On Thursday night, Minnesota Twins’ backup catcher/outfielder Chris Herrmann fulfilled a moment of a lifetime when he pinch-hit in the ninth inning and came up with the game-winning hit as the Twins took down Chicago in comeback fashion, 4-3. Herrmann pinch-hit for Pedro Florimon in the ninth and promptly slapped a single to right field to complete the Twins’ comeback victory; however, could Herrmann’s jubilation be short-lived?
Before the game, the Twins announced that catcher Ryan Doumit was ready to come off the disabled list—for concussion symptoms—and a corresponding roster move would be necessary once Doumit was officially activated. Seeing as though the Twins aren’t in a place—in my opinion—to carry three catchers at the moment, Herrmann seems like the odd man out. Other candidates for demotion could include infielder Doug Bernier and outfielder Wilkin Ramirez; however, no matter who is demoted, roster sizes expand in less than a month when September rolls around and whoever is demoted will likely be recalled to finish the season with the Twins’ at the majors.
For a player like Herrmann to be able to come up with a game-winning hit is something special and you would think that it would help gain some confidence from manager Ron Gardenhire based on the clutch appearance that Herrmann demonstrated on Thursday night; unfortunately, it may be too little too late. Herrmann is hitting .236 with three HR and 12 RBI this season—under limited playing time—and has been an adequate replacement offensively and defensively for the Twins when Mauer has needed a rest. It would be nice to see Herrmann stick around at the majors and receive some additional playing time down the stretch, but it wouldn’t be logical to play Herrmann in favor of Doumit who has more experience and talent than Herrmann does at this point.
You may argue that playing Herrmann instead of Doumit would be better for the long-term future of the team, but I think the team is anxious to get Doumit back in the lineup with the hopes of possibly dealing him by the end of the waiver deadline. Doumit may not fetch the Twins’ much in return, but Herrmann has shown that he can be an adequate replacement for Mauer and could assume the backup catcher role if the team decides to deal Doumit. While no deal is immanent, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Doumit dealt before the waiver period ends this season. If that is the case, you could see Herrmann remain in the majors longer than this weekend; but if I had to make a prediction, I would say Herrmann will likely get the demotion for the time being and will be recalled in September along with the rest of the call-ups.
While a possible demotion may not be the most promising and exciting news for the hero of tonight’s game, it is the reality of baseball and it is something that Herrmann is going to have to deal with until he establishes himself as a regular, valuable contributor to the big-league club.