Before tonight's game, the Twins will add Samuel Deduno to their 40 man roster and then their 25 man roster. Most likely, Tim Wood will be put on the 60 day disabled list. Following another poor performance on Thursday, the Twins optioned RHP Vance Worley to AAA Rochester. That leaves an open spot on the 25-man roster and the need for a 5th starter on Monday. So, who will it be?
I present to you the three options with their numbers:
- RHP Kyle Gibson is 3-5 with a 3.25 ERA. In 52.2 innings, he has allowed 46 hits, walked 14 and struck out 46. Opponents are hitting .240 against him.
- RHP PJ Walters is 4-2 with a 3.31 ERA. In 54.1 innings, he has allowed 55 hits, walked 16 and struck out 46. Opponents are hitting .271 against him.
- LHP Andrew Albers is 1-2 with a 2.34 ERA. In 42.1 innings, he has allowed 41 hits, walked 12 and struck out 40. Opponents have hit .255 off of him.
All three have pitched well and a case could be made for each. Quite possibly the biggest advantage for Gibson is his first-round pedigree. However, the bigger disadvantage to Walters and Albers is that they are not on the 40 man roster.
The question often is asked: who could the Twins take off their 40 man roster to make room for either of them? Well, assuming Wood goes on the 60 Day DL, they do not have another player eligible to put there (the DL). So, the team would have to DFA (designate for assignment) someone to make room for Monday's starter.
It's never fun to look at who could be made available for other teams to claim, but if you think Walters or Albers is the right guy, it's an exercise that needs to be done. Here are some candidates:
- Joe Benson - His name has been mentioned as a possible DFA candidate. After an injury-plagued 2012 season, Benson has struggled to keep his batting average above .200 this spring with Rochester. He will be out of options next season, but because of his immense athletic talents, I believe that he would be claimed and lost.
- Drew Butera - The much-maligned backup catcher who plays tremendous defense but can't hit his weight is another name that people mention. He broke his wrist and hasn't played, though he should be getting into games soon. If there is a time that he could go unclaimed, it might be now.
- Cole De Vries - The 28-year-old Minnesotan was on the Opening Day roster, but he went on the disabled list. In his three rehab starts and one Red Wings start, he has really struggled. I think he would clear waivers and could be kept in Rochester.
- Liam Hendriks - Though it appears that the Twins brass has soured on the Australian right-hander, he's just 24 years old and until this year has been terrific at each minor league level. He is now on the Rochester disabled list. There is no question that he would be claimed if made available.
- BJ Hermsen - Last year Hermsen was the Twins minor league starting pitcher of the year, and was very good in 2011 as well. Last year, he got outs and pitched very well in New Britain. This year, after going to big league camp, he was hurt. He has now made a handful of starts and struggled to regain his 2012 form. Although he doesn't have great velocity, he has two option years left, size and smarts. I think he would be claimed, but it might be more 50/50.
- Chris Herrmann - Another is Herrmann. A year ago, or even earlier this spring, I would have said that was crazy. Now I don't think it's quite as unlikely. The Twins have five catchers on the 40 man roster. Joe Mauer and Ryan Doumit aren't going anywhere. Josmil Pinto has proven the team wise in keeping him. Herrmann is off to a slow start in his first AAA season. He can catch. He can play multiple positions and thus gives flexibility. He won't hit for average, but until his slow start, he has generally walked quite a bit and hit some doubles. I think he would be claimed.
- Wilkin Ramirez - With Chris Colabello on the roster, the Twins have a right-handed bat off the bench. However, as the roster is currently set up, Ramirez is the backup centerfielder making it unlikely he would be made available now. I think he would clear waivers if or when they make him available.
So, there are some candidates for removal from the 40 man roster if the Twins believe that PJ Walters or Andrew Albers is the right man to bring up now.
It's been a rough season so far. We are just starting to see some transactions, and I anticipate we will see several more.