TwinsCentric: Versatility Needed

2 Nov

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

As the four TwinsCentric guys sat down to work through our Blueprints for the TwinsCentric Offseason GM Handbook, I’m sure we jotted down some “musts.” We “must” add at least one upper level starting pitcher. We “must” balance the batting lineup. Hopefully many of you will work through a blueprint of your own and e-mail it to twinscentric@gmail.com to be entered into a random drawing for one winner of the TwinsCentric 2012 Twins Annual next spring.  

One of my “musts” was that the roster should be full of players that have the flexibility to play multiple positions and complement each other well. I figured that with physical question marks in Justin Morneau and Denard Span and with all of the injuries that the team experienced in 2011, it would be important to have players who can play a couple of roles. Here is how some of that could play out:

  • Michael Cuddyer – He can play RF, 1B, 2B, 3B and D. That isn’t saying that he plays any of them particularly well, but to know that he could fill in at any of those positions definitely helps. Cuddyer is a free agent, but versatility is one of his many traits that make him a top free agent this offseason.
  • Joe Mauer – Obviously he needs to continue catching, but it is great that he has now accumulated some innings at 1B as well, and played RF fairly well in the game he played there. This could become more important.
  • Backup Catcher – There are several options out there who hit right-handed, can catch 80+ game and spend time at 1B or at another position.
  • Luke Hughes/Trevor Plouffe – Both are out of options. Both could be used as trade chips. Both are right-handed with the ability to hit the ball out of the ball park. Hughes can play 1B, 2B and 3B. Plouffe can play all four infield positions and the two corner outfield positions. (No, not particularly well, but in a pinch it helps.)
  • Alexi Casilla – The Twins seem poised to make him a starter at 2B or shortstop, but does he have more value to a team if he is a utility player, playing three infield positions?
  • Outfielders – Ben Revere and Denard Span can play LF and CF, and RF if needed. Rene Tosoni never played LF until he was up with the Twins last year. He had primarily played RF with some time in CF. Jason Repko was taken off the 40 man roster, but he could play several positions.

If you have enough flexibility in your roster, you could afford to keep Drew Butera on the roster so that the backup catcher and Mauer can play most days in the same lineup. Or, you could have a big bopper to pinch hit, someone like Jim Thome or Vlad Guerrero, if that’s the direction that you choose.

Versatility and roster flexibility is always important but with so many question marks heading into the offseason, I think it’s particularly important for the Twins this year.

Any thoughts or comments?

QUICK HITS

  • Parker posted some Quick Hits at Over the Baggy, discussing Joe Nathan, Ryan Madson and more.
  • Seth hosted last night’s SethSpeaks.net Weekly Minnesota Twins Podcast. He was joined by Cody Christie (North Dakota Twins Fan) and they discussed their offseason blueprints and several other Twins topics.
  • Seth posted some thoughts on the Twins claims on LHP Matt Maloney and RHP Jeff Gray on Monday.
  • Brian Dozier was named yesterday to represent the Twins in the Arizona Fall League’s annual Rising Stars game which will be played on Saturday evening. On Monday, Dozier knocked in the go-ahead run for Mesa. Brett Jacobson got the win in the game, and Dakota Watts threw two scoreless innings for the save. On Tuesday, catcher Chris Herrmann went 1-3 with a walk.
  • The Winter Leagues in the Dominican Republic and Venezuela continue to run. The Puerto Rico League will get started on Friday. On Thursday, the Australian Baseball League will start their schedule. Here is a quick look at the Twins organization players in the ABL:
    • Sydney Blue Sox – Jacob Younis and Todd Van Steensel.
    • Melbourne Aces – Josh Hendricks
    • Brisbane Bandits – Rory Rhodes
    • Perth Heat – Luke Hughes, Liam Hendriks, Allan de San Miguel
    • Canberra Cavalry – Mark Trau and Tim Atherton.
  • If you are looking for a review of the TwinsCentric Offseason GM Handbook, we’ve got a couple for you. Check out the reviews by Puckett’s Pond and Twinkie Town.
  • It was disappointing to read yesterday that Ryan Lefebvre is no longer a candidate for the Twins radio job. Also, as someone who listened to a lot of Rochester Red Wings games the last couple of years, it was disappointing to hear that their play-by-play man, Josh Whetzel, was also told that he is not in the running.   

Any thoughts?

4 Responses to “TwinsCentric: Versatility Needed”

  1. Joel November 2, 2011 at 3:24 pm #

    The Big Question getting a Guerrero or Thome or such is…who is the DH. Right now, the Twins would be wise to make Morneau the DH who can also play 1st. In that scheme, you don’t need Kubel, and suddenly you see worth in Cuddyer, who can play 1st/OF/DH/ The Twins need a catcher who can also play elsewhere. You can have Mauer and another guy in the lineup as long as one doesn’t have to DH. But the Twins have to answer their DH question. If Mauer catches, Morneau plays 1st…then you can have a Thome to fulltime DH…he’s not wasting a bench position persay.

  2. Sam0 November 3, 2011 at 9:40 am #

    It’s interesting that “not particularly well” was used to describe the defense of both Cuddyer and Plouffe. It seems to me there is quite a difference in their level of play. Anyone know how they statistically stack up next to each other? (yes I realize there is a cost difference to consider)

  3. darin November 3, 2011 at 5:58 pm #

    Versatility Needed?
    Yes, let’s sign a bunch of jack of all trades and master of none players. Or they could break the bank and see if they could afford Prince Fielder and turn him into a singles hitter. Fire Gardy and get all new coaches.

  4. rhobbs November 4, 2011 at 1:06 pm #

    They must get a shortstop out of the ample free agent pool and under no circumstances should they break north with Drew Butera as their ” backup” catcher. Cuddyer is a good guy but sabremetrically pedestrian. They should not waste precious resources there.

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