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  • Roster Becomes Clearer With More Transactions

    On Monday morning, the Minnesota Twins made several very telling roster decisions.The Twins optioned catcher Drew Butera. They also reassigned catcher Dan Rohlfing, infielders Ray Olmedo and Jeff Clement, and outfielder Brandon Boggs. The roster is now at 31. The news is good for outfielder Wilkin Ramirez.
    There is really just one more offensive, Opening Day roster spot that is up for grabs. Drew Butera had an option remaining, so he was sent to Rochester. This means that the Twins must be comfortable with Eduardo Escobar as an emergency catcher. More proof of that, the Twins also demoted Jeff Clement, who has not caught much in the last couple of years, but was drafted as a catcher. Dan Rohlfing was not going to make the roster, but he did have a very strong showing. Brandon Boggs was another possibility for the 25th man job.

    Earlier this morning, Ken Rosenthal tweeted that a lot of teams really would like Butera, but that the Twins prefer to stash him at Rochester for when needed.

    This basically means that Wilkin Ramirez will be the 25th man unless the Twins decide to go with 13 pitchers. Ramirez was once a prize prospect of the Detroit Tigers and has spent big league time with the Tigers and the Braves. He showed terrific power in Rochester last year and had a very strong big league camp. He will be the fifth outfielder, but primarily, he will be a pinch hitter.

    The moves really leave just a couple more roster decisions to be made. They are on the pitching side of things. There are 18 pitchers left in camp, but that includes Rafael Perez and Rich Harden, who have only pitched bullpens to this point. Tim Wood will begin on the Disabled List. Samuel Deduno also suffered a groin injury in the WBC championship game.

    We know that Glen Perkins, Jared Burton, Brian Duensing and Casey Fien are the givens. Rule 5 choice, Ryan Pressly, appears to be a lock as he has had a very good spring training. So, it really comes down to Alex Burnett, Tyler Robertson, Josh Roenicke and PJ Walters for two spots.

    Robertson would the the left-handed option, should they go that direction. He does have two options remaining. Alex Burnett really struggled this spring, and he has one option remaining. Josh Roenicke threw 80+ innings for the Rockies a year ago, and he is out of options. PJ Walters could be competing for the fifth starter job (unlikely) as well as a long-relief job, but he is on a minor league contract.

    Opening Day is one week away! We're getting close now!
    This article was originally published in blog: Roster Becomes Clearer With More Transactions started by Seth Stohs
    Comments 100 Comments
    1. Teflon's Avatar
      Teflon -
      Quote Originally Posted by USAFChief View Post
      IF, at the end of the season, you're able to say the same thing, I'll be surprised.
      Yeah, I know. wishful thinking on my part. It's just that carrying three catchers so you don't have to pull Liam Hendricks an inning early for a pinch hitter should the starting catcher tweak something dives me crazy.
    1. Aaron Cross's Avatar
      Aaron Cross -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      I guess I'm not going to try to pretend I'm smarter at baseball stuff than Gardy or Terry Ryan. Guys need backups. Backups need playing time to be somewhat fresh when they are called upon.
      Backups are backups because they're not good enough to be starters. I think everyday players should play everyday. They can rest when the season is over. Sunday lineups and get away day lineups are disgusting to me.
    1. cmathewson's Avatar
      cmathewson -
      Quote Originally Posted by USAFChief View Post
      In general, no I don't, anymore than a regularly scheduled off day prevents them from "gelling." I'm certainly not in favor of resting starters for no reason, but I doubt any major league manager does that.
      I think Gardy has done that. Or, at least he's sat guys for no apparent reason. If you followed the careers of Cuddyer and Kubel, for example, you might agree with me.

      For the first three or four years of their careers, they were never given an opportunity to get into a good groove. Cuddyer would just start to break out of a slump, maybe hitting in three games in a row or going 2-3 two games in a row, and Gardy would sit him for a couple of games. It used to be a joke over at TwinkieTown when Kubel would go 4-4 that he was hitting the bench the next day. And we're not talking about one day off. We're talking about multiple, butt-numbing days off in a row while lesser, scrappier players got an extended look.

      I get that regulars need about a day off a week, especially as the season wears on. And bench guys need to play at least once a week to stay fresh. But that's not Gardy's style. If a bench guy has a 2-4 day, he'll play him the next day. If he gets on a roll, he could play him three days in a row. Now you're regular is wondering what he did to deserve the benching.

      If a player was not a "veteran," meaning he had less than 1000 at bats, he rarely got the chance to play a whole week of games without an off day--even in the first few weks of the season when guys are fresh. There were exceptions. Morneau, for example. But especially in the middle infield, it has been a revolving door, in part because he benches guys so much.

      That's just my impression. And maybe he's learned a thing or two over the years. But it sure seems like he uses his bench more like a basketball coach than a baseball manager. And that's not conducive for most hitters to succeed. To my knowledge, he's the only manager who does it this way.
    1. Kwak's Avatar
      Kwak -
      Extra players, extra pitchers, multiple positions, etc. It really boils down to the concept of Field Manager as a super, hands-on, micro manager who is using his authority to try to convince others that "he" is responsible for the teams success. That, the Field Manager is "genius" at pulling strings, pushing buttons, to place his team in the most favorable (or least unfavorable) matchup thus "winning games" for the team as opposed to the tradition definition as the guy who fills out the line-up card (which generally wouldn't change anyway). In Gardenhire's (or any other like-minded field Manager) defense if the FO is going to evaluate him on the basis of W/L's then we should expect that said FM will attempt to control his own destiny as much as he can.
    1. Physics Guy's Avatar
      Physics Guy -
      Quote Originally Posted by CDog View Post
      I've seen you make various forms of this comment a few times as some sort of attempted indictment of Gardenhire. I don't understand why for two reasons. For one, I would think that almost any good manager tries to get a little playing time for his bench guys, and even one replacement is going to make for another scratch mark in the "different lineup" column. And more importantly, if you actually look at the lineups used, the point you seem to be trying to make isn't even accurate. Forgive me if I'm wrong in the assumption that you think the lineup wasn't stable enough.

      Looking at those first 20 games you mention...

      The first three spots in the batting order changed...never.

      Four and five were near locks except Willingham and Morneau switched after nine games.

      Doumit hit 6th every time he started with two exceptions where he moved up when Morneau or Willingham got a day off.

      Valencia hit 7th every time he started with three exceptions where someone ahead of him got a day off.

      Casilla hit 9th every time he started.

      From a fielding perspective, Span and Carroll both started at the same position 20 of 20 games. LF, 2B, and 3B were all very much locked up by Willingham, Casilla and Valencia who got three days off (one at DH and the final two games when he was hurt), four days off, and three days off, respectively. Catcher and 1B were used in a pretty predictable rotation for Mauer/Doumit and Parmelee. Right field...well, we know what was going on there.

      So...in the lineup, three spots had ZERO fluctuation, six were very steady outside of days off, and the 8th spot was used to handle the leftover role player in some sense. In the field, five spots were completely or quite stable, two were a very predictable rotation, and one was a revolving door of personnel.

      Where's the problem with what Gardenhire did here?
      Very well laid out argument. Considering some of the issues he was dealing with (Morneau DH'ing, giving Mauer more rest), I would agree that there was a reasonable amount of stability in those lineups. Part of the reason for so many lineups is that he most likely only chose to switch one or two players on a regular basis rather than having a day where Plouffe, Dozier, Burroughs and Parmelee all played the same day.
    1. Mr. Brooks's Avatar
      Mr. Brooks -
      It would be nice if every player could handle, or wanted to play every game, like they used to back in the day. (Just think of what Gehrig or Ripken would think of all these days off.)
      But, the sad fact is that most of the modern players can't handle it, or ask for days off.
      There are a few in the league that pretty much play every game, only taking days off when they are truly banged up, not just because they need a "breather", or because its a long season. But, those players are few and far between. And its not just the Twins, look around the league, very few players play 155+ games every year.

      I really dont know the reason for this either, as you would think that with modern medicine, modern training facilities, modern diets, etc., that guys would be in better shape to play every day now, vs. 30 years ago, but for whatever reason that isnt the case.

      So, that said, a manager has to manage all these egos, give days off to guys that cant handle playing 160 games, or that ask for days off, etc.
      Sometimes it seems like Gardy goes a little overboard, especially on getaway days, but when comparing to the rest of the league, I see too small of a difference to consider it anything but nitpicking.
    1. cmathewson's Avatar
      cmathewson -
      That's right. Also, he routinely swaps out Morneau and Willingham depending on the handedness of the opposing pitcher. I suspect he'll do the same thing with Parmelee and Plouffe this year, while keeping Doumit int he 6 spot.

      I think he has learned something over the last several years. Namely, guys don't have to be veterans to warrant being everyday players. He's been better at letting the young kids play and tolerating their idiosyncrasies. What we remember from his early years is not likely to reoccur.
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      Hmmm....Butera is in AAA. Duensing is in the bullpen. Morneau isn't dizzy. Mauer doesn't have bilateral anything. There is still snow on the ground. Are we celebrating a second Christmas in March or something?
    1. Mr. Brooks's Avatar
      Mr. Brooks -
      Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
      Hmmm....Butera is in AAA. Duensing is in the bullpen. Morneau isn't dizzy. Mauer doesn't have bilateral anything. There is still snow on the ground. Are we celebrating a second Christmas in March or something?
      You forgot about the starting rotation.
    1. Halsey Hall's Avatar
      Halsey Hall -
      I think the guys 30, 40 and 50 years ago would need time off now too. And guys are certainly in better shape now. But those guys years ago would need time off just doing what today's players do in the weight room to be in that shape.
    1. snepp's Avatar
      snepp -
      Quote Originally Posted by USAFChief View Post
      IF, at the end of the season, you're able to say the same thing, I'll be surprised.
      The end of the season? How about the end of May?
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Brooks View Post
      You forgot about the starting rotation.
      That's the lumps of coal in the Christmas stocking.
    1. Brandon's Avatar
      Brandon -
      So if the Twins sign Chris Young, how does that change things for the rotation and bullpen?

      Chris Young To Opt Out Of Contract With Nats: MLB Rumors - MLBTradeRumors.com
    1. spycake's Avatar
      spycake -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brandon View Post
      So if the Twins sign Chris Young, how does that change things for the rotation and bullpen?
      They won't, so it doesn't?
    1. Don't Feed the Greed Guy's Avatar
      Don't Feed the Greed Guy -
      It's probably too late in this thread for this question to get much notice, especially with all the sniping about "whipping boys" and Gardys lineups last year, but here it goes:

      Could the Twins pick up a proven bat/pinch hitter between now and opening day? It seems a waste to put Wilkin Ramirez on the bench, rather than giving him a chance to play and add polish with Rochester. He's already 27, so maybe he's beyond the prospect phase. All the same, if there's a 2013 version of Clete Thomas lurking out there, I'd like to see the Twins snatch him up and let Ramirez play everyday at AAA. Any ideas of who might be released/available as other teams trim their rosters and head out for opening day?
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      I think that something might be up with Robertson. Today's outing was pretty bad as well and his velocity is very low at this point. His FB was at 86-88 (Hammond Stadium radar, so read 85ish) and very flat and very hittable. His breaking ball was better and got some swings and misses but he had issues commanding in. Low FB velocity and lack of command on the curve unfortunately sounds like an injury situation to me. Regardless, he is not producing at this point...

      Also (and I will write more about it in a bit) based on those 2 points (FB velocity and breaking ball command,) from what I saw in the game today Pelfrey seems healthy. His FB hit 94 (so really 91-92) and he had excellent command of his curve... Definitely a piece of good news from today...
    1. stringer bell's Avatar
      stringer bell -
      Thanks thry. It was two weeks ago today that I saw Robertson set down three major leaguers--he fanned two righties with change-ups and got a weak grounder from Matt Joyce. The gun in Tampa had him at 92-93, I believe, and the change-ups were 81. Maybe something is wrong with his arm. I saw Pelfrey get hit pretty good by most of the varsity Red Sox, but a misplayed roller by Pelfrey and a couple of "duckfarts" hurt him quite a bit, along with a fat pitch to Napoli after he almost got out of a bases loaded jam. His velocity looked okay, but his location wasn't great. I expect him to be up and down, but the Twins might have a bargain if he stays healthy.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      So far, I like the decisions....I find it funny that Ryan did not send down hicks because he owed it to the other players and Gardy to win.....and did that to fix the pitching this off-season, those two actions are not the same.....
    1. johnnydakota's Avatar
      johnnydakota -
      Quote Originally Posted by stringer bell View Post
      To me, Roenicke makes the club for sure now. Due to his minor league contract, Walters is on the outside looking in. That leaves the real competition between Robertson and Burnett. I saw Robertson's best outing in person and asked JR about it (he was impressed) while I saw Burnett struggle in person. Both have options left, so I'm guessing whoever is more effective this week gets a job to start the season. As for who leaves the 40-man, perhaps the Twins trade Gardy's security blanket or maybe Rohlfing had a strong enough ST that they would consider DFAing Herrman.
      DFA herrman? why he isnt out of options and has been assigned to the minors 10 days ago
    1. johnnydakota's Avatar
      johnnydakota -
      Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
      About Hicks being named starting CF:

      "The guy has earned it," general manager Terry Ryan said. "I find it almost humorous that guys are talking service time and starting the clock. The guy has earned it."

      Ryan said the Twins have never held a player back for service-time reasons since he took over as general manager in 1994. He said it wouldn't be fair to the player or his teammates if they deserved a roster spot.

      "Can you imagine if we sent somebody out who did what the kid did?" Ryan said. "And I had to look at [Josh] Willingham, [Justin] Morneau, [Glen] Perkins, [Joe] Mauer and those guys who are trying to win, and I'm going to stop that guy? I just don't believe in that."
      Me thinks his nose is growing
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