Where the roster is concerned, the combination of Minnesota's choice to sign Torii Hunter and to tender the six remaining arbitration eligible players contracts means that the 40-man roster is once again full. Terry Ryan and the Twins certainly aren't done getting ready for 2014, but not having room to maneuver certainly makes that job more complicated.
As we covered this morning, to make room on the 40-man roster the Twins now have to go a new route:
- Outright a player, or designate someone for assignment. A.J. Achter, Logan Darnell, Stephen Pryor, Aaron Thompson, Eric Fryer, Chris Colabello, Chris Herrmann, and Chris Parmelee are all players who could go quite easily.
- Make a trade. I'm of the opinion that a number of players around the league, who were considered non-trade candidates, ended up in the same boat as Eduardo Nunez or Brian Duensing and stayed on the roster. Swapping non-tender candidates, or pulling off another trade involving 40-man roster players, is by nature more difficult because more than one team is involved, but Terry Ryan will be exploring possibilities.
Number one seems like the easier and more obvious answer, particularly because there is still plenty of fat to be trimmed from the roster without concerning ourselves with players who are slightly more expensive. A couple of those players have the added benefit of having been on the 25-man roster, meaning the Twins would kill two birds with one stone.
Assuming a 12-man pitching staff, the Twins will carry 13 position players on the active roster. Those players will be selected from this pool.
Kurt Suzuki, Josmil Pinto, Eric Fryer
Joe Mauer, Brian Dozier, Trevor Plouffe, Danny Santana, Eduardo Escobar, Kennys Vargas, Eduardo Nunez, Chris Colabello, Chris Parmelee
Oswaldo Arcia, Aaron Hicks, Torii Hunter, Jordan Schafer, Chris Herrmann
That's a total of 17 players, all of whom are on the 40-man. Four of them won't make the trip north, and we can narrow that list down pretty quickly: Fryer, Colabello, Parmelee, and Herrmann are all easy calls. Colabello and Herrmann both, to the best of my knowledge, have one option year remaining. Considering that they are on the margins of the active roster, that's a good thing. Fyer and Parmelee, however, are out of options.
Still, jettisoning Fryar and-or Parmelee doesn't make space on the 25-man roster. Similarly, players like Achter, Darnell, and Thompson are all good options for clearing space on the 40-man, but because they aren't guys who are likely to be a part of the team out of spring training there's only so much to be gained from their departure when the team needs to bring in talent for the Major League club.
As it stands, the Twins can fit all of the arbitration-eligible players onto the active roster. But if they are to add another outfielder, then we start to look at options like Aaron Hicks starting the season in Triple-A or the team swallowing whatever contract they end up handing off to Jordan Schafer or Eduardo Nunez. These are the players on the fringe of the Major League roster, and they are that much closer to the edge now that Hunter has been signed and the 40-man is now full.
It seems as though the Twins could have made things much easier on themselves by non-tendering one or two of their arbitration-eligible players last night. Instead, we get to talk about not just Hunter's signing, but how in the hell the team will be able to add additional talent.