#25 / Designated Hitter / Minnesota Twins
Aug 27, 1970
|2011 - Jim Thome
This was a move most of us have seen coming for the week now. For the last few games Thome has either been battling through a sore left oblique, or been just plan old unavailable, which for a couple of days left the Twins with an exceptionally short bench. Now he's finally been placed on the 15-day disabled list, which should allow him time to give the muscles some rest.
I love Jim Thome. I wasn't disappointed when the Twins signed him up for one more season, but I did think it was done more out of a sense of sentimentality (not to mention dollars-and-cents) than deciding he was just the right fit. Because while seeing him hit home run number 600 in a Twins uniform will be great, and I don't have much doubt he'll manage another nine homers this year, what is bound to be sketchy availability and otherwise imposed limits on playing time do take away from how much he can offer this team.
A couple of seasons ago the Twins chose not to re-sign Joe Crede because they weren't confident in how likely he was to stay on the field and be productive. You have to believe that Minnesota's decision to trade J.J. Hardy was predicated, at least in part, on his injury history. So if the Twins had trouble making a roster spot for those two players when they actually could play a defensive position when healthy, why do they make a roster spot for a guy who can't?
That's not really a question that can be definitively answered, and that's fine. And I'm certainly not questions Thome's ability to hit, or to contribute, because I'm a big Thome fan (and selfishly, I do want to see him hit number 600 with the Twins). More than anything I'm curious as to why the front office chose to make the decision they did. It's certainly not the most curious decision they made in the winter of '10-'11, but it's still on my list.
Taking his place is, of course, another player who can play defense. Trevor Plouffe's recall will give him an opportunity to prove that he can hold down the shortstop position on a regular basis, at least until the Twins have another decision to make when Tsuyoshi Nishioka returns in a few weeks (five? six?), because it sounds like Alexi Casilla will shift to second base. Which is fine with me, and I'm sure we'll see plenty of Matt Tolbert and/or Luke Hughes in the mix there as well.
As many others have mentioned, Plouffe won't be a lynchpin in turning this offense around. But he can't be any worse than our currect shortstop, and let's be honest: ANY improvement would be great. If Trevor can manage to his .240/.290/.350, I'll take it. For now.
Don't go anywhere. Beau is up in an hour with some tidbits on Francisco Liriano and his no-hitter from last night.