Twins Make Second Round of Cuts: Santana, Mastroianni Highlight Departures

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota continues to trim the roster with two weeks remaining until Opening Day.

By this time in the spring, who the team cuts and who they choose to let stick around can paint a pretty accurate picture for how management and the front office views the roster. Here's a quick run-down of those who didn't make the grade.

Players Optioned

Eric Fryer (C), Kris Johnson (LHP), Danny Santana (SS)

All three of these players will spend the starts to their season in Triple-A Rochester, but it's Santana who is likely to make the biggest impact with the Twins this summer. He's mature enough and developed enough that, when something happens and the team needs a middle infielder, he'll be the first man on the list. Indeed, if something happens to Pedro Florimon or Brian Dozier, it wouldn't surprise me to see Santana jump right into a starting role and leave the backup options on the bench.

Johnson never really had a chance to crack the bullpen, as it's a spot with a wealth of talent already. Complications with a trio of starters who are out of options means the Twins may be looking to stow away an arm or two there, but even if that wasn't the case Johnson was likely the fourth or fifth left-handed option on the depth chart.

Fryer's chances of making the club were tied up in two places - primarily in how the Twins would choose to roll with the Josmil Pinto situation, and how Chris Herrmann looked. Now in a definitive fourth place on the catching depth chart, Fryer is a solid option for Rochester but has never been a player suited for a long-term Major League role.

Players Re-Assigned

James Beresford (IF), Sean Gilmartin (LHP), Darin Mastroianni (OF), Jermaine Mitchell (OF), Brandon Waring (IF)

None of these five were on the 40-man roster, so there aren't many surprises here either...except, perhaps, with Mastroianni. While the Maestro hasn't been on the roster for some time, the players in camp capable of of playing center field runs a very short list:

  1. Alex Presley
  2. Aaron Hicks
We all know that Hicks isn't making the roster just to ride the pine, though, and so the reassignment of Maestro really puts into perspective what the organization thinks of the center field situation: they're more worried about his ability to field the position at the Major League level than they are not giving Presley a backup. And that's interesting.

Mitchell and Waring weren't ever going to be seriously considered for a roster spot. Gilmartin wasn't, either, but he's new to the organization and was going to get a bit of a look as a result. He'll join a number of other starters to give the Red Wings a very solid, talented rotation.

Beresford maybe had an outside chance of making the roster as a second backup infielder, behind Eduardo Escobar, but a demotion at this point in the spring means he'll likely be second or third in line to be called up should the Twins need another infielder.

Conclusions

The Twins made another round of cuts en masse, and once again there really weren't any big surprises. It's interested that the center field depth is still so thin, and Fryer's demotion implies that the Twins are - at the very least - still considering bringing Pinto north at the end of the month. We'll run through who's still in camp later tonight.
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