When the Twins optioned the trio of Oswaldo Arcia, Chris Parmelee, and Eduardo Escobar to Rochester after Sunday's win over the Yankees, I think it's fair to say that a number of questions popped into my head. What are the Twins trying to say? Does Arcia's demotion have to do with his still in-limbo Super Two status? Why didn't they send down Escobar earlier? Who the hell is going to man the outfield if Aaron Hicks and Clete Thomas are the only two players listed as outfielders on the active roster?
The addition of 33-year old Doug Bernier is interesting, simply because the Twins had to go out of their way to purchase his contract an add him to the 40-man roster. Now entering his seventh season in Triple-A, Bernier has had the occasional good season and this appears to be one of them as he sports a .295 batting average and a .370 on-base percentage. Unfortunately his minor league career hasn't been uniformly impressive, the result of a decent walk rate combined with mixed results in terms of making contact. In 600 Triple-A games, Bernier's triple slash is .249/.347/.341. He becomes Pedro Florimon's backup at shortstop, having played that position exclusively this season for the Red Wings.
Which brings us back to the outfield. Chris Herrmann's recall could mean he'd see some time in a corner outfield spot while also serving as the team's third catcher. Trevor Plouffe and Ryan Doumit could also see some additional time in the corner outfield spots. But none of them are pure outfielders. And as much ground as Hicks can make up, in seems unlikely that Gardy would go with a two-man outfield. I don't think five-man infields are the new undervalued function in the game.
The 40-man roster is full. Among the available outfield options not currently on the active roster: Josh Willigham is out until August, Darin Mastroianni is continuing his rehab in Florida but is on the 60-day disabled list which would mean removing somebody else if the Twins wanted him activated, and Wilkin Ramirez was still experiencing concussion-like symptoms according to his most recent injury update.
And that's all there is. It's worth noting that Rochester's latest center fielder, Antoan Richardson, is not on the 40-man roster. But he is batting .307/.429/.410 between Double and Triple-A this summer.
So, who gets that final roster spot? It won't be a pitcher, since the team will just be coming out of the All-Star break and the staff is full and well rested. Whoever that last guy is, it will be a position player. Unless the Twins make a roster move, here are their choices.
Butera is out of the conversation. He's not having a good season. Pinto, on the other hand, is destroying Double-A pitching to the tune of .313/.423/.503. But the Twins can't give him the plate appearances he'd need, and already have three catchers on the active roster.
Right now, from left-to-right the Minnesota starting infield is Trevor Plouffe, Pedro Florimon, Brian Dozier, and Justin Morneau. Jamey Carroll and Doug Bernier are the back-ups. A similar theme to the catchers pops up: Santana is not having a very good season, and Colabello is ripping the arms off of opposing pitchers and hitting home runs with them. Colabello's triple slash so far this season is .354/.432/.652.
If what we've deduced is correct, the only two players who merit the roster spot would be Pinto and Colabello. Between the two of them, only one could get occasional playing time.
Right now, my guess is that the Twins recall Colabello. Unless something changes or I've assumed something, what other option is there?