Saturday, September 15, 2012

Eye on 2013: Drew Butera vs. Chris Herrmann

Chris Herrmann hit
.276/.350/.392 in
New Britain.
With both Joe Mauer and Ryan Doumit sidelined by injuries that may well prove persistent for what remains of the season, the Twins decided to add a fourth catcher.

The arrival Friday of Chris Herrmann is seen in some corners of Twinsdom as the next step in supplanting Drew Butera as the No. 3 catcher. I'm not so sure.

Herrmann is a left-handed hitter who has displayed strong on-base skills but limited power in the minors. He was an outfielder in college, so he's spent a couple of years being converted to catcher, but has gotten considerable playing time in the outfield as well as behind the dish.

This makes Herrmann something of a mirror image of Butera — a bit rough defensively, a left-handed hitter who can reach base. Sort of like Jose Morales, who lost out to Butera for the backup job a few years ago, except with position flexibility. Or like Doumit, only with less power (and a bit more speed).

Which is why I doubt that Herrmann is likely to supplant Butera next season. I think it more likely that Herrmann, who spent this season at Double A, will play in Rochester next year. The Twins demonstrated a couple years ago that they preferred Butera's defensive chops to Morales's batting average; there's not a lot of sense in having two bat-first backup catchers. Doumit and Herrmann are rather redundant; Doumit and Butera are complementary.

Rene Rivera hit
.226/.307.385 in
Meanwhile, Rene Rivera — who spent a good part of 2011 on the active roster and all of 2012 in Triple A Rochester hoping for a call — is apparently steamed at being passed over for Herrmann.  Rivera on Twitter Friday:

I guess I should not expect promises to be kept. Best of luck to everyone #Disappointed #Lies

Well ... Redundancy again. Rivera is the same kind of player as Butera:  Catch-and-throw guy, not a good hitter, right-handed all the way. Were it, say, Mauer and Butera who were hurt, calling up Rivera to back up Doumit would provide a mix of skills. Herrmann gives the Twins a mix.

That kind of logic, obviously, isn't going to salve Rivera's wounded feelings. I would anticipate that he won't be re-signing with the Twins this winter, that he'll find another team to serve as organizational depth.

1 comment:

  1. I think the Rays are the perfect trading partner for the Twins. They will have a need for a CF when Upton walks, they need someone to replace Pena and they need a good htting catcher. Span fits perfectly as in addition to skills he is a Tampa boy with a team friendly contract. Morneau (with Twins eating some of his contract) or Parmelee would fit in well with the Rays, and Doumit would provide them with a strong hitting catcher. The Rays have what the Twins need SP.