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  • What's The Point Of Clete Thomas?

    Earlier this week, the Twins made a roster move to bring in some centerfield help for Aaron Hicks. For most of the season, the club has been without a back-up center fielder because Darin Mastroianni has been dealing with a nagging ankle injury. Last week, Chris Parmelee had to play a defensive inning in center field in the late portion of a game. The Twins need a back-up center fielder and Thomas is one of the few options.

    When Hicks was struggling at the beginning of the season, Thomas was destroying the ball for Triple-A. During the month of April, he hit .362/.456/.621 with four home runs and three doubles. There were some whispers of Thomas being brought up to replace Hicks in the line-up.

    A leg injury slowed down Thomas in more recent weeks so he isn't joining the Twins on the kind of tear he was on at the start of the year. In his last ten games with Rochester, he hit .225/.311/.525 with three home runs and three doubles.

    Thomas isn't exactly a spring chicken. He is 29-years old and he has 472 MLB plate appearances under his belt. The majority of those plate appearances came with the Detroit Tigers in 2008 and 2009. Since that time, he has bounced around in the minor leagues. Last season with the Twins, he played 12 games and hit .143/.172/.286 with a home run and a double.

    Recently, things have been going better for Hicks at the plate. In the last 12 games, he is hitting .279/.295/.605 with three home runs, a triple, and three doubles. Besides the improvement at the plate, he has also been making some very good plays on the defensive. He might not have yet completely figured out the big leagues but he sure looks better than he did earlier in the year.

    It is in the best long term interest of the team to continue to play Hicks on a regular basis. He is going to be the center fielder for this team for the next couple seasons. Eventually, he might have to shift to a corner outfield role but that would only be to allow a younger Byron Buxton to take over in center field. Hicks needs repetitions so he is able to figure out the big league level.

    Thomas took the place of left-handed relief pitcher Tyler Robertson on the 40-man roster. Robertson has some trouble controlling his breaking ball at Rochester; he walked 16 men in almost 21 innings. His 3.05 ERA is fine but it's not as though the Twins will be hurting without him on the roster.

    Overall, it's nice to have an option in center field if Hicks needs an off-day. For the most part, Thomas should be riding the bench so Hicks can get as much playing time as possible. Thomas provides insurance for the club in case of an injury to Hicks.

    There was also word out of the Twins' clubhouse that Hicks has been icing a foot after games recently. This might not be anything serious but it could be a sign of him dealing with an injury. Ron Gardenhire could give the rookie a day off in the next couple days. Before Thomas joined the team, there were few options to take over centerfield.

    The Twins have been playing well in the last week or so. This is a good sign but the club needs to continue to think about its future. Thomas is not going to be part of the next winning baseball team in Minnesota but he can help in the present.

    Hicks is working his way through some rookie stumbling blocks. As Hicks' career unfolds Thomas can be useful, helping the Twins shepherd Hicks through his challenging rookie season.
    This article was originally published in blog: What's the point of Clete Thomas? started by Cody Christie
    Comments 22 Comments
    1. Twins Daily Admin's Avatar
      Twins Daily Admin -
      One thing that isn't mentioned here but was by Seth in the initial thread about this was that we think Thomas had a 6/2 contract date - if he wasn't called up by 6/2, he could leave the organization. They couldn't afford to lose a backup center fielder right now, so they had to make a move.
    1. StormJH1's Avatar
      StormJH1 -
      That comment (originally noted by Seth) about the callup date is a HUGE point to make. After letting Benson walk, I don't see how anyone can be too annoyed that this team wants somebody on the 40-man who can actually back up in CF. If Hicks got injured, or even if he just goes on a 2 for 38 stretch or something (not too unrealistic), you can't Wilkin Ramirez, Escobar or Parmelee trolling around out there.
    1. Rosterman's Avatar
      Rosterman -
      It is strange that the Twins are filling their roster with minor league free agents, who if they cut them, could be claimed easily by another team. Not that it matters. If the player is actually wiorthy of a cut by the Twins, why might someone else wants them. But it does become an issue when you have to weigh keeping a replaceable fill-in, or a prospect. The Twins have Deduno, Walters, Thomas, Ramierez, Florimon, Wood...not to mention Roeincke, Swarzak and Pressly...that would have to pass thru waivers if sent down. They basically have Colabello who, if removed from the 40-man, could be claimed based on his AAA numbers (but probably doubtful). of course, the Twins have current deadwood DeVries (how has the mighty fallen -- Slama has done the same) and Butera. Pretty much everyone mentioned above, with the exception of Deduno, would not be around next year when the 40-man rosters are set.
    1. tcarlic's Avatar
      tcarlic -
      Quote Originally Posted by Rosterman View Post
      It is strange that the Twins are filling their roster with minor league free agents, who if they cut them, could be claimed easily by another team. Not that it matters. If the player is actually wiorthy of a cut by the Twins, why might someone else wants them. But it does become an issue when you have to weigh keeping a replaceable fill-in, or a prospect. The Twins have Deduno, Walters, Thomas, Ramierez, Florimon, Wood...not to mention Roeincke, Swarzak and Pressly...that would have to pass thru waivers if sent down. They basically have Colabello who, if removed from the 40-man, could be claimed based on his AAA numbers (but probably doubtful). of course, the Twins have current deadwood DeVries (how has the mighty fallen -- Slama has done the same) and Butera. Pretty much everyone mentioned above, with the exception of Deduno, would not be around next year when the 40-man rosters are set.
      Well first of all, Pressly has been pretty nasty since joining the Twins. There is no reason to think he won't be with the team next year.
    1. COtwin's Avatar
      COtwin -
      Deduno will make the roster if he continues pitching like he has the last few games. I think his ability to miss bats and induce weak contact is to valuable to let go. Florimon in my opinion has earned a long leash and is becoming an important part of the line up. His bat has cooled off compared to the start of the season but it looks to have stabilized to slightly above league average. That coupled with his defense and energy and I think he can stick until we get a higher ceiling prospect up to take over. I love what swarzak has done this year. He doesn't have the sexy setup or closers role but as long relief he has been very steady. It seems like he can come into a game that is close to out of control and calm it down. I like that we have a chance with him coming out of the pen.
      These three appear to me to be near locks for the 25 man much less the 40 man. Presley, Walters, and Roenicke seem to have fair chances at sticking at least on the 40 until better pitchers move up.
    1. twinsnorth49's Avatar
      twinsnorth49 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Rosterman View Post
      It is strange that the Twins are filling their roster with minor league free agents, who if they cut them, could be claimed easily by another team. Not that it matters. If the player is actually wiorthy of a cut by the Twins, why might someone else wants them. But it does become an issue when you have to weigh keeping a replaceable fill-in, or a prospect. The Twins have Deduno, Walters, Thomas, Ramierez, Florimon, Wood...not to mention Roeincke, Swarzak and Pressly...that would have to pass thru waivers if sent down. They basically have Colabello who, if removed from the 40-man, could be claimed based on his AAA numbers (but probably doubtful). of course, the Twins have current deadwood DeVries (how has the mighty fallen -- Slama has done the same) and Butera. Pretty much everyone mentioned above, with the exception of Deduno, would not be around next year when the 40-man rosters are set.
      Wha?? Why would Pressely not be on the 40 man? He's done nothing but mostly dominate in his limited opportunities and he's 23. Roeincke has been more than serviceable, as has Swarzak (although I'll agree both should be easily upgradeable). Who is going to play SS if not Florimon? They didn't look to replace him this past off-season and he's been better so far this year, which has to make you think they'll roll with him again.

      The rest, you're right, don't much care.
    1. greengoblinrulz's Avatar
      greengoblinrulz -
      what happens to Wilkin Ramirez when he gets healthy? They wont DFA Clete IMO, so Wilkin just lost his major league spot (he also is out of options).....not like he truly earned it (made it mainly due to his bein an interperter) & Mastro will eventually be back to eliminate em both
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Quote Originally Posted by greengoblinrulz View Post
      what happens to Wilkin Ramirez when he gets healthy? They wont DFA Clete IMO, so Wilkin just lost his major league spot (he also is out of options).....not like he truly earned it (made it mainly due to his bein an interperter) & Mastro will eventually be back to eliminate em both
      They could get brave and do without the services of their third catcher and sometime outfielder Chris Herrmann.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Clete will be 0-8 with 6 strikeouts in a week. Waived when Ramirez comes back.

      The Twins should try to trade Swarzak for anything because he will be arb eligible next year and there are plenty of people who could fill in for that role next year.

      Pressly seems legit.

      I keep saying that Chris Herrmann is essentially the same as Wilkin in CF so there would be no need for Thomas. But alas.
    1. greengoblinrulz's Avatar
      greengoblinrulz -
      Quote Originally Posted by ashburyjohn View Post
      They could get brave and do without the services of their third catcher and sometime outfielder Chris Herrmann.
      Gardy get brave w/o a 3rd C???....cmon, thats crazy talk!!
      Like Hermann wayyyyyy more than those 2
    1. Aaron Cross's Avatar
      Aaron Cross -
      Another reason why dumping benson was so ridiculous. Now they're forced to waste a roster spot on Clete.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Re: the alleged 6/2 deadline:

      I do not buy it, because apparently Clete was mucho surprised when he got called up and was totally unprepared. Were there a deadline, his bags would had been packed for one place or another.
    1. Riverbrian's Avatar
      Riverbrian -
      Quote Originally Posted by Thrylos View Post
      Re: the alleged 6/2 deadline:

      I do not buy it, because apparently Clete was mucho surprised when he got called up and was totally unprepared. Were there a deadline, his bags would had been packed for one place or another.
      That sounds like the defense in a Few Good Men.
    1. fairweather's Avatar
      fairweather -
      Look Hermann is going to be going back down. Ramirez will probably have a short rehab assignment and Thomas is just the kind of guy you can have on your bench and not worry about him losing AB's. We all remember how epically he failed in his short stint up last season, but honestly he can't hit worse than Hick's did in April. We lived through hick's getting his feet wet and we'll live past a week or two of Thomas being the 5th OF. He'll probably be a pleasant surprise if for no reason other than expectation are SO LOW.
    1. kab21's Avatar
      kab21 -
      I have no problem with having a 2nd player that can actually play CF on the roster. It really is a non issue imo and Thomas is actually perfect for the role because there isn't even a reason to put him in the lineup and take away AB's from young players that need to be evaluated.
    1. twinsnorth49's Avatar
      twinsnorth49 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Riverbrian View Post
      That sounds like the defense in a Few Good Men.
      "Son, we live in a world that has walls and those walls need to be guarded by men with gloves. Who's gonna do it? You? No, Clete Thomas, that's who. You can't handle the truth"!
    1. stringer bell's Avatar
      stringer bell -
      Clete might run into a couple of fastballs at some point, but I maintain he just isn't a very good player. It was telling that Clete played center when Richardson and Thomas were in the outfield together at Rochester. The biggest problem for the current position roster is finding a leadoff hitter. So far, the Twins have to have the absolute worst numbers from their leadoff hitters. That is the case for Richardson, but if he's not going to play, it just doesn't make any difference.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Having a guy on the limited roster, that you hope never, ever plays, seems like bad strategy to me.

      There was an article on Fangraphs last week about Milwaukee, and why they are bad this year despite having some superstart type hitters/fielders. Their conclusion is that the stars and scrubs plan is tough to pull off, if the scrubs are below replacement level......and that every single spot on the roster needs to add some value.
    1. kab21's Avatar
      kab21 -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      Having a guy on the limited roster, that you hope never, ever plays, seems like bad strategy to me.
      It's a good strategy when you have young players that you want to get a lot of AB's for their development. The last thing you want is another young player that is either sitting on the bench every game or stealing AB's from other young players.
    1. jay's Avatar
      jay -
      I don't mind Clete given our situation. Once Plouffe is back, our option for the last bench spot has to be at least passable in CF. Unfortunately, Clete is about the only option unless we want to risk riling up the masses here by dropping another marginal player off the 40-man and risk the claim to add... Antoan Richardson?
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