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In one week, the Twins will travel to Atlanta to take on the Braves in two exhibition games leading to Opening Day next weekend. They will likely bring a bunch of extra players, and who knows, they may even have a roster decision or two yet to make. The season is fast approaching, and although most of the jobs on the roster are pretty well set, the Twins still have a lot of players in camp battling for one or two more spots.
Let's start with the givens. Who will be on the roster (assuming health and no trades)?
So there are 22 spots that are essentially accounted for. As you can see, I have included Dusty Hughes in the 'given' category, although I acknowledge that some may not find that to be the case. We have 12 hitters and 10 pitchers that are givens. The Twins will most likely go to Opening Day with a roster consisting of 13 hitters and 12 pitchers. (Again, that is not a given. They could go with 14 hitters and 11 pitchers, although that is unlikely.)
There are still a lot of players in camp. Obviously some of them have a better chance to make the Twins roster than others, but the fact that they are still there must mean something, right? Today I will take a look at who is still in spring training without a 'given' roster spot.
Summary - Joe Mauer and Drew Butera will be the Twins catchers. If Butera gets hurt, there are three really solid options to backup Joe Mauer. If Joe Mauer gets hurt, it is a little scary, but that is always the case when a top player gets hurt.
Summary - The utility spot is between Hughes and Tolbert. When Punto signed with the Cardinals, many believed that Tolbert was the given to be the utility infield spot, although Trevor Plouffe might get a shot. Plouffe has already been sent to minor league camp, and it is Hughes who has taken Ft. Myers by storm. Bailey is worth watching in Rochester because he can be a right-handed power bat off the bench. He also could play into the Opening Day roster thoughts if Justin Morneau can't play every day and Michael Cuddyer is also unable to contribute.
Summary - The outfield is set. Jason Repko is the 4th outfielder. Jason Kubel can play the corners adequately as well. If there was an injury to Delmon Young or Denard Span, Ben Revere would be the guy called up. Dinkelman will go to Rochester and can hit in the 2-spot or down in the order.
Summary - Carl Pavano, Francisco Liriano, Brian Duensing, Nick Blackburn and Scott Baker. Baker was named to the starting spot just this morning. Kevin Slowey goes to the bullpen... or he could be traded as those rumors haven't totally disappeared either. Kyle Gibson and David Bromberg will be in Rochester awaiting an opportunity.
Summary - With Pat Neshek now with the Padres, the Twins are at 39 on the 40 man roster. Does that mean that Waldrop or Gutierrez could get added to the 40 man roster so that they can be on the 25 man roster? Not necessarily. Interestingly, the Diamond situation will be resolved this week in some manner. The Twins will have to make a decision on Perkins. There are two spots open, and assuming that Hughes is a given, those two spots can but do not need to include a left-hander.
Overall Summary -
For the one hitter spot, Matt Tolbert and Luke Hughes appear to be neck and neck, with Jeff Bailey being an option only depending upon the Morneau and Cuddyer situations (in which case the 14 hitters/11 pitchers scenario may be required.)
For the two bullpen spots, it would appear that Glen Perkins has the best shot due to being out of options. I kind of think, at this point, that the Twins will either work out a trade with the Braves, or offer him back to Atlanta. I would say that Jeff Manship, Kyle Waldrop and Jim Hoey are all pretty evenly matched.
So, what do YOU think will (or should) happen?
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