This morning the Twins announced four moves, locking in their Opening Day roster for 2016. Barring another 12th hour gut punch in the mold of a starting pitcher getting suspended, this is how Minnesota will look as they head north.
|DH||Byung Ho Park|
|C||John Ryan Murphy|
Here's how that compares to Opening Day rosters for the Twins over the last five seasons:
|C||Kurt Suzuki||Kurt Suzuki||Joe Mauer||Joe Mauer||Joe Mauer|
|1B||Joe Mauer||Joe Mauer||Justin Morneau||Chris Parmelee||Justin Mornea|
|2B||Brian Dozier||Brian Dozier||Brian Dozier||Alexi Casilla||Tsuyoshi Nishioka|
|3B||Trevor Plouffe||Trevor Plouffe||Trevor Plouffe||Danny Valencia||Danny Valencia|
|SS||Danny Santana||Pedro Florimon||Pedro Florimon||Jamey Carroll||Alexi Casilla|
|LF||Oswaldo Arcia||Josh Willingham||Josh Willingham||Josh Willingham||Delmon Young|
|CF||Jordan Schafer||Aaron Hicks||Aaron Hicks||Denard Span||Denard Span|
|RF||Torii Hunter||Oswaldo Arcia||Chris Parmelee||Ben Revere||Michael Cuddyer|
|DH||Kennys Vargas||Jason Kubel||Ryan Doumit||Justin Morneau||Jason Kubel|
|Bench||Chris Herrmann, C||Josmil Pinto, C||Jamey Carroll, IF||Trevor Plouffe, 3B/OF||Jim Thome, DH|
|Shane Robinson, OF||Chris Colabello, 1B/OF||Darin Mastroianni, OF||Ryan Doumit, C/1B||Drew Butera, C|
|Eduardo Escobar, IF||Eduardo Escobar, IF||Eduardo Escobar, IF||Luke Hughes, IF||Matt Tolbert, IF|
|Eduardo Nunez, UT||Jason Bartlett, UT||Wilkin Ramirez, OF||Sean Burroughs, IF||Jason Repko, OF|
|Rotation||Phil Hughes||Ricky Nolasco||Vance Worley||Carl Pavano||Francisco Liriano|
|Ricky Nolasco||Phil Hughes||Kevin Correia||Francisco Liriano||Carl Pavano|
|Kyle Gibson||Kevin Correia||Mike Pelfrey||Liam Hendriks||Brian Duensing|
|Tommy Milone||Mike Pelfrey||Liam Hendriks||Nick Blackburn||Nick Blackburn|
|Mike Pelfrey||Kyle Gibson||Cole De Vries||Scott Baker|
|Bullpen||Glen Perkins||Glen Perkins||Glen Perkins||Matt Capps||Joe Nathan|
|Casey Fien||Jared Burton||Jared Burton||Glen Perkins||Matt Capps|
|Tim Stauffer||Casey Fien||Casey Fien||Brian Duensing||Jose Mijares|
|Brian Duensing||Brian Duensing||Brian Duensing||Jared Burton||Kevin Slowey|
|Blaine Boyer||Samuel Deduno||Tyler Robertson||Matt Maloney||Dusty Hughes|
|J.R. Graham||Caleb Thielbar||Josh Roenicke||Alex Burnett||Glen Perkins|
|Aaron Thompson||Anthony Swarzak||Ryan Pressly||Jeff Gray||Jeff Manship|
40 and 25-man roster implications
The first thing to note is that there is no official long reliever on the roster. May has started and could no doubt go multiple innings, but traditionally the long role is given to a pitcher who will be expected, in most circumstances, to give the team three or four innings when the starter has given up a lot of early runs. This doesn't seem like the best use of May's abilities. Instead, Paul Molitor will have five relievers from which to patch together innings in order to get to Jepsen and, ultimately, Perkins.
In spite of not having a traditional fourth outfielder on the roster, the Twins do have a good deal of flexibility on the position player side of things. Santana appears to be transitioning into a super utility role, meaning that he, Rosario, and even Escobar could back up Buxton in a pinch. Outfield corner spots can be fielded by Arcia, Nunez, and of course Santana. Plouffe will be backed up by Sano, Santana, Nunez, and Escobar; Dozier by Santana, Nunez, and Escobar; Escobar by Santana and Nunez; Mauer by Park and Plouffe. If Molitor ever needs to shift things around, he has plenty of options.
Speaking of options: Tonkin, Santana and Arcia are out of them. If any of these players stumble for an extended period, the Twins either have to hang with them or risk them on waivers. Just because of the depth of the system, Tonkin might have the shortest leash and Santana the longest, but that's all guess work.
It's worth noting that the 40-man roster is full with the addition of Abad. This means that, aside from being limited on how the team addresses players who are out of options, it means that these are the players the club can freely call up when the need arises:
Starters: Tyler Duffey, Pat Dean, Alex Meyer, Taylor Rogers
Bullpen: J.T. Chargois, J.R. Graham, Mason Melotakis, Ryan O'Rourke
Catcher: John Hicks
Infield: Jorge Polanco, Kennys Vargas
Outfield: Max Kepler, Adam Brett Walker
That's a group of players who are very talented in their own right, and yes - I did exclude a couple of 40-man options who are definitely too raw to contribute in 2016.
How does the roster look to you?
A few notes...
- The longest tenured starters are Hughes, Gibson, and Nolasco, who have all been a part of the last three Opening Day Twins rosters.
- Dozier, Escobar, and Fien are making their fourth consecutive Opening Day rosters for the Twins.
- Plouffe is making his fifth roster in a row. Back in 2011, he made the Opening Day roster as the club's backup third baseman and corner outfielder.
- The last time Pressly made the Opening Day roster was in 2013, when he was a Rule 5 draft pick.
- Perkins is on his sixth consecutive Opening Day roster. The last time he didn't make the cut was 2010.