With Delmon gone and Cuddyer's status up in the air, Trevor Plouffe and Danny Valencia are Minnesota's two best right-handed hitters. No offense to those two guys, but that's an issue that needs to be addressed this winter.
This week, the Twins began the process of overhauling their roster for 2012 and beyond. Due to a number of injuries, players being dropped onto the 60-day disabled list, and a couple of trades, the Twins had a bit more roster fat than a number of other clubs. We now know they have 36 players on their 40-man roster, but this was after outrighting these players over the last eight days:
Brian Dinkelman, OF,October 20
Phil Dumatrait, RP, October 20
- Rene Rivera, C, October 14
- Matt Tolbert, IF, October 14
- Jason Repko, OF, October 14
- Anthony Slama, OF, October 14
For the uninitiated, to "outright" a player essentially means you're removing them from the 40-man roster without removing them from the organization. This usually happens to players who are out of options, although this wasn't the case for Dinkelman. But it does mean that these players all had to pass through waivers, which meant there was a chance the Twins could have lost them.
These were all relatively easy decisions to make. The 40-man now includes players like Kyle Waldrop and Esmerling Vasquez.
If the Twins front office wants to gamble a little bit and go for big changeover, there are a few more players they could target. Jim Hoey is the next most obvious choice for removal as far as I'm concerned, and players like Scott Diamond, Jeff Manship, Drew Butera, and one or two others wouldn't hurt the team by being outrighted either. But it's early yet, and there are a lot of decisions that need to be made not just in terms of free agents, trades, and their own five and six-year minor league free agents, but in terms of overall roster construction.
One step at a time. As much of a proponent of change as I'll be on this team over the winter, I have to keep reminding myself: it's not a video game. Roster changeover doesn't have to, and probably shouldn't, happen all at once.
But with the departure of Delmon Young, and the impending free agency of Michael Cuddyer, the Twins are once again looking for good right-handed hitting. On our current 36-man roster, your right-handed bats are:
- Drew Butera
- Luke Hughes
- Trevor Plouffe
- Danny Valencia
- Joe Benson
- Alexi Casilla (switch)
- Tsuyoshi Nishioka (switch)
Guess what part two of my off-season blueprint philosophy will be about.