Much has been made of the Minnesota Twins' outfield situation this year. A pair of infielders, Eduardo Escobar and Eduardo Nunez, has seen time in the corners, centerfielders Aaron Hicks and Sam Fuld have suffered concussions and two power hitters Josh Willingham and Oswaldo Arcia have been out for most of the season. With Hicks struggling at the plate, some are asking why the team let Alex Presley and Darin Mastroianni pass through waivers and get claimed.
"Whenever you make decisions, everyone can look back in hindsight and say, 'We should have held on to Presley,'" said assistant general manager Rob Antony. "We ran Presley through [waivers], we ran Parmelee through, we ran Diamond through -- Presley got claimed.".
Antony also does not want to give the impression that because the team likes Hicks, they are averse to providing competition for the second-year player. They still feel he has upside, but they understand the importance of depth at that position, especially if Hicks continues to hit below the Mendoza Line and has to be sent down. "I don't want to say, 'We've got Hicks, we don't need anyone else.' We looked at Mastroianni as an option, we brought him up when we needed a spot and we claimed Fuld."
On the injury front, Antony says that Minnesota is looking into changing the padding on the centerfield wall. It could potentially be a difficult thing to do in-season, especially with the All-Star game coming up because he does not know how much time it would take, but when both Hicks and Fuld went down with injury, Antony says he got a call from ownership asking if there was anything that could be done about the outfield wall.
"We're looking to see if there's any options of outfield walls we could possibly install," he said, adding that he has spoken to Matt Hoy, the team's senior vice president of operations, seriously about the matter. "They said that they are aware of one other type of wall that is a little more cushiony and we’re going to take a look at that and see if that's something that we want to do."
The bottom line is that if the Twins are going to continue to play .500 baseball, or even try and have a winning record this year, they are going to have to shore up their outfield. Escobar, a utility infielder, made a critical error that led to a loss against the Cleveland Indians when he thought the outfield wall was closer to him than it was. Santana has speed, but the natural shortstop lacks experience at centerfield. And Jason Kubel, Chris Parmelee and Chris Colabello offer power at the plate, but are not known for their defense.
"I'm not sure you're ever properly prepared for Willingham, Arcia, Hicks, Fuld -- all those guys being on the DL at the same time," said Antony. "As long as they have 40-man rosters, it's going to be hard to have four or five guys go down at the same time."
Tom Schreier can be heard on The Michael Knight Show from 2-3:00 on weekdays. He has written for Bleacher Report and the Yahoo Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @tschreier3.