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TFD: Sending Pinto down is a luxury recent Twins teams couldn't afford

  • Blog Post by: Michael Rand
  • June 11, 2014 - 4:59 PM

Josmil Pinto is 25 years old. He can hammer baseballs, as evidenced by a .464 slugging percentage and 11 homers in 211 career at bats.

But he also has holes in his swing. He has bigger holes in his overall game -- namely subpar defense and handling of pitchers. Those are the kinds of things that won't improve sitting on the bench more often than not, which is what Pinto was doing for the first 40 percent of this Twins season. With Kendrys Morales here now, his playing time as a DH figured to shrink as well. And so the Twins on Wednesday announced they are sending him to Class AAA Rochester.

He is the type of player who would have had a free pass on Twins teams from 2011-13 because he has showed some promise and because there wouldn't have been alternatives. (Yes, we realize he's a catcher and Joe Mauer was a catcher those years. We're speaking here more in the general sense that the Twins have kept players who performed like Pinto, and much worse, because they had no other options).

This year, the Twins have the luxury of continuing Pinto's development at an appropriate level. Kurt Suzuki is not the catcher of the future, but not everything is about the player of the future. He has been a very fine catcher of the present on a team that is winning about as often as it loses, and that has to feel pretty good for those who have been around the downward spiral teams of the past three seasons. Morales is a very good hitter -- better than Pinto right now, perhaps better than Pinto will ever be.

Pinto could develop here if he had to. But he doesn't have to, and therefore he shouldn't. Suzuki and Morales help the Twins win now, and Pinto still has a very good chance to help them win in the future.

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