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  • And Then There Were Two: Joe Benson Optioned To Rochester

    The Minnesota Twins made three roster moves today, the most significant of which was optioning outfielder Joe Benson to AAA-Rochester. Benson had been nominally competing for the Twins centerfield spot with Aaron Hicks and Darin Mastroianni this spring. In addition, left-handed pitcher Pedro Hernandez was also optioned to Rochester and right-handed reliever Luis Perdomo was reassigned to minor league camp.

    Benson was always the longest of shots to win the center field job. Last year he struggled in AAA, was demoted to AA and finished the year with microfracture knee surgery. He also started slowly this spring, though he showed his potential later with a home run and some extra-base hits. The 25-year-old will try to regain his prospect status in Rochester this year.

    The Twins received Pedro Hernandez (along with infielder Eduardo Escobar) last year when they traded away Francisco Liriano at the trade deadline. The 23-year-old posted a 5.19 ERA in his four starts at Rochester last year before ending the season on the DL with a strained rotator cuff. Luis Perdomo threw 17 innings for the Twins last year, posting a 3.18 ERA, but he struggled with his control and was dropped from the 40-man roster this offseason.

    In addition, the Twins made some minor league cuts as well.
    Comments 29 Comments
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      At this point its pretty obvious that Hicks has the starting CF job locked down. Mastro will make a nice 4th OF and a defensive sub/PR late in games.
    1. fairweather's Avatar
      fairweather -
      I'm very interested to see if Pedro Hernandez can stay healthy as a starter this season. He could be another "diamond in the rough".
    1. stringer bell's Avatar
      stringer bell -
      I thought those who said Hernandez should be in the bullpen had miscast him. He has been a starter through his career, correct? On a club with only one lefty starter (who will start the season on the DL) Hernandez offers some hope for a bit of balance. On Benson, he has the tools, but any OF has to hit and Joe didn't hit in spring training. I hope he makes it back this summer.
    1. Don't Feed the Greed Guy's Avatar
      Don't Feed the Greed Guy -
      Good. This allows Benson and Hicks to play in centerfield every day--with Rochester and Minnesota. Both players can develop their talents within the Twins organization.
    1. stringer bell's Avatar
      stringer bell -
      If Hicks struggles and Benson thrives, they might switch places at some time. That is no sure thing. I hope Benson rakes in AAA and forces a recall. Too much talent to give up on Joe.
    1. spideyo's Avatar
      spideyo -
      I think that lost ball yesterday finally sealed the deal for him. He definitely has talent, he just seems so raw sometimes.
    1. Rosterman's Avatar
      Rosterman -
      Interesting, almost thought Hernandez might come north out of the bullpen after his strong spring, but the team definitely wants him to start. Perdomo put up good spring numbers. Looks like the Twins may be playing Gray/Maloney all over again and we'll see optionless Roiencke and Wood getting a chance out of the early season bullpen...at least one will e gone when Swarzak returns. Be interesting to see what does happen with Deduno. He's one of those guys that if you add to the 40-man, then option him out, you might lose him.
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      Mastroianni deserves a lot of playing time too. He actually had a better spring than Hicks and a good season in 2012. An outfield of Willingham-Hicks-Mastroianni probably gives the Twins the best chance to win, but it seems like everyone is assuming Parmelee is the starting RF.
    1. Badsmerf's Avatar
      Badsmerf -
      Had to be expected by Benson. Last night I liked his approach at the plate so hopefully he can continue to improve and have some success.
    1. SweetOne69's Avatar
      SweetOne69 -
      It looks like the outfield is set since Willingham, Hicks, Mastroianni, and Parmelee are the only OFs left on the roster.

      With only 29 players on the active roster, they have 4 moves to make to get down to the Opening Day Roster. With 2 of those moves being Diamond and Swarzak to the DL that only leaves 2 moves yet to be decided. Hopefully 1 of those is Drew Butera.

      Looking at who's left on the active roster, it looks like they almost have to open up a spot on the 40-man roster and add a bench bat. Right now there are 16 pitchers left on the active roster. Assuming that they go with 12 that means they need to remove 4 (counting Diamond and Swarzak). That would leave a bench of Mastro, Carroll, Escobar and Butera. That isn't very encouraging. While Mastro and Escobar are okay as PR, there isn't much offensive potential.
    1. Rosterman's Avatar
      Rosterman -
      I expect Mastro will play rightfield some, with Parmelee being a DH or bench bat, in the early days of the season. The question is Butera or a non-roster guy. Plus who makes the cut from Deduno or Walters, bother non-roster guys, and Wood/Roiencke. The Twins have no 60-day DL candidates. They have three potential candidates who are minor league free agents, but no spot for them. Pressly looks like he may stick. The Twins also could remove Fien. But there isn't a lot of wiggle room. And then, if you add Walters, Ramierz and Deduno, and if you decide not to keep them, they have to go thru waivers.
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Quote Originally Posted by YourHouseIsMyHouse View Post
      Mastroianni deserves a lot of playing time too. He actually had a better spring than Hicks and a good season in 2012. An outfield of Willingham-Hicks-Mastroianni probably gives the Twins the best chance to win, but it seems like everyone is assuming Parmelee is the starting RF.
      Mastro put up a 90 OPS+ at age 26, and he doesn't have any minor league track record of power to allow hope of a better future. He can be one of the better 4th outfielders in the league if he continues to improve, but a team making him a starter is probably not one destined for a winning record. Parmelee could well fizzle, but he's the only one with the upside that can be above average, and he needs to get that chance now.
    1. Physics Guy's Avatar
      Physics Guy -
      Thanks for the update. No real surprises here. I was a little surprised last night when one of the announcers let Benson off the hook for the drop down the line. They used the excuse that he was near the fence and wasn't used to it since he normally plays CF. I don't buy it. Yes, he is normally a CF, but that catch wasn't that difficult and should have been made. He later dropped a ball during the transfer from the glove. Maybe we can chalk it up to end of spring training nerves.
    1. Kwak's Avatar
      Kwak -
      It appears that Benson doesn't actually have as many tools as advertised. Consider the 2011 callup--strike 1; all of 2012--strike 2; so far 2013 is shaping up as strike 3. There are just too many OF prospects in the franchise to "Casilla" Benson.
    1. CC7's Avatar
      CC7 -
      cool
    1. mako83's Avatar
      mako83 -
      I still have no faith in parmalee to hit the ball before august or september. So it wouldn't surprise me to see both in the field together. The question with Hicks do you let a rookie leadoff. Mastronni can leadoff.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      It may be nothing, but might there be some significance in the Twins FO supplying Brian Dozier and Mastro as the "voices and faces" of the Twins for in-game half-inning-long interviews against the Yankees last night? ("Get to Know Em!")
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      At this point its pretty obvious that Hicks has the starting CF job locked down. Mastro will make a nice 4th OF and a defensive sub/PR late in games.
      Hold on there! While this is the pretty obvious move, many things aren't always what they seem in Twinsland. Gardy chimes in on the "controversy", from the article:

      We're not anointing anybody right now," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "But I think we've all seen with our eyes that Hicksie can do this. But we believe Mastri can do this right now. He can do some things. So we'll let you know as we go along here who is going to be the starter."
      Both have the official Gardy annointment with pet names, but who gets mentioned last- and can do this"right now"?
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Done deal. Per the MLB Network the Twins announced that Hicks is it... (Did not help that Mastro let 2 balls drop in front of him today I bet)
    1. USAFChief's Avatar
      USAFChief -
      "Hicksie." It's official.
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