• How Do You Feel About This Year's Roster?

    About a year ago, the Minnesota Twins left Florida with a roster of 25, bound for the Twin Cities and, ultimately, the basement of the American League Central.

    Quite a bit of turnover has occurred from that collection of individuals Ė a whopping 12 from the 2012 Opening Day roster are no longer with the organization. Several of those players caught on elsewhere but have deemed unfit to place on another teamís 40-man roster. A few of those are out of major league baseball.

    Among the departed is last yearís Opening Day starter (Carl Pavano, who remains unsigned because of a life-threatening injury sustained while shoveling), the teamís closer (Matt Capps, who was recently cut from the Cleveland Indians but was retained on a minor league deal), two of the five bench bats (Sean Burroughs, unsigned, and Luke Hughes, who last played in Australia) and their situational lefty in the Ďpen (Matt Maloney, who may not pitch much due to recovering from Tommy John surgery).

    Beyond that group, Opening Day third baseman Danny Valencia failed to catch on with the Baltimore Orioles this spring and will start the season with their Triple-A affiliate. Reliever Jeff Gray did not merit enough of a role to even make the Chicago White Soxís 40-man either and will be stashed with their International League team as well.

    Think about that for a second. These were supposed to be either key contributors or maneuverable pieces that turned into flotsam and now a vast majority of the other 25 teams would not bend over to pick up for nothing. Just one year removed from the Twins evaluators determining these guys were among their best 25 players.

    [How did they ever win 66? Itís a miracle. Itís a miracle.]

    With the finalization of the roster occurring over the next few days, the Twins staff will be attempting to move on from a group that went 6-16 through the seasonís first month.

    The objective of the offseason was to create a rotation that can keep the Twins in the game long enough to remain competitive but this year, the staff is having troubles identifying their number one guy as the Opening Day starting pitcher still remains unknown (but is widely believed to be Worley). Outside of Jamey Carroll, the bench will consist of athletically talented yet unproven players in Eduardo Escobar, Wilkin Ramirez and Darin Mastroianni. Maloney and Gray will be replaced in the bullpen with Tyler Robertson and Ryan Pressly, two guys who have 25 major league innings between the pair.

    While the success of the team is dependent on the rotation, the starting lineup and defense, depth plays a large role as well. Is this group solid enough to finish April at or near .500, let alone for the duration of the season?
    This article was originally published in blog: How Do You Feel About This Year's Roster? started by Parker Hageman
    Comments 83 Comments
    1. sorney's Avatar
      sorney -
      500 April - Nope. 500 for the season - Nope. The sentence *While the success of the team is dependent on the rotation..* says it all. They just switched bodies around, never really *upgraded* the rotation
    1. Dave T's Avatar
      Dave T -
      The Twins will score more runs, play better defense, pitch no better than last year for the first month or two. If we finish April near .500, it's because we won a lot of high-scoring games, like we did in spring training.
      Defensive improvements: Hicks has Span's range and Cuddyer's arm. Dozier played a sick second base in spring training. Mauer actually threw out a baserunner this spring.
      For the duration of the season, well, jeez, how do you develop young pitchers? You throw them out there and take some lumps. My beef with the Twins front office is, the Twins are also going to take some lumps when their veterans pitch. What I hope to see is, if a veteran (I'm looking at you, Correia) keeps getting pounded, move him to the bullpen and bring up another youngster.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      How do you figure our defense will be better?

      Hicks is great, but Hicks/Parmellee isn't an improvement over Span/Revere. Our middle IF is still bad. Our 3B is still bad.
    1. matthew0211's Avatar
      matthew0211 -
      One thing I would like to have seen is another strong bench bat, a lefty, instead of having two utility infielders.
    1. greengoblinrulz's Avatar
      greengoblinrulz -
      sixty something win team. Cmon, Wilkin Ramirez made this team and they still have no idea who to start opening day.
      Goin in right direction tho. Hope Hendriks/DeVries pitch well in first couple gms to make the Diamond activation difficult
    1. markominne's Avatar
      markominne -
      They won't win - or compete for - the division title, but may not be nearly as bad as last two years. (I saw someone on Twitter ask Dave St. Peter if he thought they'd be over or under 20 wins - that's snark on a major level.) There is some upcoming depth in starting pitching (Gibson, Harden, Deduno, Walters, and maybe even May and Berrios) that, while not overwhelming, promises more than last year, when they were bringing up many of the same folks with zero major league experience. Despite what someone said above, spring training appears to indicate that middle infield will be massively improved. If they regular rotate Mastro into LF and RF (DHing Willingham more), then the OF combo of Willingham - Hicks - Parmalee should be on the field less, and thus less of a concern. Offense has been consistent this spring, largely driven by the guys on the 25-man. Last year, the inconsistency of the offense was maddening - if they can increase output from their regulars, and with a stronger bench, the offense could make the pitching less crucial than last year. The bullpen, unlike last year, looks like a crapshoot to me, outside of Perkins and Burton. Overall, I'm hoping for somewhere between 75 and 80 wins - optimistic, but not without reason.
    1. Ultima Ratio's Avatar
      Ultima Ratio -
      Besides the two worst things about the 25 man 1) that KC is on it and 2) not any better pitcher we could and should have signed, I'm not sold on the bullpen at least the long and middle relief. I know its ST, but I have not been impressed by the guys fighting for a spot except for Pressly. This could be a Bullpen blowup like 2011. I'm optimistic that while the MI will OPS in the lower third of the league, they will be almost average on defense -- serviceable I think they say. Also see a lot more of Willingham at DH and Doumit on the bench to PH this year -- also because of not carrying a third catcher. I'm fine with this.
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Quote Originally Posted by markominne View Post
      If they regular rotate Mastro into LF and RF (DHing Willingham more), then the OF combo of Willingham - Hicks - Parmalee should be on the field less, and thus less of a concern.
      With 2013 being a transition year, I think the goal has to be to develop the guys who will be contributing to a contending 2015 squad. What better way to let a young center fielder blossom than to surround him with two slow guys, so that he can gain the final polishing of taking charge in a major league outfield on every ball hit his way, and be ready to continue to lead when better fielders surround him in two years?
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      'Despite what someone said above, spring training appears to indicate that middle infield will be massively improved.'

      let me preface this by saying I was fine with Casilla leaving...but we're talking about how the defense has supposedly improved. There were 24 2Bs who played at least 700 innings in the majors last year at 2B. He had the 3rd best UZR/150 behind only Ellis and Barney. If we expand that to 550 innings, 28 2Bs played that many and while Casilla was still 3rd, Carroll was 7th.

      Now, I like Dozier, but he's learning a new position and defense at the 2B spot was very good last year for us. So not sure how anyone can saw our MI will be MASSIVELY improved cause of a few ST games when we've very likely downgraded at 2B defensively.

      Spring training indicators are, well, not very indicative of what goes on during the actual season
    1. Rosterman's Avatar
      Rosterman -
      Yeah, you wonder how the jettisoned made the club in 2012.

      This year a starting rotation of: Worley, Pelfry, Correia, Hendriks, DeVries. We all know there were comparable names out there for what we paid for Correia. Pelfry is a comebacker. DeVries is that guy you stash in the minors. In the wings we have Gibson and Deduno....not to mention Hermsen, Hernandez and the other dfa's Walters, Vasquez, Elarton, Davies et al. We could've spent and got one more proven name (no, harden doesn't count, yet).

      We have Mauer at catcher and Doumit at catcher/DH. We really don't have a DH, unless we play musical chairs and rotate Mauer, Doumit, Parmelee, Morneau between C/1B/RF/DH. That is good. That is...well, we never know what the true line-up will probably be. Or do we? It's a nice luxury to have.

      But that brings us to the bench. We have Escobar and Carroll, two of the same. We have Ramirez and Mastro, one a centerfield backup, which you supposedly need. We are set if Doumit plays every game somewhere. We don't need a Thome, for example. It might be nice if we had a little bit mroe bat, repalcing one of Carroll or Escobar (I would go with Carroll because of age and salary). Olmedo might've been a better choice. A Sean Burroughs who actually still pounds the ball and can play the field and come off the bench would be nice. Inge could've been a longshot choice if the Twins had signed him for peanuts, plus be the third catcher. You eitehr need someone for a bat or someone for defensive purposes. The only reason we have Carroll is because...

      Infield: It doesn't send shudders down my spine. Dozier, Florimon and Plouffe could all be job seekers in 2014. Or they could be place-setters. Or two of them could be long-term (2-3 years) holders of a place on the roster. I want to believe Plouffe was hampered by his thumb at year's end. I want to think Florimon can get on base and cover ALL the ground between bases. I want to think Dozier can hit 10 homers, bat .260, and not strikeout, plus do the pivot and dive for those balls between the other two bases. Replacements for these parts are still at least 2015 away. That is why Carroll is still here, today. He can play any of those positions and give us fielding and get-on-base.

      The Bullpen: Duensing should never stray from relief. Perkins is the closer. Burton, I wouldn't have signed for multi-years. Sorry. He was affordable, but not sure he is on par with Guerrier or Crain from our past. I think he is totally replaceable. The Twins think highly of Wood, they are paying him not to pitch by keeping him on the 40-man. But they can never send him to the minors or they lose him (or he is not worth keeping). Roeinke is a placesetter. Should we have grabbed Rauch, Hawkins, Capps for the same money? He has to get his act together or he is gone. Robertson is here because he is the lefty. He only needs to face 1-3 batters to be effective IF the starters give us the innings. I can actually live with Pressly. He showed he wants to pitch. He may be around for awhile. Casey Fien showed some stuff last year. But the Twins can play musical chairs. Hey, they aren't competing, or so we think. They have Slama, Perdumo, Thielbar, Burnett and a whole host of others to move in an out. Who are the relievers of the future in the system, the short and long guys, the closer heir? You tell me. Tonkin shined. Slama ages. Guerra is injured. You can always sign a middle-relief guy, this year the Twins played cheap.

      So who won't be here in 2014? Pelfry, Swarzak, Fien, Roeinke, Slama, Butera, Mastro, Ramirez, Carroll, DeVries, Walters, Vasquez, Lanigan, Turpen, Sattler, Blackburn, Perdomo, Fryer, Dinkelman, Boggs, Thomas, Clement, Olmeda will all be seeking jobs and probably find a place on some other teams minor league roster. Mastro, Pelfry and Carroll are the only ones that MAY make the majors in 2014.

      Hopefully all will be replaced by very promising talent in 2014, for sure in 2015.
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      I think the Twins will be surprisingly competitive for the first half or so based - say 37-41 - based on strong play from the middle order bats and some decent (compared to last year) starting pitching. But they'll be stuck far behind the Tigers. Ryan will then trade Willingham and Morneau and the Twins will have a horrible second half when some of those pitchers get hurt/struggle - something like 30-54 - and finish 67-95.

      On the plus side, they play September with an outfield of Benson/Hicks/Arcia who all do enough to make fans excited about next year. May also gets a Sept callup. They draft a college arm #4 which helps the fan base, too.
    1. cmathewson's Avatar
      cmathewson -
      First, it's amazing to think how few players are left from the 2011 team that opened the season. If my maths are right, it's just four (Duensing, Perkins, Mauer and Morneau).

      As far as this year goes, I am cautiously optimistic. I think the Twins have improved at several positions over the team that went north last year. Really, all the positions except 2, 3, 7 and 10. I also think the bullpen is better with the subtraction of Capps and Gray and the additions of Fien and Roenicke.

      The rotation is the big question mark. I'm more optimistic than I was last year at this time, especially after the Baker injury. I had little hope for Blackburn or Marquis. I thought Pavano would be OK. I thought Hendriks wasn't ready. Now I'm confident in Diamond, I think Worley will be OK. I think Hendriks is ready. And I like Pelfrey's chances. I am not confident at all about Correia, but with Devries and Deduno ready to step in and with Gibson and Meyer waiting for their chance, I feel the rotation will eventually settle out to be pretty decent.

      I don't think it will be good enough to help the team contend. But I think it will be competitive. I'm betting on 83-79.
    1. jay's Avatar
      jay -
      Quote Originally Posted by cmathewson View Post
      I'm betting on 83-79.
      Sounds like you need to put some money down on the Vegas over/under line!

      I'm hoping for 75... and that feels optimistic.
    1. Mr. Brooks's Avatar
      Mr. Brooks -
      Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
      How do you figure our defense will be better?

      Hicks is great, but Hicks/Parmellee isn't an improvement over Span/Revere. Our middle IF is still bad. Our 3B is still bad.
      I must be in the minority, but I actually think we will see an improved Plouffe this year, defensively.
      I don't think he's ever going to be a great 3B, but I think he'll be right around average, defensively.
      He was playing a new position last year, and as a natural SS, it's not as if he's completely void of defensive skills.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Brooks View Post
      I must be in the minority, but I actually think we will see an improved Plouffe this year, defensively.
      I don't think he's ever going to be a great 3B, but I think he'll be right around average, defensively.
      He was playing a new position last year, and as a natural SS, it's not as if he's completely void of defensive skills.
      Braun started his MLB career at 3B, converted from shortstop, and was so bad he had to be moved to LF.

      I hope Plouffe has better luck
    1. luke829's Avatar
      luke829 -
      As long as we have someone willing to take those head-first dives into first base, everything should be a-ok.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
      Braun started his MLB career at 3B, converted from shortstop, and was so bad he had to be moved to LF.

      I hope Plouffe has better luck
      Braun was also a butcher at every position he ever played whereas Plouffe stuck at short for years and was in the running for a MI spot just last season.
    1. Highabove's Avatar
      Highabove -
      The off season has showed, that the Twins are again operating as a small market team. Most of the low cost moves made for the Big Club are similar to the the moves Ryan made back at the Dome. It Didn't take long, did it.?
    1. DAM DC Twins Fans's Avatar
      DAM DC Twins Fans -
      Quote Originally Posted by jay View Post
      Sounds like you need to put some money down on the Vegas over/under line!

      I'm hoping for 75... and that feels optimistic.
      I am also hoping for 75--feel 72-90 is about right. I think keys are comeback from Pelfrey, limited regression from Diamond and trading Morneau for either a good MI or SP and moving Parmalee to 1B and recalling Benson. I think 2 of 3 may happen--if none do--could be looking at 66 wins.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      Braun was also a butcher at every position he ever played whereas Plouffe stuck at short for years and was in the running for a MI spot just last season.
      In the running only because he ran out of options and we didn't have anyone there remotely deserving to be a starter. He still butchered it...and he's butchered every spot he's been in too...though not as badly as Braun at 3B. Never seen a 3B worse than him on defense.
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