Over the next week to ten days, the Twins will have to make some final decisions on their 40 man roster. There will be some tough decisions.
But before we get started, I should point out that it appears that Juan Morillo will now come off of the Twins 40 man roster as he has signed with a team in Japan. I wrote about that possibility here last week when I could come up with only one reason for his addition to the Twins 40 man roster. It appears that the Twins should have temporarily kept Justin Huber on the 40 man roster too as he is close to signing in Japan as well and the Twins may have got some money for him as well.
Technically the Twins have 40 players on their 40 man roster. However, the Twins five internal free agents will come off of the roster unless the Twins decide to sign one of them quickly. There are (too many) rumors about the Twins talking to Orlando Cabrera about playing 2B. That would be horrible, so we can assume that won’t happen. Right? There is also talk of conversations with Scott Boras regarding Joe Crede. Again, I understand some think that would be a good thing. Personally, I am just not a fan of that idea. Carl Pavano would be a solid #4 type of pitcher and the Twins should consider the idea of bringing him back, if the price is right. However, the assumption is that there will be several teams interested in his services, and hence, he probably would not sign quickly. Ron Mahay would make sense if the Twins didn’t have several other left-handers who could either start or be a second lefty reliever. Mike Redmond is a good guy and a good teammate, but bringing him back makes no sense.
So, I will work under the assumption that all five will be off of the 40 man roster, which would put the Twins at 35.
If you checked out the TwinsCentric Offseason GM Handbook (which is still available as an e-book or a print version), there was an article on the 40 man roster called “Nine to Note.” Information was given on nine players that the Twins should consider adding to the 40 man roster. Of those nine players to consider, two of them (David Winfree and Brock Peterson) were not added to the 40 man roster and can become free agents. The Twins can bring them back if they want, but they will not be added to the 40 man roster. And to this point, the only player added to the Twins 40 man roster was Juan Morillo, who was not even considered among the nine. And now I don’t look quite so dumb!
So, let’s get back to this week. Again, the Twins are likely going to be at 35 players on the 40 man roster. If that is the case, there are four spots available. However, are there others that can be removed from the 40 man roster? Last week, Justin Huber was removed. The Twins tried to take Armando Gabino off of the 40 man roster, but in doing so, he was claimed by the Orioles. So as the Twins make these decisions, they will have to consider a couple of things. If the Twins take the player off of the 40 man roster, would they be lost to another organization? Is the player that would be added better (or a better fit for need) than the one who would be removed?
With that, let’s take a look at a few guys that the Twins could consider removing from the 40 man roster:
· Bobby Keppel – in 2009, the Twins saw what Keppel can be. They saw the very good and the saw the very bad, all within his three month stint with the team. Since he is out of options, he would have to make the Twins roster and stay on it, or potentially be lost. With Morillo and Bonser also out of options, and Pat Neshek likely coming back at some point, what are the chances of Keppel making the Twins roster?
· Boof Bonser, Jesse Crain and Pat Neshek – All three are arbitration eligible this year. All three have had injuries and missed time in the last couple of years. All three have experienced big league success. And, I am pretty sure that if taken off the 40 man roster, all three of them would be gone.
· Glen Perkins – It’s hard to imagine that he will be back with the Twins, but can he be traded?
· Drew Butera – Can’t hit. Led International League in Passed Balls, but still known to do a good job of calling games and throwing. Can’t hit. At all. There are a lot of backup catchers around who can throw runners out who will play for $750,000, if the Twins even needed that.
· Alexi Casilla, Matt Tolbert, Steve Tolleson, Nick Punto, Trevor Plouffe – They’re all the same. Play a little defense. Play a couple of positions. Hit once in a while, but not necessarily well. How many backup infielders are needed? Obviously Punto and his $4 million deal aren’t going anywhere. Casilla is out of options. Plouffe is at least young. He is probably the only player who would be lost if left unprotected. He would certainly be claimed.
· Deibinson Romero – He’s all about the tools, apparently. He’s a big guy, strong. And, the reality is that he hasn’t actually produced much since he was in the rookie leagues. He’s 23 already. The tools are all there. The effort has been questioned.
· Luke Hughes – I keep hearing people say that he could be removed. If he is, he would be claimed by the first team who could. He’s not going anywhere.
· Jason Pridie – very good defense. Left-handed bat who refuses to walk. Has some pop in his bat. With Carlos Gomez now gone, the Twins need a 5th outfielder who can play all three outfielders, including centerfield. Other option would be to let him go and sign a veteran outfielder who could pinch hit. Pridie does have one more option year left.
OK, so we started at 35. Will the Twins sign any of those five internal free agents before the 40 man roster is set? How many from the current 40 man roster would you remove?
Now let’s consider the players who would have to be added to the 40 man roster or left subject to the Rule 5 draft. Note that if they are not selected in the Rule 5 draft, they would stay in the organization unless they are six year minor league free agents.
The Obvious Additions:
· Danny Valencia – Whether everyone considers him the 3B of 2010, or the 3B of the Future, or a possible 3B, he has experienced success at each level including AAA. If left unprotected, he would be gone.
· Deolis Guerra – He’s 20. He showed much improved control in 2009. He’s got three potentially big league pitches. He’s had success in AA. Again, this is an easy choice as his potential alone makes him a target for some Rule 5 team.
· Alex Burnett – The Rule 5 is about finding players with either high upside and can be hidden on a roster, or about guys who can contribute to any degree with the big league club. Burnett fits into both categories as he could already contribute to a big league team’s bullpen and he has tremendous upside in a bullpen.
Must Strongly Consider:
· Loek Van Mil – He’s 7-1, and he throws 95-97. He should probably be in the obvious category too. His strikeout numbers don’t shout out at you, but the stuff does. Tall pitchers take a little longer to develop because they need to find their release point. As an international player, you can assume a longer learning curve too. Adding him to the 40 man roster gives three more years to develop. But again, his pitching angle and the velocity make Van Mil a likely choice.
· Rob Delaney – since being signed as a non-drafted free agent out of college in 2006, Delaney has dominated the minor leagues. He gets strikeouts and he walks very few. He struggled some in Rochester, but I think his track record makes him an easy choice. The fact that he could help a big league bullpen today makes him an easy choice. How many bullpen guys will they put on the roster? That’s the only question.
· Steve Singleton – Good glove. Can play 2B, 3B and SS. Can hit 2nd in a batting order, or at the bottom of the order. Can hit for average. Has good power for a middle infielder. Lots of doubles and triples. Is best when he is patient. Can play very good defense.
· Brian Dinkelman – Put up terrific numbers in New Britain. Doubles machine. He is two years older than Singleton. Played a lot of LF once Singleton promoted to AA. That gives him a better chance of being added. Defense is not spectacular either place, but he does make almost all the plays.
Should at least think about:
· Santos Arias – The Dominican righty had a very good year in 2009 in Ft. Myers. Good fastball. Durable. Very good changeup. Has a lot of room to grow.
· Winston Marquez – Left-handed. Young. Throws hard. Good slider. Missed 2008 with injury and Twins were patient with him in 2009.
· Matt Fox – Again, he could pitch in the big leagues, in the back of a bullpen. He could handle it well mentally. And the former #1 pick has been able to get stronger and better each year since coming back from Tommy John surgery. Also, his cutter is very tough on lefties.
Others that are eligible include Juan Portes, Kyle Waldrop, Estarlin de Los Santos, Dustin Martin, Whit Robbins, Ramon Santana, Matt Williams, Brandon Roberts, Ryan Mullins, Frank Mata, Mark Dolenc, Rene Leveret, Jair Fernandez, and Alexander Soto.
Also, Rene Tosoni, David Bromberg and Anthony Slama do not need to be added to the 40 man roster at this time, so they will not be added.
Again, you’re starting at 35 players. You can take a few more off of the 40 man roster. You could quickly sign some of your internal free agents. You will want to add a bunch. Do you want to fill all 40 roster spots, or do you keep one or two open so that you can take a pick or two in the Rule 5 draft. What do you think? What would you do? Send me an e-mail, or leave your Comments below.