But that meant both were trade chips, and the Twins — who were going nowhere with or without Span and Revere — cashed them in during two separate deals for pitching prospects Alex Meyer and Trevor May (along with Vance Worley, who flopped here but had a 2.85 ERA in 110 innings with the Pirates last year). Meyer and May could soon be long-term parts of the pitching rotation, and if they work out the trades will have been worth it. Either way, the deals were made with good intentions.
The main consequence, though, has been a gaping hole in center field these past two seasons. In trying to build a bridge to Byron Buxton, the Twins have more so assembled a loose network of wooden planks, abandoned aluminum boats and Styrofoam coolers. You can step on those things to get from there to here, but it’s not without challenges.
Aaron Hicks got the job out of camp in 2013, and he started 78 games in center but proved overmatched at the plate. Castoff Clete Thomas received another 48 starts in center, while Alex Pressly got 27.
Last year, it was another hodge-podge: Danny Santana, a converted shortstop, led the way with 62 starts in center; Hicks had 53 and Sam Fuld had 37.
It feels as though we are headed for one more year of this in 2015, reminding everyone that Buxton can’t get here soon enough (and that last year’s lost season was costly because otherwise he very well might be taking over right now). Jordan Schafer is in the mix to get a lot of starts. Hicks, again, is too. The Twins are even giving a long look to Eddie Rosario. Another stopgap — they always seem to come along — could wind up being a placeholder as well.
For the third straight year, the Twins figure to have the least amount of stability at one of the game’s most important positions.
Hurry, Byron. We can’t take much more.