Slowly but surely the Twins outfield situation for 2012 is beginning to take shape.
Michael Cuddyer is gone to Colorado and Josh Willingham is signed to be the primary right fielder. Denard Span is expected to be in center field with Ben Revere the occasional backup.
Today in an interview on 1500 ESPN Radio with Jim Souhan and Tom Pelissero, Terry Ryan confirmed what I have been suspecting. If the Twins do not have any other personnel changes, Ben Revere and Trevor Plouffe will begin the season platooning in left field.
Ryan did say that while the highest priority right now is to find a veteran starting pitcher, he was still looking for another outfielder as well. No names were mentioned and it was more or less assumed that pitching was much more likely to be the focus. If a starter is not found, then one more reliever will be signed to fill out the bullpen.
If by some happenstance another outfielder is signed to be the regular left fielder, presumably Revere will end up beginning the season at Rochester because Plouffe is out of options.
The Revere/Plouffe makes a good deal of sense if the roster remains the way it is now. The Twins need to find out if Plouffe can be an adequate outfielder and get his bat going consistently at the major league level. He also is a DH option if all the regulars are able to play their positions and Doumit is ailing.
Revere needs to continue to develop as a hitter and playing at least semi-regularly should help him. If he does not improve his on-base percentage, he will end up being just a role player and will not be as useful in the long run as one might hope. His arm also limits him greatly, but the team can compensate by sending infielders out a little deeper to get the relays.
If this scenario is what becomes the reality for the Twins in 2012, the team will again be offensively challenged. Presumably Revere will get the majority of starts in left field because he hits from the left side and most starting pitchers are right handers. In addition, it will be much more likely for Revere to replace Plouffe for late inning defense than the other way around. Given that situation, the Twins outfield will most often have two low power players in the lineup. Not a scenario that bodes well for scoring runs.
We shall see.