Friday, August 23, 2013

Beating the Tigers with their rejected outfielders

Clete Thomas makes a diving catch in Wednesday's game.
This is one of those things that happen in baseball: The Twins — not a good team — won this week's series against the Detroit Tigers, who merely have the best record in the American League.

And they won the series while playing regularly two outfielders — Clete Thomas and Wilkin Ramirez — who were developed, tested and discarded by the Tigers.

In this series, Thomas was just 2-for-12 at the plate, but he did make several diving catches and cut down Prince Fielder, whose baserunning on that play Thursday probably cost the Tigers a run they could have used.

Thomas, 29, is getting his first sustained major league action since 2009, and his .224/.295/.332 slash line does not suggest that the Tigers erred in deciding they could do better without him. Nor has Thomas really established that he's better than the demoted (and currently hobbled) Aaron Hicks (.192/259/.338).

Ramirez, 27, made the opening roster as a bench bat but missed the majority of the season after sustaining a concussion on a play that signified the silliness of considering him a usable center fielder. He's hit better than Thomas (.279/.317/.382), but not in enough playing time to be significant (less than 100 plate appearances). He went 4-for-12 in the Detroit series with a double.

The Twins clearly have outfield questions to deal with during the offseason. I don't see either Thomas or Ramirez being serious answers to any of those questions.

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