Pedro Florimon's work at shortstop late this season has the Minnesota Twins pondering a new position for Brian Dozier, who was the regular shortstop for 84 games as a rookie this year before being swapped out for Florimon in mid-August.
"Florimon has kind of made the plays and shown some of the range that you really like from a shortstop, that Dozier didn't necessarily do," assistant general manager Rob Antony said Sunday. "So it might be a situation where we still think Dozier can be a good player, but he may end up being a second baseman instead of a shortstop."
Or maybe even a third baseman. The Twins would like Dozier to play both during winter ball in Venezuela, where they anticipate he'll play for Cardinales de Margarita.
The Twins' minor league player of the year with Class AA New Britain in 2011, Dozier batted .234 with six home runs and 33 RBI in his first big-league stint. He was optioned to Class AAA Rochester in mid-August, and he didn't get a September recall. Though he made some impressive plays for the Twins, he lacked consistency, committing 15 errors, which still ranks as the fourth-most among major league shortstops.
Florimon, claimed off waivers from Baltimore last December, had probably his worst big-league day of the season in Sunday's 9-2 loss to the White Sox at Target Field. His sixth-inning error led to three unearned runs in a six-run inning for Chicago, and his flyout to center with no outs and Alexi Casilla on second in the fifth derailed what could have been a big inning.
Casilla had just driven in Trevor Plouffe and cut Chicago's lead to 3-2.
"He's got to get him over, whether it's bunt or swing," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He's a little frustrated; he had a bit of a rough day. But you have to see these things. I have to know what they can do, whether they can handle these situations like that. Today he wasn't successful, but I think he should be good at that, being able to get runners over and in."
A switch hitter batting mostly in the ninth spot, Florimon is batting .237 with five doubles, two triples and five RBI in 29 games since being recalled on Aug. 15. Still, he has looked good enough at short to get the Twins thinking about alternate plans for Dozier.
"Anytime you have some utility value, and the ability to play around ... it gives him a lot more flexibility," Antony said of Dozier. "He might compete for a starting second base job, the starting third base job, you never know. If that gives him the ability to handle any of those positions defensively, and he's hitting, he's a pretty valuable player."