We didn't know what we had in Josmil Pinto as the 2014 season approached. The Twins didn't, either, which is why they signed Kurt Suzuki. They needed an insurance policy; a guy who would be fine splitting time behind the plate but also a guy who could start regularly if things went south on Pinto.
It's easy to say that that's exactly what happened. With a .222/.323/.407 triple slash heading into his demotion yesterday, there's only so much valued to be gleaned by keeping him just because he's a more talented bat than half of the 13 position players on the active roster. Maybe he slumped because pitchers eventually had a better scouting report; maybe he slumped because he was pressing; maybe he slumped because his mechanics were getting lose; maybe he slumped because he wasn't playing regularly.
While it's likely that the culprit is a combination of those and other things, going purely on value he hasn't been helping the team lately. Since May 1 he's hit .200/.227/.329, and on the season runners are 16-for-16 in attempted stolen bases. Pinto has had issues with his footwork and his throws to second, things which are largely fixable because a lot of it is mechanical, but he's also allowing too many wild pitches (6) and passed balls (3) on his watch. Sure, some of that can be blamed on consistently catching Samuel Deduno, but not all of it. So yes, if he's not playing and not doing well when he does, send him down. It's the right decision.
And that brings up the big question: why wasn't Pinto playing more often in the first place? He started in 19 of the team's 24 games in April and then just 14 of the team's 29 games in May. Here's what it comes down to.
- Pinto started five of the following nine games after May 8 (the final date in which he had a regular start as a designated hitter) - four as the catcher, just one as the designated hitter.
- Pinto then started just once in a five-game National League ballpark swing.
- In the 17 games since, Pinto started five games at catcher and one at designated hitter. Who started at DH for those games? Josh Willingham (3), Kendrys Morales (most recent 3), Trevor Plouffe (2), Danny Santana (2), Joe Mauer (1), Jason Kubel (1), Oswaldo Arcia (1), Eduardo Nunez (1), Pinto (1), and then two games were in Milwaukee.