There's no doubt that Matt Tolbert has a few things running in his favor. Since the departure of Nick Punto he's become the blogosphere's posterboy for grit, hustle and hard work while being defensively versatile and offering very little in the way of offensive upside. We also know how Gardy loves his versatility, and over the last few years we've definitely seen Tolbert earn his stripes with the Twins. His spot on the roster also allows the Twins to start both Tsuyoshi Nishioka and Alexi Casilla at their positions without needing one to backup the other.
In some sense, what Tolbert offers the Twins is a kind of stability, or a level of roster certainty. Just as when Punto was on the roster over the last seven seasons, everyone knows exactly how Tolbert will be used. Because it's not just Nishioka and Casilla he'll be spelling, it's Danny Valencia as well. As the season wears on, if everyone is healthy and maintains their roles it's not unrealistic to think that Tolbert could be starting twice a week as off days cycle through the infield.
That's the real value in Tolbert, because not only is he able to play that role...but nobody else is. Nobody else on the roster has his combination of defensive versatility and Major League experience. And when it comes to a backup infielder, those things are important. No, Tolbert's bat is nothing to write home about, but he does tick a lot of boxes that you'd like to check off for a backup infielder.
It's going to be quite easy to write off Tolbert this season, whether it's because he'll be seen as Punto II or because we might prefer to see a player like Luke Hughes who could provide a little more offense off the bench. But for now his job, and his spot on the trip north in a couple of weeks, is secure.