One of my favorite things to do during spring training is to write up what I think the 25-man roster will look like when Opening Day -- I capitalize it because it's a holiday -- comes around.
I don't exactly know why I like it so much. Maybe it makes Opening Day feel that much real and closer? Maybe it's fun to pretend to be a GM for a few minutes? Or maybe it's just super interesting to think about how the local nine will play out this season. I don't really know.
But today I figured we might as well take a look at how this season will open up, because I think there'll be a few more than 25 names in play when the Twins make some likely difficult roster decisions.
No real surprises here. I could see Dozier sent out and Carroll and Escobar sharing second, as the spring hasn't been all too kind to the converted shortstop (.226/.314/.323 line). But the Twins don't worry as much about numbers -- especially in the case of young players -- in spring as demeanor. Is the guy picking up signs properly? How is he carrying himself in situations? Personally, I like this approach because spring training stats aren't really substantive. There isn't an adequate sampling of what's to come, and a lot of times you're facing a team's fifth LOOGY or a high-A reliever in the eighth inning of a 9-2 game.
I think Hicks has pretty much cemented his spot in centerfield, as well as hitting leadoff. It may not be pretty early, but in a year which will likely be about growing as a team, Hicks will be given every opportunity to stick. I think the rest of the lineup is pretty much no-brainers, barring health issues.
C- Drew Butera
IF- Jamey Carroll
IF- Eduardo Escobar
OF- Darin Mastroianni
Nothing earth-shattering here, either. I could see Chris Colabello making the team as a bench masher with a few conditions. One of them would be only carrying two catchers (Mauer-Doumit). That seems unlikely due to Doumit DH'ing regularly, in my opinion. I could also see Colabello sticking as the 25th man if the Twins went with a shorter pen out of the gates. In that case, I wouldn't imagine that Colabello survives April unless, again, the Twins were to demote Butera.
An extreme longshot would be Chris Herrmann. Herrmann hasn't had a very good spring -- again, in extremely limited duty -- but his versatility as a catcher and outfielder would also be a nice thing to have on the bench. Herrmann has yet to play at Triple-A, and wouldn't see much time in the bigs, so Rochester might be the best place for him at the outset.
The Twins don't need a fifth starter until something like April 10, so I think they'll go with four starters out of the chute in order to get a better look at another reliever, or again maybe Colabello. Hendriks has pitched pretty well this spring -- much better than Kyle Gibson, in fact -- so I think he probably gets the nod out of the gates as the last starter, even if it isn't popular with fans. I think the faithful are getting antsy to get a look at the tall Mizzou righty, but they may have to wait a bit. I think Diamond starts the season on the DL, which only helps him and the Twins.
The Twins have plenty of viable arms vying for bullpen slots, and an extra 10 days to evaluate them in regular season games could be helpful. Similarly, I've maintained for much of the spring that a guy is more likely to clear waivers on 4/10 or 4/15 than he would be on the eve of Opening Day (when teams likely have less rigid 40-man rosters).
1. Glen Perkins
2. Jared Burton
3. Brian Duensing
4. Casey Fien
5. Alex Burnett
6. Josh Roenicke
7. Tim Wood
8. Ryan Pressly
I don't have a good read on how married to the bottom three guys the Twins are. Both Roenicke and Wood are on the 40-man roster -- and out of options -- so I think they sneak in due to the Swarzak and Diamond injuries. Pressly has been pretty good out of the pen, so I would guess the Twins will give him a shot to prove his mettle. I'll say this much: I'm glad I'm not a decision-maker regarding this bullpen.
RP Anthony Swarzak
RP Rich Harden
SP Scott Diamond
I would guess Swarzak and Diamond would be ready to come off sometime around April 15. I'm not sure about the rules, but the Twins could possibly put Diamond on the DL retroactive to say March 25, and then he could be activated to start on April 10. Just an idea. It'll be interesting to see if/when Harden gets healthy if he has anything left. I've long advocated for someone to make a reliever out of him, and if he's got even a semblance of his old stuff/velocity, it could work.
There's nobody on this list to be crestfallen for/about, but at least a couple of these guys had legitimate chances to break camp with the club. I could still see De Vries make the team over Hendriks, but I think that'd just be semantics.
So what say you, TwinkieTownspeople? How does your roster differ?