The Twins have a penchant for carrying 12 pitchers, and considering the recent lack of quality starting pitchers who could (theoretically, because nobody in Minnesota really can remember) go deep into a ballgame, that's not much of a surprise. It does mean that the bench is made up of just four position players. This has occasionally bitten the team in the caboose, particularly when a position is left without a backup (center field) or when players are hurt but not hurt enough to hit the disabled list.
The challenge for Ron Gardenhire and his staff is to fill his bench with everything they could possibly need. That not only includes players who can help to provide defensive substitutions at all positions, but it also includes finding those players while also crossing one's fingers that they can hit for a number larger than their shoe size. And that's hard.
With rumors simmering regarding the Twins' interest in Mark Reynolds, it's worth thinking about how his acquisition would affect the makeup of the Major League team's four-man backup crew. Reynolds could get in some time as a designated hitter, but he would also be used to back up Joe Mauer and Trevor Plouffe at the corners.
How would that affect the bench? You can find out for yourself. Below is a list of Minnesota's starting nine (we're just penciling in Jason Kubel for the designated hitter spot, so you can focus on the bench), and then a list of options for the bench, along with a checklist of the positions they play. Your job is to put together a bench that is as complete as possible, balancing defensive coverage with offensive upside.
Starting Nine: Alex Presley (CF), Brian Dozier (2B), Joe Mauer (1B), Josh Willingham (LF), Oswaldo Arcia (RF), Trevor Plouffe (3B), Jason Kubel (DH), Josmil Pinto (C), Pedro Florimon (SS)
Just a few things to note about how I put this list together.
- There are players who could, potentially, play a position "in a pinch". Maybe you'd like to see Parmelee get a "YES" for left field or Bartlett a "YES" for third base. I won't argue those. As long as it's reasonable, I think those kinds of stretches can be made.
- Kurt Suzuki is a given for your catcher. But you must find a way to have at least one "YES" in every other column with just three players, or otherwise justify why you are not.
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