For most of last year, and almost all of this season so far, the Twins have carried 13 pitchers on their 25 man roster. However, having a 13 man pitching staff has it’s drawbacks, especially when you have a player who’s day to day as in the case of Joe Mauer, who’s currently day to day with back spasms.
With one less player on the bench, you don’t have as much flexibility. On Monday, the Twins had all three catchers in their starting lineup. Last night, Trevor Plouffe was the DH with Eduardo Escobar playing third.
As you can see, the Twins were hamstringed. On Monday, they only had two infielders on the bench in Danny Santana and Escobar. Luckily, both of them could play in the outfield if needed. The real issue would have been what do you do for your backup catcher. More than likely, if Kurt Suzuki was injured during the game, Chris Herrmann would have had to shift from right to catcher with either Escobar or Santana playing in the outfield. If Josmil Pinto was to move from dH to catcher, the Twins would have had to give up the DH spot in their lineup.
Last’s night’s game would have presented it’s own challenges as well. The challenging part wouldn’t have been so much what to do for a backup catcher since Pinto was on the bench. the challenge would more likely come from if an infielder was hurt. The Twins did have Pedro Floremon on the bench, but he’s best suited for the middle infield.
Since Plouffe was the DH, the Twins would have to had to give up their DH spot if they needed Plouffe to come in at first or third. Plus, Plouffe can play in the outfield if there’s an injury to one of the outfielders.
When you look at the roster as it’s currently set up, there sin’t a lot of flexibility. Plouffe, Santana and Escobar can play in the outfield if needed. However, the fact that there are only two players on the bench really cripples your team, especially when one is your backup catcher.
The word is the Twins will be making a roster move soon to replace a pitcher with another outfielder which will help resolve the short bench. Oswaldo Arcia is currently at AAA Rochester where he’s batting .333/.379/.444 with 3 RBIs and 3 runs scored. Also, Mauer should be returning soon since he’s back is feeling a lot better.
As you can see, having a 13 man pitching staff can cripple a team significantly, especially when you have a player who’s not playing because of an injury. Not only that, but when you don’t have a lot of players that can play multiple positions, that will cripple your bench even more significantly. If the Twins can go down to a 12 man pitching staff, it will significantly help the club.