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  • Pedro Florimon In Line To Be Opening Day Starter


    "I love having him at shortstop."- Ron Gardenhire, 9/16/12, The Ron Gardenhire Show

    It didn't take very long for Brian Dozier to fall out of the good graces with the Minnesota Twins. The team gave him plenty of opportunities to showcase his talents as the shortstop of the future for the organization but he was unimpressive during his rookie campaign. This has left the door open for another player to step-in and get most of the reps at shortstop during the last couple months of the season. Pedro Florimon was the man the Twins turned to and he might be lining himself up to be a starter on Opening Day next season.
    On Sunday's edition of The Ron Gardenhire Show, Gardy had nothing but praise for Florimon and his performance so far with the club. There are obvious things to like about his defensive and those were the skills Gardenhire focused on when asked about his new shortstop. He likes his hands in the field and his ability to get to the ball seems to be as advertised from his time in the minor leagues. While there were some plays just out of the reach of Dozier, it seems like Florimon is able to complete almost every play that is asked to make. The offensive side of the ball is a little bit of a different story for Mr. Florimon.

    During his time in the minor leagues this season, Florimon didn't exactly strike fear into opposing pitchers. In time at the Double-A and Triple-A level, he hit .259/.318/.351 with only 27 extra-base hits in 424 at-bats. To say, his ability to hit for power is lacking would be an understatement. It is fine for a middle infielder to not have pop in his bat but this usually comes with the ability to be a contact hitter. For Florimon, his contact swing hasn't exactly developed in the minor leagues either. In 83 games with Rochester, he hit .251/.308/.344 so he wasn't exactly pounding down the door for the Twins to give him a look at the big league level.

    Since joining the Twins in the middle of August, Florimon has appeared in 29 games for the club with all of those appearances coming as a shortstop. His non-hitting prowess has followed him to the big league level as he has posted a batting line of .237/.290/.333 with seven extra-base hits in 29 games played. He has almost as many strikeouts (20) as hits (22) and this is another scary trend that has followed him during his trek through the upper minors for the Twins and the Orioles. It would be nice if he could steal a base or two but he was thrown out in 8 of his 21 steal attempts in the minors this season. He hasn't been asked to steal a lot with the Twins but his two attempts at the big league level have been successful.

    He is getting a shot with the team and it is hard not to wonder if this could turn into a more permanent role for next season. We have seen this before with Gardenhire falling in love with a slick fielding middle infielder with limited skills on the offensive side of the ball. It's not like Florimon is a young infielder working his way through the Twins system. He wasn't exactly fought over when he came to the organization as a waiver claim from the Baltimore Orioles organization. In December, he will turn 26-years old and it's hard to imagine his offensive skill taking a giant leap in the coming years. At this point in his development, he is what he is and the Twins have to deal with the player they have on their roster.

    The Twins entered this past spring with some question marks up the middle after signing veteran infielder Jamey Carroll as the team tried to forget about the nightmare of Tsuyoshi Nishioka. It seems more and more like next spring could have some of the same story lines playing out. Terry Ryan and the coaches for the Twins will tell the media about an opening contest for the middle infield spots but they will have an idea about where they want those positions to end up. Carroll, Florimon, and Doizer will all be in the mix for starting roles and even Eduardo Escobar might be given a look. Alexi Casilla is still arbitration eligible but it might be time for the Twins to part ways with him as his contract value starts to rise and his playing ability isn't where the club would like it to be.

    To most fans, Dozier might seem like a better option for the future of the club since he seems to have the vibe surrounding him about an up-and-coming prospect. The truth is Florimon and Dozier are both going to be 26-years old for the majority of next season and it could be make or break time for their careers as big league players. It seems like a situation where Florimon will be given the starting shortstop role out of spring training and the job will be his until he shows the team otherwise. Dozier will be sent to Triple-A to try and find success at that level where he could show the team he deserves a place with the big league club. Carroll will get the nod at second base but an injury or old age could mean Dozier gets the call.

    If I was making the roster, I would like to see Florimon sitting at shortstop to start the year because of his defensive ability. Dozier showed fans and the front office that he was lacking in some defensive areas at shortstop so I would give him the starting second base job. It could take some of the pressure off of him on the defensive side of the ball and let him relax when he steps in the batterís box. This would leave Carroll as the utility man and it would also give the Twins some flexibility when it comes to giving players a day off in the field. Carroll has shown adequate ability to man most infield positions and this could be his role as he turns 39-years old before the beginning of the 2013 campaign.

    How would the middle infield look on Opening Day if you were in charge of the team?
    This article was originally published in blog: Pedro Florimon lining up to be Opening Day starter started by Cody Christie
    Comments 56 Comments
    1. acrozelle's Avatar
      acrozelle -
      Who else is excited for the worst hitting middle infield in the league next season?
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
      Florimon has not been very impressive defensively - the tools are there but the execution has not been.

      That said....on what is this insanity about Dozier not getting a fair shot based on? Hell, the guy basically had a scholarship for about a month and a half before he was finally demoted.
      Sometimes being forced to play over your head means not getting a fair shot. He was just in A and AA ball last year! He needed more time to get it together in Rochester. He should have gotten 250+ plate appearances before any promotion. Failing that, he certainly should have been sent back down much earlier in order to get back on track. And THEN he should have been playing 2B in Rochester, then called up and gotten time at 2B for the Twins.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Question: does anyone else find Gardy's like of Jekyl and Hyde great/bad Florimon over the steady non-flashy consistency of Jamey Carroll a bit puzzling? What was the Castro/Bartlett nonsense about back in the day (I repressed that memory)?
    1. snepp's Avatar
      snepp -
      Quote Originally Posted by Shane Wahl View Post
      Question: does anyone else find Gardy's like of Jekyl and Hyde great/bad Florimon over the steady non-flashy consistency of Jamey Carroll a bit puzzling? What was the Castro/Bartlett nonsense about back in the day (I repressed that memory)?
      Castro VP > Carroll VP




      (VP = veteran presence)
    1. phalvorson's Avatar
      phalvorson -
      Quote Originally Posted by Riverbrian View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Boom Boom View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Riverbrian View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Boom Boom View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Oxtung View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Boom Boom View Post
      I think I'd rather have Jamey Carroll as the regular shortstop.
      Remember that if Carroll gets 401 PA's next season he has a PLAYER option for 2014 when he will be 40 years old. Would you still rather have Carroll?
      Yes. If I'm the Twins I'm not thinking about $2 million for Carroll in 2014, I'm trying to put my best players out there.

      I really don't want Carroll there either, but I'd rather give him 401 PAs next year than give Florimon 401 PAs, option or not.
      If Florimon gets 401 at bats next year... It will mean that he got better at some things and is doing a job. Therefore no problem... If he continues to struggle... He won't see 401 at bats in 2013.

      If Carroll gets 401 at bats next year... It will mean that Florimon and Escobar and Dozier or a new MI didnt get the job done and we needed Carroll to hold down the fort.

      Im hoping Carroll doesn't get 401 at bats for that reason.
      There you go. Are you confident that the Twins will have all of 2B, shortstop, and 3B locked down for an entire season next year? It hasn't happened recently. And look at the guys you named - I'd even add Plouffe to the list - how many do you think will be able to stick without needing to be replaced?

      Like I said before, it looks to me like Carroll will get enough PAs anyway.
      I am not confident at all. I think Plouffe is the guy at third and I dont believe the Twins will be looking for a 3B. The hot streak he had this year was stunning. Once you display a streak like that... the Twins would be foolish to not keep him in place in case he does it again. Go ahead and write Plouffes name down and etch it in stone.

      SS and 2B are huge question marks and so is the overall depth. The Twins have multiple holes to plug and itll be hard tp plug them all... I don't expect a big hitting SS or 2b to show up.

      Im not going to worry about .240 or .210 at the plate. The difference will mean very little. I'm gonna try and be reasonable and say simply... Give me someone who can gobble up the routine stuff and make the near impossible play every once in awhile. Florimon looks like he could be that guy but he has to nail down the routine stuff or he won't be given the chance to make the big play. He will lose the job to Escobar or Dozier or Carroll.

      Drew is not the answer. Please God no... Pitching is the priority so let's surround those pitchers with players who can get the ball up the middle. Florimon has done nothing to prove he is the long term answer so far... He's just shown flashes of ability that suggest he could be at the very least... A guy who will support the pitching and the pitching will need all the support it can get.

      Its all about opportunity and Florimon is getting his right now. It's up to him to grab it. He may not. Let's see... Too soon to say right now.
      I'm specifically replying to this quote: "Im not going to worry about .240 or .210 at the plate. The difference will mean very little. I'm gonna try and be reasonable and say simply... Give me someone who can gobble up the routine stuff and make the near impossible play every once in awhile."

      Did you just EXACTLY describe Nick Punto, who everyone wanted gone for years? He hit below Mendoza, handled the routine plays, and occasionally made the impossible. Those are some pretty low expectations for a new Twins starting SS, huh?
    1. snepp's Avatar
      snepp -
      I know I'm looking forward to another season of a .600 OPS middle infield. Which, disgusting as it may sound, would be an improvement. They've only managed a .589 OPS this season.


      That's right, .589, in nearly 1,200 plate appearances. And yet there are people that don't think the middle infield requires attention?
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Quote Originally Posted by snepp View Post
      I know I'm looking forward to another season of a .600 OPS middle infield. Which, disgusting as it may sound, would be an improvement. They've only managed a .589 OPS this season.


      That's right, .589, in nearly 1,200 plate appearances. And yet there are people that don't think the middle infield requires attention?
      Improve by subtraction (Casilla) and improvement (Dozier, Florimon). Also, are you sure that number is correct? Carroll is at .637, Florimon .623, Dozier finished .603 . . . then Casilla .572 (Escobar, Hughes, and Nishioka are lower, but with very few PAs). Still bad, but not quite that bad.
    1. snepp's Avatar
      snepp -
      I didn't do the math, just pulled up the BRef splits.

      I've still got hope for Dozier at 2nd given that Gardy has apparently written him off at short.

      Florimon is going to be 26 with a .670 minor league OPS, how much improvement is there to be had there? I'd be shocked if he can manage to do better than a low .600 OPS in his career.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Quote Originally Posted by snepp View Post
      I didn't do the math, just pulled up the BRef splits.

      I've still got hope for Dozier at 2nd given that Gardy has apparently written him off at short.

      Florimon is going to be 26 with a .670 minor league OPS, how much improvement is there to be had there? I'd be shocked if he can manage to do better than a low .600 OPS in his career.
      I like the idea of Dozier at 2B. Good thing they promoted him in September to do that . . .

      Florimon might be a .650 OPS guy, and I don't expect much more. Let's say that Florimon, Dozier, and Carroll collectively produce a .650 OPS next year. Is that good enough improvement? I just REALLY don't trust the Twins' evaluation of FA middle infielders, so I don't know what they are going to do other than hope for Danny Santana and Levi Michael to have breakout seasons at AA.
    1. LaBombo's Avatar
      LaBombo -
      Competent 39 year old utility player or fringe 26 year old utility player as your starting shortstop next season? That's a real nail-biter for a franchise that will be fighting to avoid 90 losses for a third consecutive season next year.

      It seems obvious that Florimon and Dozier or somebody else with even a faint whiff of potential should be starting in next year's middle infield. But maybe I'm missing something.

      Without disputing that Carroll would probably represent at least a small improvement over those two at short, let me ask the Carroll backers this.

      Why do you care?

      Is it that you believe the Twins will be a contender in 2013 despite being a 90+ loss team with the 3rd worst run differential in MLB, no impact prospects ready to contribute in the majors next season, and a GM who has vowed not to make virtually ANY significant changes in 2013?

      Or is it that you're reeeeeeally worried that they'll lose 90 again instead of just 88?
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      Quote Originally Posted by Shane Wahl View Post
      Sometimes being forced to play over your head means not getting a fair shot. He was just in A and AA ball last year! He needed more time to get it together in Rochester. He should have gotten 250+ plate appearances before any promotion. Failing that, he certainly should have been sent back down much earlier in order to get back on track. And THEN he should have been playing 2B in Rochester, then called up and gotten time at 2B for the Twins.
      I wouldn't call that not getting a fair shot - I'd call that rushing him. Which I wouldn't disagree with. Hell, I think he got TOO MUCH of a shot.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by LaBombo View Post
      Is it that you believe the Twins will be a contender in 2013 despite being a 90+ loss team with the 3rd worst run differential in MLB, no impact prospects ready to contribute in the majors next season, and a GM who has vowed not to make virtually ANY significant changes in 2013?
      While I understand your sentiment, the Twins aren't nearly that bad off. Parmelee is already in Minnesota. Gibson, Hicks, and Arcia will probably make appearances in 2013. And where has Ryan said he's not going to make changes?
    1. ScottyB's Avatar
      ScottyB -
      Quote Originally Posted by Nick Nelson View Post
      The shortstop carousel continues.

      This organization's inability to identify even serviceable options at one the most important positions on the field is mind-blowing.
      This goes back to the beginning of the draft. In their entire history, Dozier's 84 starts at short rank him as 3rd on the list of most starts for the Twins by a Twins' drafted shortstop - 1) Pat Meares 742 games; 2) Danny Thompson 630 games and Dozier's 84 - how embarassing. Most other drafted shortstops have switched positions (ie Knoblauch and Cuddyer), or been utility guys.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Shane Wahl View Post
      Sometimes being forced to play over your head means not getting a fair shot. He was just in A and AA ball last year! He needed more time to get it together in Rochester. He should have gotten 250+ plate appearances before any promotion. Failing that, he certainly should have been sent back down much earlier in order to get back on track. And THEN he should have been playing 2B in Rochester, then called up and gotten time at 2B for the Twins.
      I wouldn't call that not getting a fair shot - I'd call that rushing him. Which I wouldn't disagree with. Hell, I think he got TOO MUCH of a shot.
      Well, OK. I don't think it is "fair" to throw someone in over his head and keep him over his head for a few months and then pass judgement without giving him a shot when the Rochester season is over (as a second baseman).
    1. Riverbrian's Avatar
      Riverbrian -
      [/QUOTE]

      I'm specifically replying to this quote: "Im not going to worry about .240 or .210 at the plate. The difference will mean very little. I'm gonna try and be reasonable and say simply... Give me someone who can gobble up the routine stuff and make the near impossible play every once in awhile."

      Did you just EXACTLY describe Nick Punto, who everyone wanted gone for years? He hit below Mendoza, handled the routine plays, and occasionally made the impossible. Those are some pretty low expectations for a new Twins starting SS, huh?[/QUOTE]

      Ok... If the SS is Punto like... He's Punto like... But what I'm saying is... Good luck finding a SS who can hit in the off season... It maybe a case where SS Choice A hits .240 and SS choice B hits .210... .240 is better... I understand this... But... I'm not going to worry about an extra hit every 33 at bats from Player A... I'm not going to bring up OPS because Dozier seems like the only guy who can do the extra base thing... Kinda... And the FA choices are slim and underwhelming and will probably be competed for and therefore expensive.

      In lieu of a real honest to goodness hitting Shortstop... I'll start the .210 guy if he plays like Punto in the field. Because that guy will go a long way to Helping us... And I mean... Helping us build a pitching staff.

      We'd all love to be stacked like the Rangers... It isn't realistic right now. We are going to be a team with holes like almost every team in the league and I think you can survive the offensive SS hole we are almost sure to have... if... he can pick it and get it... in support of the pitching staff.

      Priorities... We need to improve our pitching. We won't be able to trade for Andrus... If we do... That means that we didn't trade the package Andrus would require for Pitching.

      I'm not condoning being sub par anywhere. I'm saying... Tulo ain't coming to town. Our pitching is more important and in even worse shape than MI... Fix the pitching as quickly as possible and a defensive SS will help the pitching fixing that is needed... By the time the Pitching is functional... Maybe a SS who can push the ball around the park and out of the park will be an option.

      Im not going to waste my time hoping, wishing or expecting a big hitter at the 6 position in 2013... I'm going to waste my time hoping and wishing for Pitching and the structure to help the pitching succeed.
    1. Wolfy's Avatar
      Wolfy -
      How will Carroll not get 400 PA next year if the Twins plan on moving on with Plouffe, Florimon, and possibly Dozier as the middle/LS infield? That is a lead pipe cinch unless he gets hurt.

      Dozier got a real fair shot and looked like the career minor leaguer he is destined to be. Plouffe is not the answer. He isn't any more accomplished than Dozier except he got hot for a month and hit some homers. Florimon is interesting. He looks to have the best package of skills in the organization. (of the players that are ML ready)

      I don't disagree with Florimon having the inside track at SS at this point, unless some other option drops into the team's lap this off season.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      I'm not convinced that having the meager yet steady 2014 Carroll for $2m is the worst thing in the world. He could be a steadying hand for a young infield.
    1. nokomismod's Avatar
      nokomismod -
      Quote Originally Posted by LaBombo View Post
      Competent 39 year old utility player or fringe 26 year old utility player as your starting shortstop next season? That's a real nail-biter for a franchise that will be fighting to avoid 90 losses for a third consecutive season next year.

      It seems obvious that Florimon and Dozier or somebody else with even a faint whiff of potential should be starting in next year's middle infield. But maybe I'm missing something.

      Without disputing that Carroll would probably represent at least a small improvement over those two at short, let me ask the Carroll backers this.

      Why do you care?

      Is it that you believe the Twins will be a contender in 2013 despite being a 90+ loss team with the 3rd worst run differential in MLB, no impact prospects ready to contribute in the majors next season, and a GM who has vowed not to make virtually ANY significant changes in 2013?

      Or is it that you're reeeeeeally worried that they'll lose 90 again instead of just 88?
      Unless Terry Ryan is playing poker when he said the solution to the lack of starting pitching is not to sign big free agents, then you are absolutely right. Use Carrol as the utility guy and find out if Escobar, Florimon, Plouffe, and Dozier can play.
    1. Boom Boom's Avatar
      Boom Boom -
      Quote Originally Posted by LaBombo View Post
      Competent 39 year old utility player or fringe 26 year old utility player as your starting shortstop next season? That's a real nail-biter for a franchise that will be fighting to avoid 90 losses for a third consecutive season next year.

      It seems obvious that Florimon and Dozier or somebody else with even a faint whiff of potential should be starting in next year's middle infield. But maybe I'm missing something.

      Without disputing that Carroll would probably represent at least a small improvement over those two at short, let me ask the Carroll backers this.

      Why do you care?

      Is it that you believe the Twins will be a contender in 2013 despite being a 90+ loss team with the 3rd worst run differential in MLB, no impact prospects ready to contribute in the majors next season, and a GM who has vowed not to make virtually ANY significant changes in 2013?

      Or is it that you're reeeeeeally worried that they'll lose 90 again instead of just 88?
      I'm going to assume you're referring to me since I was the one who first said I'd rather have Carroll at short than Florimon.

      For one thing, I'm not a Carroll backer. I don't like him as a starter. He's a capable backup. But I like 39-year old Carroll better than 26-year old Florimon.

      What I'd really like is for the Twins to find somebody outside their organization to play shortstop because I don't believe the Twins shortstop of the future is both a.) in the Twins system and b.) close enough to contribute in 2013.

      My point was I've already seen enough of Florimon to know he's not the guy.
    1. LaBombo's Avatar
      LaBombo -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by LaBombo View Post
      Is it that you believe the Twins will be a contender in 2013 despite being a 90+ loss team with the 3rd worst run differential in MLB, no impact prospects ready to contribute in the majors next season, and a GM who has vowed not to make virtually ANY significant changes in 2013?
      While I understand your sentiment, the Twins aren't nearly that bad off. Parmelee is already in Minnesota. Gibson, Hicks, and Arcia will probably make appearances in 2013. And where has Ryan said he's not going to make changes?
      Ryan has stated repeatedly that the Twins will not be major players in free agency, even going so far as to make the laughable, empirically false assertion that the 2013 free agent pitcher crop is "thin". And he's also insisted there will be no major turnover in off-field personnel. Sounds like no significant changes to me.

      And as I said, no prospects are ready to contribute. Whether Arcia or Hicks get a cup of September joe has nothing to do with helping the Twins win in 2013. Gibson may surprise, but he's been dreadful in his first two starts at AAA.

      Oh, almost forgot,

      Player A Age 23 A+/AA 610 PA's, .287/.366/.436
      Age 24 AAA 282 PA's, .338/.457/.645
      Age 24 MLB 175 PA's .239/.303/.396

      Player B Age 22 AA/AAA 559 PA's .284/.370/.448
      Age 23 AAA 174 PA's .385/.477/.629
      Age 24 MLB 143 PA's .260/.322/.374

      If you're expecting a big boost from a full season of Player A, Chris Parmalee, then have a big steamy helping of Player B, David McCarty. Yes, there are differences, and reasons to be optimistic about Parmalee in the long term, but a half season of unprecedented AAA hitting isn't one of them. In other words, I didn't forget to mention Parm as a prospect ready to make a major contribution in 2013. I just don't see it happening.
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