4 Call-Up Options Should Josh Donaldson Miss Time
Image courtesy of © David Dermer-USA TODAY SportsOpening Day for the Minnesota Twins reminded us just how real the risk of injury is in baseball each and every day. On just the second at-bat of the game, Josh Donaldson pulled his hamstring rounding first base and was forced to leave a 0-0 ballgame.
After the game, manager Rocco Baldelli didn’t give out too much information regarding the severity of Donaldson’s injury saying, “Obviously there has to be some concern, but we’ll wait and see until we know a bit more to comment further.”
While we do not yet know if Josh Donaldson will go to the injured list or not, it’s clear that a contingency plan needs to be in place. Let’s look at the four minor league call-up options should Josh Donaldson land on the injured list.
When Brent Rooker was surprisingly left off of the Opening Day roster, the primary reason given was that Baldelli did not want Rooker to be up with the Twins if he was not going to get every-day at bats. If Donaldson were to hit the injured list, and Luis Arráez were converted over to be the every-day third baseman, there would be a full-time opening at left field, with Jake Cave then able to act in his usual fourth outfielder role. Brent Rooker has always had the bat to compete in the Major Leagues, however his outfield glove is a major question mark. Additionally, with Kyle Garlick already up with the Big League club, Rooker’s right-handed power bat would be a bit redundant.
The controversial decision to start Alex Kirilloff at the alternate site was similarly made with the primary reason being that Kirilloff would need to get consistent work. A decision that fans were largely disappointed by, could be corrected here, calling up Kirilloff to cover the void in left field caused by Donaldson’s injury. This decision would cause Alex Kirilloff’s service time clock to start earlier than ownership may like, and his readiness for the Majors is still a question mark after his troublesome Spring.
Calling up a fifth outfielder to replace an injured infielder might not make the most sense. Calling up a replacement infielder for Donaldson, might be the most prudent decision as currently, Willians Astudillo would be the only backup infielder on the roster. Under this line of thinking, infielders Travis Blankenhorn, JT Riddle or Tzu-Wei Lin would give the Twins more defensive flexibility and allow them to not need to rely as heavily on La Tortuga as a backup infielder. Of the three mentioned infielders, Blankenhorn is the only one currently on the 40-man roster. One other option would be Nick Gordon, who is also on the 40-man roster, but it’s not totally clear how Major League ready he is at this time.
The final option for the Twins would be to not call up another bat, but instead call up an extra arm for Josh Donaldson’s roster spot, should he hit the IL. Heading into the season, some thought that the Twins should roster 14 pitchers, however they opted for 13. With this injury, the Twins could bring up another reliever such as Shaun Anderson or Lewis Thorpe who are both on the 40-man roster. The Twins could then roll with Arráez as the everyday third baseman, a Garlick/Cave platoon and left field, with Astudillo filling in as the utilityman across the diamond. This option would give the Twins much more flexibility with their pitchers in a season in which pitchers will need to be handled with care, however having Astudillo as the lone utilityman isn’t the most ideal option.
Which call-up option do you think the Twins should go with should Josh Donaldson be forced to go on the injured list? Is there a fifth option not mentioned above? Leave a comment below and start the conversation!
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