Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Imagining the Twins outfield without Span

Denard Span is hitting .280/.344/.384 this year.
The metaphorical dam holding back the anticipated flood of pre-deadline trades appeared to break Monday afternoon. None, however, involved the Twins.

One of the names often bandied about -- last summer and this -- as trade bait is that of Denard Span, the Minnesota center fielder and leadoff hitter. I'm not going to argue that he should or shouldn't be traded -- the answer to that depends on who the Twins get in such a trade.

No, my thinking is along these lines: If Span is traded, and if the Twins don't get an outfielder who clearly should be playing as part of the deal (they probably wouldn't), what would the Twins outfield look like the rest of the way?

It's easy and obvious enough to say that Josh Willingham would remain in left field and that Ben Revere would shift over to center (and move into the leadoff spot as well). Right field is the question.

Option A: Chris Parmelee. He's spent most of his sporadic major league time at first base, but he's played almost as much right field in the minors as first.

As the roster is currently constructed, there's no real use for him; Justin Morneau/Joe Mauer/Ryan Doumit are splitting first base, DH and catcher, and Revere has taken over right field. But Parmelee has hit in Triple A (.302/.446/.510), and it makes sense to find some PT for him in the majors.


Drawback: Parmelee's not going to help the pitching staff much in right. Like Willingham, he'll have to hit to justify his lineup spot. 


Option B: Darin Mastroianni. The opposite of Parmelee: A right-handed hitter who is a good defensive outfielder, very fast, not a lot of power.


If Ron Gardenhire were so inclined, a Mastroianni-Parmelee platoon might make some sense. (It would also, as somebody -- I think Kirsten Brown -- said on Twitter a while back, sound like an Olive Garden entree.)


Drawback: Mastroianni is probably better suited to the fourth outfielder role than a regular's job.


Option C: Move Trevor Plouffe to right, with (most likely) Danny Valencia getting a fresh shot at third base.


Drawback: Valencia hasn't really earned a return. He entered Monday hitting .249/.287/.399 for Rochester.


Option D: Somebody now playing at Double A: Joe Benson, Oswaldo Arcia, Rene Tosoni.


Drawbacks: If Valencia hasn't earned a return, that goes double for Benson and Tosoni.  Arcia's been in New Britain about a month, and I can't see the Twins pushing him up two levels so quickly. If the Twins do go for one of these guys, however, I'd like to be Arcia.



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