About two and a half weeks ago, we discussed the likely candidates to be cut by the Twins following the season. Last night Minnesota made the first four moves, outrighting Cole De Vries, Shairon Martis, Josh Roenicke, and Clete Thomas. Terry Ryan believes he'll be turning over 15 to 18 players this season, so which players could be next?
Pitchers: Andrew Albers, Brian Duensing, Liam Hendriks, B.J. Hermsen, Pedro Hernandez, Mike Pelfrey
Pelfrey is a free agent anyway, so he's a given. Even if the Twins do end up re-signing him, which is far from a given, he'll probably come off the roster beforehand anyway.
Duensing's future is in doubt simply because he's arbitration eligible for the second time. After making $1.3 million this season he'll be due a raise to in the neighborhood of $2 million for 2014. While the Twins have plenty of money to throw around this winter, Ryan and his front office have plenty of bullpen options that can do the same job for about $1.5 million less.
Hermsen was pounded in Double-A and Hernandez didn't pitch like a sixth or seventh starter, much less a fifth. Both players are on the fringe, and even when they're both set loose from the 40-man there's a good chance that the Twins will have the opportunity to keep them in-house if they so choose.
Hendriks was ineffective at the Major League level for the third season in a row, and this time around he also wasn't effective in Triple-A. He seems likely to be picked up by someone who would like to give him an opportunity to find whatever it is that, optimistically, he lost - instead of never had.
Finally there's Albers, who wasn't on my list two and a half weeks ago. He didn't pitch well down the stretch either, which isn't much of a surprise considering his stuff and his history. Still, he pitched better than a number of starters this season, and so could be the pitcher on this list most likely to retain his roster spot.
Catchers: Eric Fryer, Chris Herrmann
With Joe Mauer, Ryan Doumit, and Josmil Pinto all likely to make the roster next season, it seems unlikely that either Fryer or Herrmann would need to be kept on the roster. The issue of Mauer and his concussion issues, as well as the organization reducing Doumit's time behind the plate, may mean that Herrman is kept on board. But having four catchers on the roster, two of whom may not be doing much catcher in that scenario, really seems like an awful way to construct a roster of 13 position players.
Infielders: Doug Bernier
Backup middle infielders who can play multiple positions but can't hit are a dime a dozen. If the Twins decide to go with familiarity, they could keep Bernier. But it seems unlikely. Chances are that Bernier is in the next round of cuts.
Outfielders: Chris Colabello, Darin Mastroianni, Chris Parmelee, Wilkin Ramirez
I still think that one of Colabello and Parmelee will be safe, and because the Twins drafted Parmelee I'd have to say he's the more likely guy to be retained. They both look like fringe talents at this point in their careers, although it seems that at the very least Colabello could be a Triple-A slugger to hold down the middle of the lineup in Rochester. Hell, the Twins could surprise us and keep both Chrises. Chrisses. Whatever.
Mastroianni, like Albers, also wasn't on my list two and a half weeks ago. And, just like Albers, he didn't play well down the stretch, either. The acquisition and play of Alex Presley makes Mastroianni expendable, and if he's expendable then Ramirez is as good as gone.