According to the Twins’ official transaction log, several players have played their last games in a Minnesota uniform. Five players were removed from the 40-man roster, with three of them being claimed by other teams.
40-Man Roster Updates
The Twins officially announced the following roster moves:
- OF Jake Cave was claimed off waivers by the Baltimore Orioles
- SS/2B Jermaine Palacios was claimed off waivers by the Detroit Tigers
- C/1B Caleb Hamilton was claimed off waivers by the Boston Red Sox
- LHP Devin Smeltzer was outrighted to the St. Paul Saints (UPDATE: Smeltzer elected free agency)
- RHP Jhon Romero was outrighted to the St. Paul Saints
While none of these moves are necessarily surprising, many thought that Palacios would be able to stick around on the 40-man roster. While Palacios’ bat has questions, his glove profiles as a solid utility infielder going forward. Additionally, he has options so it would be easy to stash him in St. Paul for depth.
The other most notable name is Jake Cave. While he wasn’t very good in 2022, his solid track record in 2018 and 2019 earned him a few too many chances over the following years. Cave was also a surprisingly long-tenured Twin, as Aaron Gleeman of The Athletic pointed out.
Jake Cave played more games in a Twins uniform than Nelson Cruz, Mitch Garver, Shannon Stewart, Danny Valencia, Josh Willingham and Chili Davis.— Aaron Gleeman (@AaronGleeman) October 12, 2022
Cave hit more homers in a Twins uniform than Josh Donaldson, A.J. Pierzynski, Gene Larkin, Dave Winfield, Paul Molitor and Luis Rivas.
Caleb Hamilton was a career minor leaguer who experienced a big offensive uptick at Triple A in 2022. He was added to the roster as a depth option when Ryan Jeffers was hurt. He appeared in 23 games, but only had 18 at-bats and four starts. His primary role was as a pinch runner for Gary Sanchez and Sandy León towards the end of the season.
Smeltzer and Romero will stick with the organization, though not on the 40-man roster. Both are solid depth options should there be a slew of injuries next year again. Smeltzer going unclaimed was a little surprising, but definitely a welcome surprise for the Twins. His soft-throwing stuff isn’t great, but his control can make him look strong at times. There was a month-long stretch through May where Smeltzer was the best starter on the Twins with a 1.50 ERA in 24 innings, holding batters to a .498 OPS.
UPDATE: Smeltzer elected free agency. The Twins could still bring him back as a minor league FA, similar to what they did with Jake Cave last year.
Future 40-Man Moves
With the MLB’s current roster rules, the 60-day IL cannot be used during the offseason, meaning the Twins will need to clear roster spots for all of the players they lost in 2022. If they plan on adding players to the team for 2023, which they do, they will need to clear additional spots for them as well. After these moves, the 40-man roster stands at 47, so there’s plenty of change coming down the line.
Some of them will take care of themselves. Gary Sánchez, Michael Fulmer, Sandy León, Aaron Sanchez, and Billy Hamilton will all be free agents. Carlos Correa is definitely opting out of his current deal, while Miguel Sanó, Dylan Bundy, and Chris Archer will likely all be bought out. Those eight players take the 40-man down to 39, which is enough to get the offseason started.
As the Twins add players, more 40-man moves will follow. Mark Contreras, Danny Coulombe, Cody Stashak, and Cole Sands are all names I would watch, as each of them would have a good chance of making it through waivers and sticking in the organization. Of course, there’s also always Emilio Pagán, but the Twins reportedly received trade interest in him at the deadline, so they may be hesitant to waive him outright.