Taylor's Twins Talk

Focusing on the Twins, with a few ramblings on other things that catch my attention

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Major Roster Moves

I slept in this morning (it's spring break around these parts) and woke up to the announcement that some major cuts had been made this morning. While some of them were routine (you mean Brad King wasn't in the running for a roster spot?), some of them were so surprising as to constitute a genuine shock.

First, here's the list courtesy of La Velle E. Neal at the Strib:

Mike Venafro - LHP
Matt LeCroy - DH/1B
Brad King - C
Tommy Watkins - IF
Glenn Williams - 1B/3B

The shocker is, of course, Venafro. With the self-destruction of J.D. Durbin over his last two appearances, and with Venafro's 0.00 ERA, it looked like a pretty sure bet that the Twins were going to go with Venafro as the 12th guy on the pitching staff. On the positive side, Venafro likes the organization and seems at least to be considering the possibility of accepting an assignment in Rochester rather than electing free agency as Randy Choate did. While he probably wouldn't have a hard time hooking on with another team, at this point in the spring it would probably be a pretty bad team. Venafro might prefer going to Rochester and staying in the Twins organization in hopes that a spot opens up later in the season, allowing him to pitch for a contender. We'll find out fairly soon.

Matt LeCroy looked terrible for most of the spring, and he really shouldn't have been in camp as long as he was. About 2 weeks in it was clear that he just doesn't have the bat speed to be an effective major league hitter any longer. I suggested when the Twins signed him that this might be the prelude to a retirement (and possibly a career coaching) -- it will be interesting to see whether the Twins offer him a minor league roster spot, or if LeCroy does indeed hang 'em up.

King, Watkins, and Williams were all pretty much just filling spots on the roster. None had a legitimate chance of making the team (although at one point fairly early in the spring I had suggested that Watkins might be a better choice than Luis Rodriguez for the backup middle infielder spot -- Tommy proved me very wrong on that one).

By my count, this leaves Matt Garza, Chris Heintz, and Josh Rabe in camp on the outside looking in, assuming that Carlos Silva gets the 5th starter slot and J.D. Durbin gets the 25th roster spot. Garza and Rabe could still easily end up slotting in. Incidentally, if anyone knows who the 29th guy in camp is, please let me know . . . my count has been one off from the major media count for most of the spring.

Who's going to get that last spot? Honestly, I still think it's J.D. Durbin. La Velle says there is no way that it's going to be J.D., and that because Durbin has pitched so poorly this spring he might even clear waivers. I have to respectfully disagree. Durbin is a notoriously slow starter, and I imagine there are still a fair number of executives who think he could be helpful down the road. You can't tell me the Washington Nationals or Kansas City Royals couldn't find a place for him somewhere. The Twins basically are down to choosing between Durbin or Rabe, and I think they'll take Durbin and give him until Lew Ford gets healthy to increase his value, and then try to spin him off in a trade.

The other alternative, which I think is very bad, would be to have both Matt Garza and Carlos Silva on the team, one as the 5th starter and one as the 12th pitcher. This makes no sense to me, even if Garza were the one starting. Garza needs to be starting, either at the Major or Minor league levels. Considering how the Twins handled the Alexi Casilla situation, I think they understand that . . . then again, they did keep Francisco Liriano around last year in a very similar situation to be used out of the bullpen. At the time, however, there were no other lefties in the 'pen, so the situation was a bit different.

The roster should be set soon, and it will be interesting to see which direction the Twins decide to go.

Labels: , ,


  • At Tue Mar 27, 11:21:00 AM , Blogger Marty said...

    I'll just throw this out there; maybe they will do nearly the same thing to Garza that they did to Liriano last year: start in the bullpen and keep his IP down until the point Aaron Gleeman has a hernia and then they throw Garza into the rotation.

  • At Tue Mar 27, 01:45:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I am not sure what La Velle's source on Venafro is, but its off. Venafro will get opportunities and who wouldn't want somebody with his numbers this spring. Venafro is not going to wait around and I don't blame him. Keeping Durbin and cutting Venafro.... Somebody please show me the logic. Venafro is not going to stay unless they offer him more money to stay in the minors. 60K or 400K? Venafro is smarter than you average athlete and is a double major out of James Madison University and you don't have to be that smart. I love the Twins but I wouldn't stay if I were Venafro and I wish Gardy and friends didn't make such an irrational move.

  • At Tue Mar 27, 01:59:00 PM , Blogger JST said...

    We'll find out pretty quickly whether Venafro chooses to stick around or not. While Venafro would clearly have been the superior option to Durbin if the Twins go with 12 pitchers, don't forget that the Twins have an excellent bullpen and don't really want to go with 12 guys. My guess is that when Lew Ford is ready, they'll drop to 11. There's a lot more going on here than just "Venafro or Durbin." In other words, as irrational as this seems up front, I don't think it's as crazy as it seems.

  • At Tue Mar 27, 02:22:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    The Twins are still counting Francisco Liriano on their ST roster as he has not been put on the DL yet.

  • At Tue Mar 27, 02:57:00 PM , Blogger JST said...

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • At Tue Mar 27, 02:59:00 PM , Blogger JST said...

    Actually, they put him on the 60-Day DL on March 24. You can get confirmation on the ESPN transaction page, but the Trib has it as well, and I posted on it awhile back. I'm confused as to why you brought his up here, though, because it doesn't seem relevant to the discussion at hand . . .


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home