With the Twins completing their second round of cuts earlier today, they've trimmed their spring roster to 40 players. We'll go position-by-position to get a look at the big picture, because somewhere along the line they'll need to find 15 additional guys to option or re-assign before the team heads north. By knowing who's still around and running the numbers against those upcoming cuts, can we project what an Opening Day roster could look like?
We can get a pretty good idea.
* = Non-Roster Invitee
Starting Pitchers (9)
From this group, the Twins need to find the five guys with which they can go forward. Thompson is the only one from this group who is guaranteed not to make the team, while Gibson's fate is likely sealed due to - as we've mentioned endless times over the last couple of months - Deduno, Diamond, and Worley all being out of options. Those five pitchers are competing for that final rotation spot, but in reality it will come down to one of those latter three.
Relief Pitchers (11)
This is the group with the most talent. Non-roster guys like Guerra and Hoffman won't make the team, and Guerrier is a long shot at best, too. From the remaining eight pitchers, the Twins would, in most circumstances, just need to choose the best seven and go north.
Unfortunately, the situation with those three out-of-options starters clouds the issue. It would be a surprise if the Twins didn't try to stash one of those guys into the bullpen, meaning that instead of cutting four players from this group the team would be forcing themselves to cut five. It seems likely that the lefty-righty combo of Thielbar and Tonkin would be the most likely cuts in that scenario, due to nothing more than the other options having more experience and having logged more innings with the club.
I'm glad that Rohlfing is still in camp. He's been a great organizational guy and I'm glad he's being rewarded for the years he's given to the team. He won't make the team and is probably fifth or sixth on the catching depth chart, though, and the real battle is taking place between Herrmann and Pinto - not on the field, but in the minds of the coaching staff. Herrmann only gets the job if the Twins think Pinto's defense really needs that much work or if Gardy doesn't want him splitting time with Suzuki. I'm guessing Pinto stays with the team, but either way two guys are out and two guys are in.
The Twins need to take a total of 11 players between the infield and outfield, and how they put those numbers together will largely depend on how they put their bench together. Dozier, Escobar, Florimon, Mauer, and Plouffe are all givens.
From the rest of the group, Romero is a longtime third base prospect but has limited upside and limited defensive value as a one-position player on a four-man bench. A roster spot for Colabello will hinge on whether or not Kubel and Parmelee make the squad, while Bartlett and Bernier could be added as a second utility infielder but would need to be added to the 40-man roster first. Minnesota will need to trim either three or four players from this list to whittle the roster to 25.
In the outfield, things aren't as straight forward as they might be at first blush. The center field situation makes it worth looking twice at both Hicks and Ramirez and asking two questions.
- Are the Twins considering giving the starting job to Hicks again this season, and keeping Presley on the roster as a guy who can backup all three outfield positions?
- If Hicks still isn't really in the picture, would the Twins consider adding Ramirez to the 40-man roster and taking him north as a second guy who has actually played center field before?
- One of: Herrmann and Pinto
- Four between: Bartlett, Bernier, Colabello, Hicks, Kubel, and Ramirez
- Two between (or one if you are shifting one to the bullpen): Deduno, Diamond, and Worley
- One of (or both of, if you are shifting one of the above to the bullpen): Thielbar and Tonkin