Monday, August 13, 2012

Span and the outfield alternatives

Denard Span did something to his shoulder diving for a ball Sunday, and the Minnesota center fielder/leadoff hitter is described as "day-to-day."

Which doesn't sound bad, until you remember that Trevor Plouffe was described as "day-to-day" for almost a week before he was finally put on the disabled list. He's been out three weeks now, and supposedly he's to reactivated today, although that's not official yet.

One difference in the Span and Plouffe cases: With Plouffe, the Twins had nobody they really wanted to call up to take his place. First they turned to Danny Valencia, who they then waived and traded to the Red Sox; then it was Tsuyoshi Nishioka, and we know how well that worked.

Plouffe is an infielder; Span an outfielder. And while the Twins don't have impressive infield prospect in the upper levels of the farm system, they do have a number of reasonable outfielders to pick from.

Start with Chris Parmelee. His best position is first base, but he has plenty of corner outfield experience. And he is absolutely raking in Triple A -- .351/.463/.661. He bashed two more home runs Sunday, giving him 11 in his last 17 games.

The only reason he's still in Rochester is that the Twins don't have a regular lineup spot available for him.

But if Span is out, then Ben Revere moves to center and Parmelee can play right.

Parmelee is so obviously the next in line that the serious discussion ends there. But there are a couple of outfielders in Double A New Britain -- Aaron Hicks and Oswaldo Arcia -- who deserve mention.

Hicks, a first-round pick in 2008 who had spluttered in the minors before this season, has had a breakout year. He's not on the 40-man roster now, but he has to be added this winter. Arcia, who is on the 40, is ripping through Eastern League pitching even more impressively than he did Florida State League pitching in the first half of the year.

I don't know that the Twins are eager to make room for either Hicks or Arcia yet; I'm not even sure how the Twins would use either or both if they get September callups, which would seem likely.

This is obviously grist for future columns and posts, but Hicks and Arcia (and Parmelee) provide the Twins, at the very least, with some tempting trade bait this winter.


  1. I think Mastroianni has earned consideration as the fill-in right fielder while Span is out, and that would make it difficult to call up any any of the players that need regular at-bats. If Span does go on the DL, that would force their hand, but Mastroianni has been another unsung brightspot during a disappointing season.

  2. I agree with Paula. I like Mastroianni. I only wish Dick and Bert would learn how to pronounce his name. Both forget there's an "i" in the middle, and a lot of times Bert doesn't even come close. But I think it's a sign that the worst thing I can think of about him is that people have trouble with his name. He's quite a ballplayer.

  3. If there's a logjam at the outfielders' spot, why don't the twins try and ship some guys out to address some positions of need?