La Velle E. Neal III has covered baseball for the Star Tribune since 1998 (the post-Knoblauch era). Born and raised in Chicago, he grew up following the White Sox and hating the Cubs. He attended both the University of Illinois and Illinois-Chicago and began his baseball writing career at the Kansas City Star. He can be heard occasionally on KFAN radio, lending his great baseball mind to Paul Allen and other hosts. Mark Rosen borrows him occasionally for WCCO-TV.

Twins add four players to 40-man roster

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: November 20, 2013 - 3:49 PM

The Twins have added first baseman Kennys Vargas, infielder Jorge Polanco, outfielder Max Kepler and lefthander Logan Darnell to their 40-man roster, which had to be submitted to the league today.

They also outrighted righthander B.J. Hermsen off the 40-man, giving the Twins 39 players on the roster. This gives them flexibility to add a player through a trade, free agency or the Rule 5 draft. The Twins like being active on Rule 5 draft day, having selected Ryan Pressly last year and Scott Diamond a few years ago.

Players who are eligible to be placed on the 40-man roster - but are not - are eligible to be selected in the Rule 5 draft at the winter meetings next month. Righthanders A.J. Achter and Alex Wimmers are among the players who fall in this category.

Vargas, Polanco, Kepler and Darnell will report to the major league camp in February. Twins pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report on Sunday, Feb. 16, with their first workout slated for Monday, Feb. 17. The balance of the squad is scheduled to report on Friday, Feb. 21, with full-squad workouts beginning on Saturday, Feb. 22.

Also, the Twins signed several players to minor league contracts with an invite to spring training: Right-handed pitchers Deolis Guerra and Lester Oliveros; left-handed pitcher Aaron Thompson; outfielders Jermaine Mitchell, Chris Rahl and Wilkin Ramirez; infielders Jason Bartlett, James Beresford, Doug Bernier and Deibinson Romero; and catcher Dan Rohlfing. Right-handed pitcher Virgil Vazquez was also signed to a minor league contract.

WHY NOT SANO?!?!?!?!?!?!?

Some fans might wonder why uberprospect Miguel Sano was left off the roster. The answer is simple. He's not eligible to be added, so it doesn't make sense to.

Fans might come back with: ``But didn't he sign the same year as Kepler and Polanco? Why are they on the 40-man and he's not. Huh? huh? Riddle me that!!!!''

Well, Polanco and Kepler were signed as 16 year olds in July of 2009, making them eligible. Sano didn't sign until October because of questions about his age - after the season. So he's wasn't eligible to be added. He could come to camp as a spring training invite and play well enough to force the Twins to add him to the roster and take him north.

ABOUT THE ADDITIONS

Darnell: Went 6-6, 2.61 at New Britain then went 4-4, 4.26 at Rochester. Throws in the low 90's with a solid slider. Part of the U of Kentucky gang with Alex Meyer and Andrew Albers.

Vargas: I've watched him lose weight and add strength in recent years as he's on the project's path to the majors. The switch hitter batted .267 with 19 homers and 93 RBI at Class A Fort Myers last season.

Polanco: Hit .308 at Class A Cedar Rapids last season as the Twins have been pleasantly surprised by the development with the bat. Will start at shortstop this season, getting a chance to prove he can stick at the position. Signed for $750,000 the same year Kepler and Sano got all the headlines.

Kepler: Twins signed him for $775,000 out of Germany and have watched him fill out nicely. Got a late start this season because of a strained elbow and struggled some at Cedar Rapids, batting .237 with 9 homers and 40 RBI in 61 games. Then he hit .234 in 18 games during the Arizona Fall League. He needs a big season but remains one of the better prospects in the system. Still an outfielder but will work at first base some in 2014.

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