In looking at the Twins roster picture, the bench seems to be the biggest question mark. Who makes the 25 man roster coming out of spring training on the bench will be based upon several scenarios.
Recently, my dad and I did a half hour show where we discuss the roster at length. If you missed it, you can listen to it at the following link.
The first scenario that will determine who will be on the bench is how many pitchers the Twins will carry this season. If they carry 13, the Twins are almost certain to have Chris Herremann as the backup catcher given the fact he can play first base and in the outfield. If they only go with 12 pitchers, then it gives them some flexibility as to who the backup catcher will be. It is almost certain that Josmil Pinto will not be the backup despite his solid September last season where he batted .342/.398/.566 with 4 homeruns, 12 rBIs and 10 runs scored. The only way Pinto would be on the roster to start the season is if he’s catching at least a significant portion of the time wich would mean that free agent acquisition , Kurt Suzuki, is the backup at catcher or Pinto and Suzuki share the catching chores.
Another scenario that would determine who is on the bench come opening day is who plays at shortstop. Pedro Florimon is currently not able to play a week of games this spring due to having his appendix removed. Plus, his hitting of .221/.281/.330 last season isn’t going to help his chances of making the Twins roster.
There are other potensial candidates who could be the starting shortstop come opening day. Eduardo Escobar is one. Last season, he spent a good portion of the season with the Twins as a utility player where he batted .236/.282/.345.
Jason Bartlett could also have some potensial to be the everyday shortstop. However, this doesn’t seem to be likely since indications are that Bartlett will be playing other positions this spring meaning that he’s more likely to be trying to make the team as a utility player. He hasn’t played in the majors for almost 2 years due to a strained right knee.
How the outfield situation plays out this spring will also impact who is on the bench come opening day. Centerfield is probably the biggest question mark with Aaron Hicks and Alex Presley as the front runners with Darin Mastroianni and Byron Buxton as wild cards.
If Hicks is the opening day centerfielder, it seems to be likely that Presley is likely your fourth outfielder. If Hicks isn’t your starting centerfielder at the start of the season, then Presley will most likely be the starter with Mastroiani as the backup outfielder.
Rightfield may be a question mark as well. Oswaldo Arcia is slated to be the rightfielder, but it’s not set in stone given his 117 strikeouts in 351 at bats last season. If Arcia isn’t the rightfielder, Chris Parmelee could potensially be the rightfielder along with Jason Kubel.
And who the Twins have as their DH could also determine who is on the bench. Despite batting only .216/.293/.317 with 5 homeruns, 32 rbIs. and 21 runs scored between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Cleveland Indians last season, Kubel is the front runner for the DH position with Parmelee as another candidate.
There are certainly plenty of question marks for the Twins in regards to their bench. They have a month to find answers. At this point, there are no definite answers as to who the Twins will have on the bench.
I’m planning on doing another Troy’s Twins Chat show next Thursday, the 6 of March at 10 p.m. I’ll post the link to the broadcast where you can listen to it live or later next Thursday sometime during the day.