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?