Now that football season is over after Seattle's merciless throttling of Denver Sunday evening, what better time to take a quick glance at what the local nine may look like when they break camp just eight short weeks from now?
We've already received some hints to who will start at some positions, and some are as good as locked up. But with as many as 5-10 roster spots in flux, this could easily prove an exercise in futility.
But this is sports, and we love the minutiae of it. Right? Here goes:
Terry Ryan already sort of tipped his hand by saying that Suzuki would be the starter out of the chute. To that end, I'd be shocked if they kept Josmil Pinto up in the major leagues to be his backup. Mauer and Dozier are locks as long as they're healthy, and the only real threat to Plouffe is if Miguel Sano is an absolute monster in spring training. I think he'll be held back until around midseason, though. I don't think Florimon has any real threats at this point either, though Danny Santana and Escobar could easily steal time from him at the blink of an eye. I personally also think the outfield is set, with Aaron Hicks only forcing his way into the mix if he hits about .500 down in Florida. Don't be stunned if Kubel makes the team, but Chris Colabello is a threat here and is already on the 40-man roster.
C- Eric Fryer
IF- Eduardo Escobar
1B-OF Chris Parmelee
OF- Darin Mastroianni
Fryer only makes sense -- and even nominally, then -- if Pinto is the starting catcher, but I still don't really envision the club going to Chris Herrmann as a backup catcher. Fryer is considered solid behind the plate, but this really seems superfluous with Suzuki back there as well. It matters little, and Pinto can easily force the club's hand by scorching Rochester for the first month or so. The only real threat to Escobar as a utility infielder is Bartlett, and the Twins could easily accommodate both if they just don't go to Chicago with 12 pitchers like I think we all expect them to. Or, without Parmelee, though I don't really see that happening. I have Mastroianni acting as the fourth outfielder simply due to a need for a backup centerfielder. It could just as easily be Wilkin Ramirez I suppose, though I don't think he can play center, really.
SP- Ricky Nolasco
SP- Kevin Correia
SP- Mike Pelfrey
SP- Phil Hughes
SP- Samuel Deduno
The Nos. 1-4 are set, with Deduno's performance giving him the leg up at the last spot if he proves healthy. Any possibly future addition -- Bronson Arroyo, for instance -- would probably mean the club is trying to move Correia just as much as it might mean Deduno being bumped from the rotation. Both are just place fillers for Kyle Gibson, Alex Meyer, and maybe even Trevor May if we're being completely honest. This isn't a rotation that'll turn any heads on the national front, but it's greatly improved over the past couple seasons.
RP - Vance Worley
RP - Anthony Swarzak
RP - Brian Duensing
RP - Casey Fien
RP - Jared Burton
CP - Glen Perkins
Much of the same from last year's relatively solid unit. Worley as a reliever isn't ideal, but I think he's a stealth rotation candidate in the event that Deduno isn't ready to go right out of the chute. Ryan Pressly pitched well last year, but his options work against him this year in the exact opposite his Rule 5 status worked in 2013. He may be stretched out at Rochester. The back three should still be rather solid, and both May and Michael Tonkin are possibly waiting in the wings to help fortify this quietly competent unit.
25th Man - Scott Diamond
Diamond beats out a cavalcade of spare parts -- the likes of Ramirez, Jason Bartlett, and a few others -- pretty much chiefly on what he did in 2012 and also the fact that he's out of options. Even if he experiences the velocity spike reminiscent of Duensing or Perkins, it's still hard to envision him becoming much more than a long guy or low-end Matt Guerrier out of the pen.
To me, this has the looks of about a 75-win ballclub. What's your roster look like? How many wins do you envision?