When Joe Mauer returns, as early as a week from today, a spot should open on the 25-man roster to accommodate him. I think that there are three potential candidates for that spot, in alphabetical order: Brian Buscher, Jose Morales and Micheal Redmond.
Here is how they have been performing this season:
Brian Buscher: 18 PA, .200/.333/.333 (.667 OPS). He swung at 37.5% percent of the pitches he faced, making contact on 66.7% of those, so he made contact with 25% of the pitches he saw
Jose Morales: 26 PA .250/.308/.333 (.641 OPS). He swung at 56.3% percent of the pitches he faced, making contact on 81.6% of those, so he made contact with 45.9% of the pitches he saw
Mike Redmond: 31 PA .214/.290/.250 (.540 OPS.) He swung at 41.1% percent of the pitches he faced, making contact on 89.7% of those, so he made contact with 36.9% of the pitches he saw
As far as plate performance goes, Morales has been making more contact with the ball than Redmond and Redmond has been making more contact with the ball than Buscher. One might argue that it is a small sample size, but Buscher's career contact% on all pitches he saw is 35.3% far bellow Morales' and still below Redmond's.
At this point, Morales and Buscher are playing at replacement level, Redmond below replacement level.
Redmond brings veteran leadership and clubhouse presence. Morales brings a live bat, upside, a spanish-speaking catcher who can communicate with Ayala, Liriano, Mijares and Morillo better than Redmond or Mauer. He is a switch hitter. Buscher brings in a left hand bat from the bench. Both Morales and Buscher still have minor league options.
Redmond and Morales are adequate defensively. They will not throw runners out but will not make errors. Buscher is a defensive liability who does not belong on the field in a major league stadium.
There is more than one way to make that decision and it will be a hard decision to make, since there are advantages and disadvantages to all 3. I think that Morales' bat and the fact that is adequate defensively as a catcher, as well as Redmond's veteran leadership should be chosen over Buscher's LH bat off the bench. Morales has a better LH bat off the bench (as a LH hitter he is batting .300/.333/.400, .733 OPS in 21 PA) than Buscher, anyways, and he is more versatile. If I were to rank the 3 in order of who should stay, it would be: Morales, Redmond, Buscher.
What do you think? Feel free to comment and vote on the poll at the upper left hand side of the blog.