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Only having one bench infielder isn’t a big deal, for now

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I don’t think a short bench will actually hurt the Twins.

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Minnesota Twins Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The Twins have nearly set their opening day roster, and appear to be going with only one infielder on the bench, Ehire Adrianza. Erick Aybar seemed likely to be the 25th man on the bench for the Twins, but he was told he wouldn’t make the team, it appears that role will go to outfielder Zack Granite . So Adrianza will join Joe Mauer, Miguel Sano, Brian Dozier, Eduardo Escobar, and DH/1B Logan Morrison as the infield options for the 2018 Twins. Some Twins fans seem frustrated the team seems destined to go with only one infielder on the bench, but I think it’ll be okay.

The Twins are starting the season with a four-man rotation. They are able to do that because of all the off days they have in the first part of their schedule. However, pitchers aren’t the only ones who will benefit from the extra rest. The extra off-days also mean Escobar, Sano, and Mauer get more rest too. (I’d include Dozier, but the guy plays like 150 games every year anyway.) If Sano and Mauer are getting regular rest without needing to take days off, that helps decrease the demand for a utility player. The presence of Logan Morrison also helps here, in that Sano is no longer Mauer’s primary back-up.

The Twins have literally no other infielders on their 40-man roster besides the guys expected to be on the Opening Day roster. Once you get past Nick Gordon, there aren’t a lot of guys with high ceilings in the upper minors, but there are some guys who could fill in for a 10-day DL stint.

At Rochester, third baseman Leonardo Reginatto hit fairly well last season, and at age 27, is more of organizational depth than a prospect, if you were to lose him in an eventual roster crunch. Similarly, for middle infielders, Gregorio Petit has 426 plate appearances spread across four different MLB teams. Taylor Featherston has played for three MLB teams as well, and made a case for the 25th spot this spring. He could be called up easily if needed. Anti-strikeout machine Willians Astudillo is also assigned to Rochester, and can play some third base if needed.

Down in Chattanooga, Nick Gordon will be seeking to prove his hot spring wasn’t just an aberration. If he can continue to hit the way he did, and field his position at any reasonable level, he could very well head to the show sooner than later. Third baseman TJ White hasn’t played above Double-A either, but at 25 is a bit old for that league, and could move up in the system as well. Long story short, the Twins may not have infield depth riding the pine at Target Field, but there is plenty of it a short plane ride away.

If something happens during a game, though, the Twins still have emergency options.

Despite the fact I could have sworn otherwise, Mitch Garver has never played third base as a professional. Maybe I was thinking of Chris Gimenez. That being said, I have little doubt he could be serviceable there for a game or two, in an emergency role. He’s played plenty of left field and first base. If somehow Escobar and Sano were to collide in shallow left field, and neither could finish the game, I think Garver could be an admirable fill-in. I also think Mauer could do it. Again, he’s never played the position, but he’s played fantastic defense at first, and its better than having to put Robbie Grossman there.

In a similar vein, its been years since the experiment ended, but the Twins did try to convert Eddie Rosario to a second baseman. He started a total of 225 games there in the minors and winter ball. I certainly wouldn’t hand him an infield position, but in a one-game, injury situation, he could cover second. There is a bit of hidden flexibility on this team’s roster. Obviously any of these guys playing in the infield would be a case of losing two players (a starter plus Adrianza) for part of a game, or immediately before a game, without the ability to bring someone up from the minors in time. There is one other option available to the Twins, as well.

The other things the Twins could, and many think will, do is to add another player. Be it a waiver claim, signing someone who opts out, or a trade, there are 29 other teams also making the final cuts to their 25-man rosters. That means that a fringe utility guy could become available. If the Twins see something in someone, they could easily acquire someone. The Twins could DFA Kennys Vargas again (and are expected to do so), and can always option Granite back to Triple-A.

How do you feel? Do you think that the Twins will be ok with just one bench infielder, or are we looking at the start of a disappointing season?

Poll

With only one infielder on the bench, the Twins will be...

This poll is closed

  • 50%
    Totally fine
    (184 votes)
  • 28%
    Alright, if Molitor gets creative
    (103 votes)
  • 9%
    In a little trouble
    (34 votes)
  • 2%
    A tire fire
    (8 votes)
  • 10%
    Trick question, they’re totally adding another guy
    (37 votes)
366 votes total Vote Now