While sometimes an unnoticeable section of the roster, the bench played an important part in the Minnesota Twins’ success during the 2009 campaign. Without Alexi Casilla’s hit and Carlos Gomez’s run in the division tiebreaker, the team would have saw no division title and no playoffs.
There will be plenty of options to fill what will likely be four bench spots for the 2010 season. Nick Punto and Matt Tolbert will still be under contract next season, and Brendan Harris will be too if the Twins choose to offer him arbitration. With only two spots open for infielders, one player may be left out unless one of the three gains a starting role.
The fourth outfielder, which seemed to be Carlos Gomez down the stretch, will take one of the four spots and likely be the guy to provide rest on a regular basis for the other three outfielders.
Despite options, two big questions remain as the off-season begins. Mike Redmond has been a key veteran presence for the team since his arrival, but after several seasons in Minneapolis, his contract has expired. The Twins have catcher Jose Morales ready to be Joe Mauer’s backup, and another young catcher, Wilson Ramos, is on the way.
Aside from deciding whether to thank Redmond and move on with a younger group or bring the veteran back for one more season, the Twins have one weakness in the bench.
In recent seasons Rondell White, Craig Monroe, Ruben Sierra and others have become the power hitters off the bench. With two middle infielders and a small power outfielder on the bench so far, the Twins may be looking toward free agency for a player to provide some pop at Target Field.