Gardenhire uses, or doesn't use, his bench.

The Twins claimed Clete Thomas from the Detroit Tigers on waivers Saturday. They made room for him on the 40-man roster by putting Scott Baker on the 60-day disabled list, and made room for him on the 25-man roster by sending Ben Revere to the minors.

Revere does a few things very well — he runs, he fields, he makes contact. He doesn't throw well and he lacks power. Those failings make him a poor choice for regular duty in an outfield corner, but what he does do, he does well enough to justify using him to do those things.

Thomas, on the other hand, is pretty mediocre at everything. He's better than Revere at the things Revere doesn't do well, he's worse than Revere at the things Revere does do well. There is no one thing that you'd want to put him in the game to do.

Ben Revere got 11
at-bats in the first
eight games.
The Twins prefer Thomas on the bench to Revere. Why? Because Gardenhire isn't a manager who loves to make in-game moves. And Revere makes more sense for a manager who wants to use his bench in speciality roles.

Gardenhire has said he doesn't want to sub defensively for Josh Willingham or Ryan Doumit; he doesn't want to lose their bats and he fears not having a reserve catcher available. That makes Revere's glove relatively less useful. It also means that two of the most likely candidates to be pinch-run for are staying in the game.

Gardenhire prefers a bench of guys waiting to be put in the starting lineup. On this year's team, he plans to lock Willingham and Denard Span in left and center; right field will be a hydra-headed position. It's also the outfield spot Revere is least suited for.

Thomas fits the Gardenhire system better than Revere does. It doesn't make him a better player.

1 comment:

  1. I suspect Thomas was taken off waivers for the sole purpose of being able to send Revere to the minors. I am sure Terry Ryan wants him playing every day, not sitting on a major league bench. As Ryan pointed out, Span blocks Revere in his best role, playing center field and leading off.