With this morning's cuts, and with just 39 players remaining in camp, it's about time we start to think about which guys might actually be making this team. The Twins are notorious for taking 12 pitchers and 13 position players, and in spite of our early speculation that the team may take three catchers north, there's been nothing to indicate recently that the organization is leaning in that direction. But I still think they'll do it due to the versatility of their roster. With that in mind, here's the breakdown.
Starting Pitchers (5)
Carl Pavano, Scott Baker, Francisco Liriano, Nick Blackburn, Jason Marquis
The question mark here is Baker, who seems to feel fine for the moment. Of course that could change at any time. Minnesota will give the innings to Liam Hendriks if something does happen to Baker, and if the Twins are as confident as they seem to be in Hendriks. Alternatively they could go with Swarzak or Duensing (who will both be in the bullpen), or even Jeff Manship. Until something changes however, we're going with these five.
Joe Mauer, Ryan Doumit, Drew Butera
Yup. If Doumit is going to be this team's primary designated hitter, then Gardenhire will want a backup for Mauer that doesn't mean forcing his backup into the catcher spot. He'll want Doumit to be able to continue to be the DH, which means that Butera will probably still get at least one start per week. I'd rather give that start to J.R. Towles at this point, but let's be honest: it's not like Towles has done anything to take the roster spot away from Butera. So the Twins will go with familiarity, and I can't fault them for that in this case.
More after the jump.
Justin Morneau, Alexi Casilla, Jamey Carroll, Danny Valencia, Luke Hughes, Sean Burroughs
Here's your first non-roster invitee. I do think Brian Dozier will start the season in triple-A, as he probably should, along with Chris Parmelee, Joe Benson, and (health of Baker permitting) Hendriks. The rest of this list is more or less a given, including the out-of-options Luke Hughes.
Denard Span, Ben Revere, Josh Willingham, Trevor Plouffe
The Twins are going with just four outfielders this season because, well, they can. With Revere able to back up Span in center, and with Plouffe and Doumit able to back up the corners (and Hughes too, in an emergency), there's enough flexibility to guarantee that no position will be without a second tier of depth.
Matt Capps, Glen Perkins, Brian Duensing, Anthony Swarzak, Matt Maloney, Alex Burnett, Kyle Waldrop
This is not the bullpen I would construct given the available options, but I do believe that this is the route the Twins will take. Those last two spots I'd give to Casey Fien and Jared Burton, but most likely they will begin the season in Rochester. We know that the Twins are notoriously loyal to players who have earned their stripes. Burnett has pitched out of the Minnesota pen regularly over the last couple of years, while Waldrop is a first round draft pick from nearly eight years ago - he's earned his opportunity.
What does your roster look like?