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Looking ahead: Impending roster moves

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With four players on the IL and a schedule without an off day every three seconds, what moves could the Twins be looking at?

In his downtime while rehabbing from his injury, Sanó has learned to levitate baseball bats.
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Twins started their season with four players on the Injured List: third baseman Miguel Sanó (lacerated heel) and relievers Matt Magill (arm discomfort), Addison Reed (thumb discomfort), and Gabriel Moya (shoulder discomfort). The relievers are expected to make returns as early as the end of this month. On top of that, the Twins finally start playing a consistent schedule after leaving New York, seeing 13 games in a row before their next off day. So what possible moves are in store for the Twins? Read on to see the current roster as well as a few different scenarios that will push the Twins to make a roster move.

Current Roster

Starters Bench Bullpen
Starters Bench Bullpen
C Jason Castro C Mitch Garver RP Martin Perez
1B C.J. Cron UT Willians Astudillo RP Trevor May
2B Jonathan Schoop UT Ehire Adrianza RP Taylor Rogers
SS Jorge Polanco OF Jake Cave RP Blake Parker
3B Marwin Gonzalez Rotation RP Trevor Hildenberger
OF Eddie Rosario SP Jose Berrios RP Adalberto Mejia
OF Byron Buxton SP Kyle Gibson RP Ryne Harper
OF Max Kepler SP Jake Odorizzi RP Chase De Jong
DH Nelson Cruz SP Michael Pineda

Miguel Sanó comes off the IL

Sanó has started baseball activities again, so rehab games are probably not too far away in the future for him. On the other hand, the Twins could realistically take their time and ensure that Sanó’s heel is indeed fully healed (see what I did there?) before taking on rehab games. Either way, the Twins seem to be doing fine without Sanó right now, as Marwin Gonzalez, Ehire Adrianza, and Willians Astudillo have all manned third base with ease.

When Sanó does come off the Injured List, a few moves are possible:

  • Adrianza could be designated for assignment. Since he does not have any options remaining, he would be exposed to the waiver wires. On top of that, the Twins may want to keep an extra bench utility player in case Sano’s injury isn’t fully healed and something unexpected happens.
  • Jake Cave is sent back to his cave. This seems like the more ideal choice as Cave has options remaining and if one of the outfielders require a day off, Gonzalez, Adrianza, or Astudillo can fill in as needed.
  • Astudillo is sent down to AAA. Probably the most unpopular of the three possibilities and maybe the most unlikely, but Astudillo does have options available. However, unlike Adrianza and Cave, La Tortuga is swinging a hot bat, and he’s a utility player as well.

Gabriel Moya, Matt Magill, and/or Addison Reed returns from the IL

With three bullpen arms on the IL, it makes for some difficult decisions as the bullpen has held its own in the duration of this early season. Baseball-reference.com says that all three are due to return by the end of this month (not sure how reliable that is). According to LaVelle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, it seems like Moya and Magill are closer to seeing action than Reed.

  • With that being said, one of the easier decisions is to send down is reliever Chase De Jong, who was brought up as bullpen help after a long game by the bullpen in Philadelphia on Friday. De Jong does have one option remaining.
  • Another move that could be made is sending down Ryne Harper, but with his three appearances this year, he’s posted a 0.00 ERA in 2.2 IP with 2 BB and 3 K. He’s been put in some medium- to high-leverage situations as well, so Baldelli seems to like having him around. On the other hand, Harper does have options available at the Twins’ disposal.
  • Adalberto Mejía has not been as effective in the bullpen so far this year; he has a 5.40 ERA in 4 games and 5 innings this year, so he may be a candidate to be sent down. However, he is the only lefty in the bullpen besides Taylor Rogers and does not have any options remaining.
  • Moya could certainly be immediately sent to the minors after coming back from the IL as he has two options remaining and the bullpen looks to be running on all cylinders right now.

The Twins return home and (finally) need a fifth starter

The fifth spot in the starting rotation most likely belongs to Martín Pérez, so this would mean the bullpen loses one arm. The Twins have been (almost) lucky and not heavily relied (ed note: prior to last night’s game) on their bullpen for most of the season. If the Twins do make any moves to cut the bench down to three players, one of the three aforementioned bench players (Cave, Adrianza, or Astudillo) could be told to pack up.

If one of the three sidelined bullpen arms is ready to come of the IL, it could be an easier choice to bring that reliever back into the fold. If they still need time to rehab a bit more, the Twins do have Fernando Romero, Tyler Duffey, and Andrew Vasquez on the 40-man roster to call up.

Poll

What move do you see the Twins making after the New York series?

This poll is closed

  • 33%
    No changes to the 25-man roster.
    (302 votes)
  • 42%
    Twins go to a three-man bench and call up another reliever.
    (387 votes)
  • 24%
    Everyone’s fired.
    (225 votes)
914 votes total Vote Now