Wetmore: 5 thoughts following Twins' home opener, roster moves
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Busy day at Target Field for the Twins home opener. Twins General Manager Terry Ryan made an appearance and shook hands Monday.
The Twins also made a few changes to the roster. Here are my thoughts from Monday.
1. Replacing Jason Bartlett with Chris Herrmann is a smart roster move. Bartlett hit the 15-day disabled list with a sprained left ankle, which opened a spot for Herrmann.
Herrmann makes more sense to me.
In my mind, his value is based almost wholly on his positional flexibility. He can play either corner outfield spot and he said he can play first base or center field in a pinch. Neither is a likely scenario. His biggest attribute is his ability to catch.
He wasn't in the starting lineup Monday, but his presence allowed Ron Gardenhire to do something he might not have otherwise done. Backup catcher Josmil Pinto - one of the five or six best hitters on the team - was in the lineup as a DH.
Gardenhire's nightmare scenario goes something this:
Kurt Suzuki starts at catcher and Josmil Pinto at DH. Suzuki is hurt during the game, and Pinto would need to be moved from the DH spot to catcher, meaning the Twins would 'lose' the DH for the remainder of the game.
While that's unlikely, one can understand why a team would prepare for every possibility.
Having Herrmann on the bench as a catcher allows Gardenhire to DH Pinto without fear of losing the DH in any game.
The drawback is that perhaps Herrmann won't be able to produce adequately at the plate. That argument doesn't hold much water when examining the end of the Twins bench. Jason Bartlett and Eduardo Escobar also can't hit.
Herrmann's positional flexibility allows for an upgrade - keeping Pinto's bat in the lineup - that would not be available when Bartlett had the roster spot.
2. On the surface, the Eduardo Nunez trade is a little puzzling. Not the players, specifically, but the concept of the trade.
The Twins gave up a 20-year-old, low-level pitching prospect with upside for a 26-year-old former prospect who hasn't shown he can field consistently. Perhaps they view it as a buy-low opportunity or an insurance option (Nunez will report to Triple-A Rochester), but the organization seems to be in a place where it makes more sense to gamble on upside.
3. One problem with MLB's replay system - admittedly a work in progress - is how the fans are left in the dark. During a review process that can take several minutes, fans are left to wonder the exact nature of the review. Some plays it's obvious what is being reviewed; other's it's not clear.
4. I don't like to be a guy to point out a problem without offering a solution, so perhaps MLB can borrow a page from the NFL. Offer fans a brief explanation of what you're looking at. It's easier to sit patiently when you know what's happening, and you can talk about it with your buddies. If you're left to wonder, attention to the game wanes. I contend that one of the major hurdles MLB will face is the shorter attention spans for a product that demands patience.
5. Josh Willingham and Oswaldo Arcia currently are sitting. Of course, teams can't control when players get hurt. A weak bench getting shorter by two players can be detrimental. If it isn't likely one or both of the players can return in short order, it would make sense for the Twins to use the DL and add another body to the bench.
Gardenhire said on Willingham: "So far we've got no breaks. Still a possibility of an MRI."