In a move that seemed overdue, the Minnesota Twins recalled first baseman Chris Parmelee from Triple-A Rochester on Wednesday. In a corresponding move, relief pitcher Jeff Gray was outrighted to Rochester and he is no longer on the Twins’ 40-man roster.
Parmelee hit .204 with two home runs and six RBI over 120 plate appearances with the Twins earlier this season, but his production with Rochester (.338 batting average, .645 slugging percentage, 17 home runs, 49 RBI) has been hard to ignore and made him worthy of a call-up.
Parmelee, the Twins’ first round pick in 2006, got his first taste of the big leagues in September 2011 and was productive, hitting .355 with four home runs and 14 RBI over 88 plate appearances after being promoted from Double-A.
Parmelee could see time in the corner outfield spots as well as spell Justin Morneau at first base over the final month or so of the season. If he can be productive with the bat and prove capable of handling first base defensively, the Twins may be able to move Morneau this winter and bring in a major league-ready starting pitcher. Morneau is due to make $14 million next season in the final year of his contract, so any team that expects to be a contender and needs a first baseman but is hesitant to make a long-term commitment to him may show interest.
Trading Morneau and having little risk in terms of production drop-off from him to Parmelee would theoretically free the Twins up to pursue more starting pitching on the free agent market. So hopefully Parmelee makes the most of his opportunity and it makes sense for the Twins to get him as many at-bats as possible, be it in the outfield, at first base or as a designated hitter.