Chris Colabello, Chris Parmelee, and the Battle for Right Field

Scott Halleran

Let's talk about Minnesota's depth in right field and what kind of things need to happen, shall we?

While the Minnesota Twins roster currently stands at 39 players, the team has yet to officially add both Mike Pelfrey and Kurt Suzuki. Over the weekend, the Twins tried to make a move to free up a necessary spot by essentially selling Chris Colabello to Korea, but Colabello turned down the option, saying he'd prefer to stick around to help the club by staying on the roster.

His decision puts the Twins in a bit of a pickle, beyond the obvious point that a roster spot will still need to be found for Suzuki. They've essentially told Colabello, in not so many words, that they believe him to be expendable. Is he so expendable that, in the scenario where he turns down the opportunity to play abroad (and who can blame him), Minnesota would designate him for assignment?

The situation in right field was cleared a bit by the Ryan Doumit trade, but there are still too many players on the roster who can do the same job. And none of them are noticeably better than the competition, once we get past Oswaldo Arcia.

Chris Parmelee, Minnesota's first-round pick in 2006, hasn't developed into a league average bat, much less the middle-of-the-order hitter they hoped he would be. Parmelee is four and a half years younger than Colabello, but he's also had more time and opportunity to develop into the player he's capable of becoming.

With the aforementioned Arcia in addition to Josh Willingham joining Colabello and Parmelee in the outfield, the Twins have more plodding corner outfielders than they really need. Arcia isn't going anywhere, but while Parmelee should have one option year remaining it's a solution that only goes so far. It helps limit the number of players destined to play right field (and backup first base), but somehow a spot still needs to open up on the 40-man roster.

I'm not saying the Twins should or necessarily will drop one of these two players in order to get under the player limit, but considering that neither player seems to have a great deal of upside and that both players more or less "field" the same positions, it makes some sense that it would be one of them on the block.

Colabello seems to be the odds-on favorite to be the odd man out. But I can't help thinking that he's the guy I'd rather have on the bench. I prefer his power, although slugging and isolated power aren't impressive. If we're talking about a bench player who is destined for 200 or 250 plate appearances, there probably isn't too much of a difference a guy can make, but seeing how Colabello performed in the independent league and how he's performed in the minor leagues for the Twins, I want to give him those opportunities.

And none of that even touches on the issue or complications that would be caused by Jason Kubel making the roster. It could be that neither player is on the 40-man come Opening Day.

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