A better team or a better player: the difficulty of Josmil Pinto

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Rumor has it that the Twins are thinking about sending Josmil Pinto to Triple-A.

Running through the logistics of adding Kendrys Morales to the Twins, the deduction of Josmil Pinto possibly being sent to Triple-A was natural. Pinto was no longer getting at-bats as a designated hitter, and adding Morales would put a cap on even the possibility of the occasional start there. It quickly boiled down to a difficult decision: do you keep Pinto with the Twins because his bat makes them a better club, or do you send him to Triple-A at the detriment of the team but with the possible benefit of his development as a player?

Pinto, 25, is at a critical juncture in his development. He needs to see live pitching regularly, and it's worth wondering if catching two-fifths of the rotation constitutes "regularly." I don't think it does. But there's also the issue of his defensive abilities.

It's not like Kurt Suzuki has blindingly brilliant numbers as a catcher, but he's also hitting .302 with a .373 on-base percentage. Pinto's slump over the last several weeks gives his manager even less incentive to play him than he already was - or wasn't - and that should be taken into consideration as well.

Selling high on Suzuki now, as the team has just added Morales and is looking to stay relevant for as long as possible, would be ill-timed. While Pinto could get more playing time as the weeks drag on and Suzuki's numbers dip, continuing to see such a talented bat sit on the bench seems like a waste of talent on this roster.

And so it comes down to a question of priorities. Are wins for the Major League team at the forefront, and therefore, wanting the best possible players on the 25-man roster, do you keep Josmil Pinto around and just try to fit him in where you can? Or is the development of a good young hitter the primary concern, even to the detriment of the talent level of your big league ball club, because playing five or six days a week and working on defensive aspects in a game setting is necessary?

I don't think there's a right answer, and that's what the Twins are struggling with at this very moment. Personally, I'd probably send him to Triple-A, knowing that finding him more time with the Twins will be difficult in the short term.

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