by, 03-28-2013 at 12:01 PM (593 Views)
So I was curious the other about my believed ineptitude of the Twins at the DH position. So I looked up basically the last 10 years of position specific hitting. Surprisingly, the Twins have utilized the DH pretty well. Obviously, they are not Boston with David Ortiz, but it hasn't been Rondel White numbers either.
In the recent history, they had Thome which clearly boosted their numbers. For a few years they were right at the top of the league! I stopped a second, made sure I was looking up the right position (not catcher/1b) and said "good play Twins, we'll see how long that lasts." Despite their lack of a true DH, they have usually been middle of the pack. However, the one that hurts is in 2006 when the DH posted a .676 OPS only slightly above Seattle.
While I can accept the Twins haven't been completely inept at the position, it still bothers me the way they handle it. Obviously using Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Micheal Cuddyer, Jason Kubel at DH have boosted the numbers since 2006. Needless to say, they are all position players, and using them as a DH inserts a back-up into the line-up..... and most likely, a futility infielder or no-hit catcher. That, is the part the bugs me. So while the DH numbers have looked ok, it is covering up the fact that position in the line-up is actually being occupied by someone that has no business getting 400 MLB AB's in a year.
Things are starting to come together a little now, right? I'm advocating for a legitimate full-time DH. One that can post an .800+ OPS for the position without help from other players, one that can hit for power, and one that MN fans like. I'm advocating for Josh Willingham to move to DH for the next 3 years. His contract is only through next year? If he is healthy all off-season you extend him 2 years at about the same money he is at now an move him to DH where he can stay healthy.
This does a few things. First, and best of all, it takes AB's away from futility INF like Florimon, Escobar, Carroll (wait, that is like all our MI INF... whaaaat). Next, when guys like Mauer, Plouffe, ect. need a day off, they can actually take a day off and not just DH. That is one of the things that bugs me about Gardy. If you want a guy to take a rest (Mauer) give him an actual rest! I get the keeping the bat in the line-up thing, but the Twins have a pretty decent bat in Doumit now, and have an ok option in AAA once Doumit leaves in Herrmann. He could still do this on day Willingham gets off, but I'd accept more games without Mauer in the line-up at all if we had a DH like Willingham where the drop-off in the line-up is only one position. I think it would also allow Mauer to catch more games, which would be another added bonus.
The Twins have a glut of OF coming in the near future (Hicks is already here). Arcia coming up could push Willingham to DH instead of Parmelee to 1b like many are speculating. This would allow the Twins to bring Arcia up as soon as this year. I'm in favor of a real DH. An asset to the line-up. A RH power bat to drive in runs. I want this team to win, regardless of my distaste for ineptitude of the front office. I hope they consider it, because moves like this are what teams that want to compete do.