After the Minnesota Twins traded Denard Span to the Washington Nationals, it left a big hole in right field. In a situation similar to the one prior to the 2011 season, the Twins would need to find somebody to fill that void, as the current in-house replacement appears to be Darin Mastroianni.
The Twins love Mastroianni's speed (21 steals in 24 attempts), but would his fielding (1.99 range factor per nine innings in 34 games in right) and production at the plate (.678 OPS) be enough to hold right field down? It's highly unlikely.
That's why when the Twins headed to the Winter Meetings in Nashville this week, right field may have been a place where general manager Terry Ryan could have spent a couple of bucks to get a quality replacement. According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, that may not be the case.
Manager Ron Gardenhire is looking forward to seeing Chris Parmelee in the lineup more now that there's a spot for him in right field. "He's learned to get his pitch, and when he gets it, drive it," Gardenhire said. "He's fun to watch."
This presents a good news, bad news scenario for Twins fans. While Parmelee has been mashing Triple-A pitching (.338 average, 17 home runs and 49 runs batted in with 1.102 OPS), the Twins have never found a spot in the lineup with Justin Morneau occupying first base.
With Parmelee battling the Anthony Rizzo complex (.229, five HRs, 20 RBI, .671 OPS in 64 games with the Twins), it seems like having another masher in the lineup would be a good thing. For this rebuilding team, it will mean a dangerously quiet winter.
The Twins need to make moves to restock their farm system that was regarded as one of the best in Major League Baseball as recently as a couple years ago. To do that in a timely manner, the Twins must trade some of their assets.
One of the assets would be Morneau, but he no longer has to be moved to get his considered heir apparent Parmelee into the lineup. That means the Twins will likely hang onto Morneau this winter and not chase a free-agent option in right field.
In the end, this could all work out for the Twins as they consider Parmelee to have a big future and will finally give him a chance to be an everyday player. Yet, for Twins fans who want a quick fix, they will be subjected to another quiet winter by the Twins brain trust.