Y'all need a soundtrack for this one. Since the next James Bond movie, Spectre, released its first teaser last night, let's roll with what is - for my money - the best Bond theme of all time.
Lewis Thorpe undergoing Tommy John surgery
It's official: Twins pitching prospect Lewis Thorpe has a torn ulnar collateral ligament and needs Tommy John surgery. Surgery date TBA.— LaVelle E. Neal III (@LaVelleNeal) March 28, 2015
We did kind of think that this was going to happen, as it became evident in recent days that the rest and rehabilitation route wasn't going to be enough to allow Thorpe to pitch in 2015. The good news here, if we're searching for silver linings, is that Thorpe made this decision sooner rather than later. This means that if he gets the surgery done in the next couple weeks he could have a chance to return to game action late in the 2016 season in at attempt to shake off some rust before getting his development back on track in 2017 - his age-21 season.
Thorpe joins fellow Twins minor league pitcher B.J. Hermsen in line for Tommy John in 2015. Let's hope the list ends there.
Twins outright Lester Oliveros
Yesterday afternoon the Twins outrighted Lester Oliveros from the 40-man roster. This leaves Minnesota with 39 players, and the assumption is that they will make a corresponding move in the next day or two.
There is some speculation that the roster spot could go to Blaine Boyer or Shane Robinson, non-roster invitees with good chances to make the club for opening day. A dark horse candidate from within the organization might be Eric Fryer, if the Twins like his receiving skills better than those of Chris Herrmann - who is more versatile defensively but not as strong behind the plate.
After cutting both Aaron Hicks and Eddie Rosario this morning, the Twins are now scouring the waiver wire for both relief pitching and help in center field. Bryz has the complete round-up of this situation handled, which I highly recommend you checking out if you haven't already done so. The issue here is that waiver wire pickups that would constitute an upgrade at either position would be hard to find. There's also the chance that the Twins make a trade or jump into free agency for that roster spot, which we'll also touch on in the following two points.
Twins to watch Rafael Soriano throw
The #MNTwins have inquired about watching FA reliever Rafael Soriano throw, per source. Possible they already watched him in Miami.— Darren Wolfson (@DWolfsonKSTP) March 27, 2015
We discussed this yesterday upon learning that the Twins were looking for bullpen help, ultimately coming to the conclusion that Soriano was as much of a guaranteed upgrade as a random player you might find on the waiver wire. There are different costs and risks involved regardless of the route Minnesota may take in bolstering their bullpen, and in the end perhaps that might be the deciding factor more than the players available.
The results of scouting Soriano may have an impact on this decision as well. If it seems like his fastball velocity has plateaued or perhaps had a slight recovery (if we're being optimistic), if he has confidence in his slider and it still looks good, if he's healthy, if he'd accept a non-closer role, maybe it's something that could happen. But those are a lot of ifs, and they're all dependent on how the Twins feel he's throwing.
Mike Pelfrey isn't happy about his move to the bullpen
This has been the hot news on Twitter this morning. No doubt Pelfrey was disappointed by the news, but he went as far to say that he didn't believe it was truly an open competition for that fifth starter's spot and he also didn't believe he was out-pitched this spring. He certainly wasn't out-pitched this spring, I'll give him that. Was it truly a fair competition for the fifth starter's spot? I'd have never thought so, but the Twins don't operate off of the way I think. If Terry Ryan says it was an open competition, I'm inclined to believe him.
There are teams out there who could have some interest in Pelfrey. The Yankees could, the Blue Jays might, the Dodgers apparently want a fifth starter, maybe the Rangers are still looking for help at the back end; as unlikely as it feels from the perspective of a Twins fan, some teams out there could do worse than Mike Pelfrey as their fifth starter.
Does this mean the Twins will trade him? Considering their need for help in both the bullpen and center field, it will certainly be considered. Right now Terry Ryan is saying he wants Pelfrey in the bullpen, and to be fair it's a scenario I'd be interested in playing out. Pelfrey, in short bursts, could up his velocity and potentially being a career renaissance as a reliever.
But he'll have to find his peace with that first. Right now, in the heat of the moment, he isn't off to the best start.