On Saturday, the Minnesota Twins made a deal for today, the 2014 season. On Wednesday, the Twins made a move looking towards the future with the demotion of Josmil Pinto. The move has been a polarizing move with nowhere near a consensus among fans on if this was the right move or not.
Demoting Josmil Pinto is the right move.
The simplest reason is for playing time. A young player needs to get playing time and at-bats to further his progression and get better and Josmil Pinto was simply not going to get that at the Major League level anymore. The signing of Kendrys Morales takes the DH spot away, plus, we know how skeptical Ron Gardenhire is to put his backup catcher as the DH.
Pinto’s also not going to get much time behind the plate either. When the Twins initially signed Kurt Suzuki it looked like it would be an obvious mentor/pupil relationship between Suzuki and Pinto. Suzuki has played at an All-Star level and deserves to be playing as many games as a catcher possibly can behind the plate. The plan that had Suzuki and Pinto sharing half the load through the season and then handing the reins off to Pinto in the twilight of the season is off due to Suzuki’s masterful play. That’s a good problem to have.
Pinto needs to learn how to catch, too. Not just anyone can sit behind the plate and catch a ballgame. The skills of a catcher are the second most important on the field, second only to his pitcher. You can’t learn how to catch sitting on the bench, but you can at Triple-A.
Extra at-bats won’t hurt Pinto’s progression as a hitter either. In 158 plate appearances in 2014 Pinto is hitting only .222/.323/.407. Obviously that is a lot lower than what the Twins expect from their catcher of the future. Sure, he has seven home runs and 16 RBI, but that doesn’t lock you into a roster spot. If RBI was what kept you on the Major League Roster, Chris Colabello would still be with the Twins.
It’s a demotion for Josmil Pinto, but it’s a good demotion. The demotion isn’t really due to a lack of production, but due to the fact that the Twins want him to get better and be an All-Star caliber catcher himself someday soon.
Kendrys Morales is only for this year; Josmil Pinto is for the push with Buxton, Sano, May and gang. In the grand scheme of things, Pinto won’t be in Triple-A for long.
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