One of the biggest questions leading to the Twins 2013 is how they plan on filling the hole left by the trade of Ben Revere and Denard Span. There are a handful of candidates for the position; Darin Mastroianni, Aaron Hicks and Joe Benson, with some guys like Clete Thomas nibbline at the edges.
The common opinion is that Twins fans would like to get their future started as soon as possible, and Aaron Hicks is the highly rated prospect heralded as the next big thing in the Twins outfield. While in the long term, we would all love to see Hicks live up to his potential, it’s not best for the Twins if he breaks camp with the team.
Hicks will reach “Super 2″ status if he makes the lineup out of Spring Training, which means he will have an extra year of arbitration, which will mean more money down the line for the Twins to pay. In this case, it’s in the best case for the best prospect not to make the team.
That means we’re down to Mastroianni and Benson. If you couldn’t tell, I am in favor of Darin Mastroianni taking over the opening day spot in center. It will show prudence among management, as he has actually posted MLB career numbers that aren’t far off from what Benson has done in the minors. Benson winning would be youth for youth’s sake.
All that taken into account, I think Benson winning the 4th outfield spot would be the best case scenario. This will likely be Benson’s last good shot at making the Twins roster with players like Oswaldo Arcia and Hicks on their way sooner rather than later, it would behoove both Benson and the Twins if he proves he is still a capable, developing prospect. Better to do that at the top of the mountain and let the burgeoning Twins farm move up at a natural pace.
If Benson handles the jump to the big leagues, then perhaps by May he could be the new center fielder. Then, by July (or next offseason), he could be traded. As Ben Revere proved, younger talent always brings more back in return. Perhaps a team looking for a stable centerfield solution with pitching prospects to spare will bite. Couple that with moves of Josh Willingham and Ryan Doumit, with a re-signing of Justin Morneau and the future of the Twins will be much more tangible to start the 2014 season.
Of course, that’s all a best case scenario.What actually happens, and what the Twins’ long term plan is remains to be seen.