What's Next? (Part 1)
by, 10-18-2012 at 10:30 PM (1264 Views)
As the Twins enter their second straight offseason following 90-plus-loss seasons, I find it really hard to write a "blueprint". There are many directions the club could go to improve their team. Without any real idea which (if any) of those "directions" are feasible, I'm going to break it down into a series that previews upcoming roster moves.
So far this offseason - besides the news that a few coaches wouldn't be returning - the only news has been the re-signings of a handful of six-year free agents. While those announcements may continue to trickle in, I'm going to turn the page to the next (and first) significant moves of the offseason: The outrighting of 40-man flotsam.
The roster plus the use of the 60-day DL means the Twins technically have 42 men on the 40-man roster. Semantics. Players 41 and 42 are both free agents-to-be (Scott Baker and Carl Pavano), so it's really only the other 40 we need to be concerned about.
Each year, between the middle of October and when rosters have to be set in advance of the Rule V draft (mid- to late-November), teams will remove some players from their roster to create wiggle room to sign free agents, add players who will be Rule V eligible and allow for flexibility to add players through the Rule V draft.
So what's next? The Twins taking a look at the guys on the 40-man roster and deciding which guys should stay and which guys should go. "Go" is a general term, though, because many of those guys will clear waivers and be sent outright to Rochester. They'll then be invited to Spring Training. The only difference is that they are not on the roster.
Let's take a look:
I think many will hope that Drew Butera will be removed from the roster. While I don't necessarily agree with that thought, his time wouldn't come until it's time to offer arbitration. Same as Alexi Casilla.
It appears to me that all the other infielders and catchers are safe enough to make it through this first roster cleansing. The outfielders, though, are another story.
There are two names here that I'm sure will be discussed thoroughly - Matt Carson and Darin Mastroianni. Neither player figures much into the Twins plan of 2013, but both offer benefits. Carson offers some pop from the right side of the plate and Mastroianni adds center field depth, solid defense and speed on the basepaths. Both still have options remaining, meaning they could stay on the roster, but play for Rochester - which is needed anyway.
What's not working in their favor, however, is the number of outfielders currently on the 40-man (7) and the need to add Aaron Hicks. While Carson was signed as a minor-league free agent last year, Mastroianni was claimed off waivers from Toronto. To me, that is a suggestion that Carson might be easier to pass through waivers. I also value Mastro's speed and D over Carson's bat. Regardless, I fully believe that one of those outfielders (if not both) will be outrighted off of the roster.
The pitching staff is a little more difficult to predict. Scott Diamond is obviously safe. Liam Hendriks still has room to grow. I feel that Samuel Deduno will get a chance and that P.J. Walters at least did enough to earn a look in Spring Training. Cole DeVries - the Minnesota native he is - probably gets a little more leash.
That leaves Esmerling Vasquez. Vasquez adjusted well to being a starter, but since he's out of options it could benefit the Twins (and Red Wings) for him to be a non-roster invite. The hairy part is that he's been outrighted once before, so he would have the option of becoming a free agent. If the Twins get the feeling that he'd elect free agency - and they want to keep him around - that might be enough to keep him on the roster. Personally, I would take my chances. This opens up a spot for Kyle Gibson.
The bullpen is a crapshoot. There are a lot of younger, newer arms that are taking up roster spots. It's just impossible to draw a clear line between who is worth keeping and who isn't.
I've seen enough of Jeff Manship to risk losing him. Even though he's out of options, I think he'd clear waivers and stay in the organization (if the Twins want him).
Luis Perdomo was a minor-league free agent that didn't exactly close the minor-league door behind him when he came up this year. Knowing what he offers, I'd rather give some other six-year free agents a shot.
I'm not sure how it would work to make a move with Lester Oliveros (who is out recovering from Tommy John surgery), so I'll leave him on.
Deolis Guerra and Carlos Gutierrez are both roster "bubble guys", but for now I'll leave them on as well.
So what's the next bit of Twins news I expect to hear? I expect to read that the Twins are outrighting Matt Carson, Esmerling Vasquez, Jeff Manship and Luis Perdomo. I would imagine that all would clear waivers and head to Rochester with an invitation to Spring Training.
After this happens, the Twins will start adding guys to their 40-man roster. Some guys that will definitely be added are Hicks and Gibson (who I previously mentioned). B.J. Hermsen should also be added. Adrian Salcedo (on his way down) and Josmil Pinto (stock up) are others that may have been in the discussion.