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Gibson, Hicks might be destined for Rochester

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Some of the most intriguing spring training battles for the Twins are the race for the starting center fielder job and for the last spot in the rotation. Two of the best prospects for the Twins are in the middle of these battles and they both have been putting together decent starts to the spring. Even if the rest of the spring goes great for Aaron Hicks and Kyle Gibson, they both might be destined to start the year in Rochester.

There are a few different reasons to think that the Twins will be patient with these two young players. The team isn't suppose to be contending in 2013 or maybe even 2014. This means there is no rush to get either of these men to the big leagues. They can both be given the opportunity to find success at Triple-A.

If the team waits until a few months into the season, they can control these players for an extra season. There are rules in place for players that get called up in the first couple months of the season to let them reach arbitration as a super two player. The Twins could avoid some of this hassle by letting other players take their spot on the roster until the middle part of the year.

For Hicks, he has shown a history of slow starts when he advances to a new level. He played all of last season at the Double-A level so making a two level jump could be hard on him. The team has been very patient with him up until this point and it makes a lot of sense for the club to continue their patient ways.

The Twins have been clear that Gibson will be on an innings limit this season. It is his first full year back from Tommy John surgery and it is important to be cautious with a young arm. If the Twins want to control his innings at the beginning of the year, it will be easier to do this in Rochester. They don't want a player in the major league starting rotation that has to be pulled early to keep his innings down.

While the front office might want Hicks and Gibson to get a little more experience, the manager might not be in a position to wait for the future. Ron Gardenhire is in the last year of his deal and he can't really afford for the club to get off to a slow start. He has said that he wants Hicks to have a shot to start and Gibson has a brighter future than some of the other rotation options.

With the moves the Twins have made this offseason, their farm system is considered one of the best in the game. Most of their top-level talent hasn't made appearance above the Double-A level. For now, it looks like a waiting game as these players work their way through the minor leagues.

So when will the next winning team grace fans at Target Field?

The estimated arrival time for Miguel Sano, Alex Meyer, Trevor May, and Byron Buxton might not be until 2014 or 2015. If those players make up the core of the next winning Twins team, it might be best to still have multiple years of control over Gibson and Hicks.

There are going to be reasons to keep Gibson and Hicks with the big league team for the start of the year. However, the reasons to keep them in the minor leagues might outweigh those that are in favor of keeping them up.

The next winning team in Minnesota is a couple of years away so it makes sense to give Gibson and Hicks the time they need to develop. Especially since the Twins aren't suppose to make a run for the top of the AL Central in 2013.

So what do you think? If Gibson and Hicks earn the jobs, should they start the year in Minnesota? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.


  1. Han Joelo's Avatar
    I totally see your point of view. However, if they impress in the spring, bring them both north. A couple of factors:

    Last year's AAA hitting and pitching coaches are on the big league staff now, so instructionally, they're kind of getting the same thing.

    With Byron Buxton in the pipeline behind Hicks, I don't see the extra year of control outweighing the need for a lead-off hitting outfielder. This would also enable Mastro to be a late inning defensive sub.

    As for Gibson, he's 25 and deserves a shot, even if it means shutting him down Strasburg style. I know there is more than one way to limit innings, but having go through a normal spring training and then regularly pitch 5-7 innings seems like a good thing for his long-term development, even if it means ending his season early.
  2. Twins Twerp's Avatar
    Got to keep them down. The point is that you get another year of their prime versus their rookie year. This is why the best teams do it. Do you think that Harper and Trout deserved to be on the roster in May? Probably. But even they got held back a year so that they could gain another year of service for their respective teams. Hicks is no Trout or Harper so he should definatly be sent to Rochester to start the year.
  3. Han Joelo's Avatar
    "Hicks is not Trout or Harper." Exactly. He looks to be a better version of Span, but no superstar, so why worry about service time. He'll be trade fodder in three years anyway.

    Don't get me wrong--if he/they aren't ready to contribute, shelve this discussion. But if they are, what is the point of giving Brandon Boggs a roster spot (and potentially losing someone else off the 40 man) in favor of a distant future that may never come.

    Plus, if they've earned a spot on the team, perhaps rewarding them now would make them more likely to sign a team friendly contract later.
  4. mnfanforlife's Avatar
    I would upgrade "might" to "will" be destined for Rochester.
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