With Vance Worley outrighted and Kyle Gibson seemingly in line to claim the fifth spot in the rotation, the Minnesota Twins' roster is beginning to come into focus.
Based on recent developments, rumblings around camp and general deduction, here's a final stab at projecting the 25 men who will head north in a week when the Twins head to Chicago to open their 2014 season.
As always, names in red are the players who should be considered locks (barring injury) while the names in black are less certain.
Catchers (3): Kurt Suzuki
, Josmil Pinto, Chris Herrmann
I'm not sure this is how it's going to come together, but it is looking like Pinto will make the roster because the Twins need his bat. If Ron Gardenhire elects to plug Pinto in at DH frequently against lefties -- which I think is a good idea -- he'll probably want Hermmann on the roster. Herrmann also provides additional outfield depth, and has performed well this spring.
Infielders (5): Joe Mauer
, Brian Dozier
, Trevor Plouffe
, Pedro Florimon
, Eduardo Escobar
I think Gardenhire would like to have Chris Colabello on the team, but it's going to be tough to fit him along with a third catcher. That might ultimately be one of the tougher choices the manager has to make.
As for Jason Bartlett, it's clear that Gardy wants to keep him but I can't see any way to rationalize a no-hit utility man on the roster in addition to the backup infielder Escobar.
Outfielders (5): Josh Willingham
, Aaron Hicks
, Oswaldo Arcia
, Jason Kubel, Alex Presley
Chris Parmelee is the victim of a roster squeeze, and could be lost because he's out of options. It simply doesn't make sense to carry both Kubel and Parmelee, and all indications are that Kubel is in.
Starting Pitchers (5): Ricky Nolasco
, Phil Hughes
, Kevin Correia
, Mike Pelfrey
, Kyle Gibson
Samuel Deduno is headed to the bullpen, and the final spot in the rotation will go to either Gibson or Scott Diamond. Several signs are pointing to Gibson as the winner in that competition, although the club might not make an official decision until after both hurlers make their final spring appearances on Tuesday.
Bullpen (7): Glen Perkins
, Jared Burton
, Casey Fien
, Brian Duensing
, Anthony Swarzak
, Samuel Deduno
, Scott Diamond
It sounds like Deduno is basically a lock to head to the bullpen, and he'll take on a middle reliever role while Swarzak slides into the later innings. The Twins don't want to risk losing Diamond for nothing, so if he's not the starter they'll probably keep him as a long reliever unless they can swing a trade. Assistant general manager Rob Antony noted on Friday that he doesn't see Diamond as a situational reliever because he isn't especially good against lefties.
Michael Tonkin and Caleb Thielbar are the unlucky victims of circumstance here. Both are good enough, and have pitched well enough this spring, to be viewed as bullpen fixtures, but the Twins don't lose risking them by sending them to Triple-A. It will be nice to have these kind of reinforcements available in Rochester.