Picture of the Day: Thinking About the Future of the Twins Outfield

I find it oddly poetic that, behind Delmon Young, the advertisement on the scoreboard in the background is for Waste Management. Not because Delmon is a garbage player, because he's not. But he did take a rubbish route to that ball. And constructing a baseball team is, in many ways, about waste management. It's the duty of every front office to manage waste, because every single organization will have a certain amount of it.

How each team manages its waste will depend on available resources. Money for free agents, the intelligence and foresight of the front office for moves outside of the organization, and the strength of the farm system are three of the biggest examples. Each organization must also manage waste on the field, with the players available to them.

The Twins, for example, manage waste on Joe Mauer by resting him more often than some people would like. They manage the defensive inabilities of Jim Thome, at this point in his career, by never putting him on the field. They also manage potential waste of Thome himself by limiting playing time, when he is actually healthy.

With the unique situation the Twins are in this season, they've had to manage waste by attempting to piece together a lineup with the best bats they have available. For whatever reason, whether we have agreed with it or not, whether it's the right decision or not, the Twins have decided that putting Young in left field even when a legitimate designated hitter is unavailable is the best way to put their team together.

Last night was a shining example of why this probably isn't the best showcase of waste management.

But it's just not Delmon's bad routes in left field. Jason Kubel and Michael Cuddyer are both not just sub-par defenders, but they're sub-par defenders in part because they don't cover a lot of ground. All three of them have plus armstrength, but if the choice is between armstrength and range (yes, I know it's not that simple) I'm going with range in my outfield every time.

In the next few seasons the Twins will have many interesting decisions to make in regards to their outfield. If they want to add speed and athletecism to their lineup, if they're looking for a quick turnover, Jason Kubel and Michael Cuddyer are impending free agents. If they're really disillusioned with Delmon, he could be non-tendered this winter.

Denard Span is under a good contract and isn't going anywhere, and Ben Revere will play a part in the Minnesota outfield for at least the next six seasons. Jason Repko would probably come back in 2012 if the Twins wanted him, but there are a few internal candidates the Twins could turn to in their system.

Rene Tosoni and Brian Dinkelman are both useable in the corners as competent glove men, although offensively they aren't ideal. Dustin Martin and Brandon Roberts are both unproven commodities, with Roberts perhaps having more upside but it's been difficult to tell with the challenges he's faced this season. There aren't a lot of good options at triple-A, at least not in terms of a starting outfielder.

If the Twins choose to turnover those three Major League outfielders and stay internal for a starter, their best chance still lies in double-A. Joe Benson has hit .294/.380/.489 as a 23-year old, with 23 of his 53 hits going for extra bases. He plays center field, has a stronger arm than either Span or Revere, and even if he doesn't stay in center he projects to have far more power than either of those two. It will be a surprise if he doesn't finish the year in triple-A.

There's a lot of summer left. And even after that summer is over, a lot of things need to happen before we see the outfield of the future. But after watching the trainwreck that was Saturday night's game, sometimes it's just fun to think about.

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