Last season, and for many years under manager Ron Gardenhire’s tenure, the Minnesota Twins have opted to keep around three catchers on their big-league roster. A lot of the reasoning behind why the Twins chose to keep three catchers was tied to the health of franchise cornerstone Joe Mauer and his inability to catch as many games as he did during his early years. Following the demotion of Chris Colabello to the minors on Wednesday to make room for Trevor Plouffe—who was coming off the seven-day disabled list for concussion like symptoms—the Twins have returned to their “three catcher routine” by chosing to keep around catcher Chris Herrmann. This decision poses the question: why should the Twins be keeping around three catchers with obvious tiring in the bullpen and a lack of effective pinch-hitting options off the bench?
The reason behind the Twins’ decision to keep Herrmann around is tied to their upcoming schedule and the demands placed upon their roster because of the schedule. After two three-game series at home vs. Seattle and at Kansas City, the Twins hit the road for three in Washington. Because there is no designated hitter in the National League—not breaking any news there—the Twins will likely keep three catchers on their roster to provide roster flexibility for their swing through Washington. After that series, it wouldn’t surprise me to see the team send down Herrmann and bring up another reliever or possibly another position player like Colabello. It is also very possible that the team may opt to send Herrmann back once Wilkin Ramirez heals up from his stint on the disabled list following concussion symptoms.
Another interesting tidbit to think about is whether or not the Twins would consider moving Ryan Doumit if Herrmann begins to play well enough at the majors. The likelihood of that happening is very unlikely; but if Doumit starts to play well and the Twins fall further out of contention, Doumit could become trade bait. However, with Doumit’s flexibility to play multiple positions and also provide a solid option off the bench in pinch-hitting situations, I rate this option very, very unlikely.
In general, I am not a supporter of having three catchers on the roster for a prolonged period of time simply because of all of the other areas that the Twins have on their current roster. For the time being, and with the circumstances surrounding players on the disabled list and the type of injuries that they have, I am fine with having three catchers on the roster until the Twins trip through the National League; however, after that, it’s time to get rid of three catchers and go back to adding another reliever or position player.