Monday, May 19, 2014

Skills for the bench

Chris Herrmann
is hitting .359 in Triple A
but just .128 in the
majors this season.
The Twins have today off (Thursday too) and are about to play five games without the designated hitter.

In preparation for that, they've made a change at the margins of the roster. Gone, for now, is reliever Michael Tonkin; back is catcher-outfielder Chris Herrmann.

There are Twins fans displeased with this, wanting Oswaldo Arcia or Josh Willingham back instead. But Willingham's not far enough into his rehab assignment to be recalled. and Arcia is several days shy of eligibility for recall. Those are practical reasons for bypassing them.

There's a philosophical reason too:  Herrmann and his positional flexibility makes more sense as a bench piece that either Arcia or Willingham.

There is one thing to put Arcia or Willingham in the game to do: Hit. That's important, to be sure, and both are better at hitting than Herrmann is.

But the Twins have, especially with the DH out of the lineup, several other guys who meet that description: Jason Kubel, Chris Colabello, Josmil Pinto, Eduardo Nunez, Chris Parmelee. The Twins generally play two corner outfielders who are better suited to the DH job. Adding another one doesn't do much.

Herrmann gives the Twins a different set of skills on their bench.

Now, Willingham and Arcia should be back soon, and in the lineup when they return. But they should be replacing the likes of Colabello and Kubel (or Parmelee) when that happens.

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