What in the Hell is a Pedro Florimon?
"What in the hell is a Pedro Florimon?" -- professional baseball writer, doing research on projected starting lineups
— Grant Brisbee (@mccoveychron) January 25, 2013
The above tweet from the wise-cracking and hilarious SB Nation scribe Grant Brisbee was undoubtedly written after he glanced over projected starting lineups across the majors and did a triple-take when he came to Minnesota's shortstop position.
He's hardly the first. I've had multiple national baseball writers contact me this offseason asking some variation of, "The Twins aren't really going to give this guy a starting job, are they?"
All I can do is shrug. Florimon's career numbers suggest he is not a major-league caliber player, and he certainly didn't look the part last year, but Terry Ryan has treated shortstop as a non-concern this winter. Possibly the GM is open to trying Brian Dozier there again, or considers Jamey Carroll an acceptable fallback, but Ryan hasn't even openly pondered bringing in someone to compete at the position. He's repeatedly talked about doing so with Trevor Plouffe at third.
It's not clear what Florimon has done to earn this billing. He was waived by a 93-loss Orioles team after the 2011 season, and then passed on by 29 organizations when the Twins claimed him and outrighted him from their 40-man roster. He went on to up sub par numbers between Double-A and Triple-A, striking out at a Gomez-esque 25 percent rate, and then came up and played poorly with the Twins for a couple months.
At TwinsFest over the weekend, Ryan told a media luncheon that Florimon is "the athlete you look for" at shortstop. That may very well be true, and ostensibly the hope is that he'll develop as he ages into his prime and become a useful long-term cog on this rebuilding roster.
But with Florimon, that really is a stretch. He's 26 and he's totaled over 3,000 professional plate appearances. He has established himself very firmly at the plate as a strikeout machine with minimal power and in the field as a flashy, skillful defender who makes a ton of mistakes.
In order to provide meaningful value, he'll need to offer enough on defense to make up for all the outs he's likely to give away on offense. That's a tall order. He might be the biggest long shot the Twins have taken at the position since Cristian Guzman's departure, and that's saying something.