The Twins have, in the past, made it clear that players who have been with the team longer have a leg up on the competition coming out of spring training. They've also made a habit of rewarding players who do well in spring training. This season those two things have decidedly not been the case, with a number of incumbents and apparent favorites being jettisoned, culminating in today's events surrounding Alex Presley, Chris Parmelee, and Scott Diamond.
To give us a long-term look at how the roster has changed on Opening Day over the last few years, here are the 25 men the Twins have taken north going back to 2010.
|C||Kurt Suzuki||Joe Mauer||Joe Mauer||Joe Mauer||Joe Mauer|
|1B||Joe Mauer||Justin Morneau||Chris Parmelee||Justin Morneau||Justin Morneau|
|2B||Brian Dozier||Brian Dozier||Alexi Casilla||Tsuyoshi Nishioka||Orlando Hudson|
|3B||Trevor Plouffe||Trevor Plouffe||Danny Valencia||Danny Valencia||Nick Punto|
|SS||Pedro Florimon||Pedro Florimon||Jamey Carroll||Alexi Casilla||J.J. Hardy|
|LF||Josh Willingham||Josh Willingham||Josh Willingham||Delmon Young||Delmon Young|
|CF||Aaron Hicks||Aaron Hicks||Denard Span||Denard Span||Denard Span|
|RF||Oswaldo Arcia||Chris Parmelee||Ben Revere||Michael Cuddyer||Michael Cuddyer|
|DH||Jason Kubel||Ryan Doumit||Justin Morneau||Jason Kubel||Jason Kubel|
|Bench||Josmil Pinto, C||Jamey Carroll, IF||Trevor Plouffe, 3B/OF||Jim Thome, DH||Jim Thome, DH|
|Chris Colabello, 1B/OF||Darin Mastroianni, OF||Ryan Doumit, C/1B||Drew Butera, C||Drew Butera, C|
|Eduardo Escobar, IF||Eduardo Escobar, IF||Luke Hughes, IF||Matt Tolbert, IF||Alexi Casilla, IF|
|Jason Bartlett, UT||Wilkin Ramirez, OF||Sean Burroughs, IF||Jason Repko, OF||Brendan Harris, IF|
|Rotation||Ricky Nolasco||Vance Worley||Carl Pavano||Francisco Liriano||Scott Baker|
|Phil Hughes||Kevin Correia||Francisco Liriano||Carl Pavano||Kevin Slowey|
|Kevin Correia||Mike Pelfrey||Liam Hendriks||Brian Duensing||Carl Pavano|
|Mike Pelfrey||Liam Hendriks||Nick Blackburn||Nick Blackburn||Nick Blackburn|
|Kyle Gibson||Cole De Vries||Scott Baker||Francisco Liriano|
|Bullpen||Glen Perkins||Glen Perkins||Matt Capps||Joe Nathan||Jon Rauch|
|Jared Burton||Jared Burton||Glen Perkins||Matt Capps||Matt Guerrier|
|Casey Fien||Casey Fien||Brian Duensing||Jose Mijares||Jesse Crain|
|Brian Duensing||Brian Duensing||Jared Burton||Kevin Slowey||Jose Mijares|
|Samuel Deduno||Tyler Robertson||Matt Maloney||Dusty Hughes||Pat Neshek|
|Caleb Thielbar||Rosh Roenicke||Alex Burnett||Glen Perkins||Brian Duensing|
|Anthony Swarzak||Ryan Pressly||Jeff Gray||Jeff Manship||Alex Burnett|
40 and 25-Man Roster Implications
Last season the Twins had a number of players who would have made the roster had they been healthy, like Deduno, Swarzak, and the recently DFA's Scott Diamond. This season there's no such issue, as for the first time in what feels like decades the team is actually relatively healthy (sorry Miguel Sano).
As of right now, the Twins have just 36 players on their 40-man roster (before adding Kubel and Bartlett), which means that they'll have 13 players on which to call when they eventually need to dip into Triple-A for help. That's not really a big deal, because the team will just add players when it needs to, but that leads us to another question: who could the Twins add?
Alex Meyer would be a good bet at some point during the season. Lester Oliveros and Darin Mastroianni could be in the cards at some point, as could recent cuts Parmelee and Diamond (if he accepts his assignment). But other than that, if we're talking about who could be added tot he 40-man in the next few weeks, it's likely to be a player not yet in the organization.
The Major League team, in spite of the additions of two new starting pitchers, still isn't very good. Colabello is a great story and plays the role of the guy with pop off the bench, although how much pop he has is yet to be determined. The team has two backup center fielders, but in players who aren't center fielders. Gardenhire has his desired versatility, and you have to give some level of credit to the organization for finding creative and outside-the-box solutions and not abiding by traditional guidelines for positions that wouldn't require more than an inning here and there to be covered, but it's obviously done at the expense of any offensive upside whatsoever.
But even on that front I have to give kudos to the Twins, because it didn't matter who they chose for the bench - nobody was going to be able to provide offense. So they have chosen to try to make the most of what they have: two athletic players with decent enough speed who are talented enough to patch an unfamiliar position over a few innings if absolutely necessary. It's not much, but it's certainly working with what you're given.
How does the roster look to you?