Taylor's Twins Talk

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

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Spring Roster Update #6

We're down to the final week of spring training, so this is the penultimate roster update. Next Sunday I should be able to post a final version that has the complete 25-man roster, and I'll look back and see how I did with my projections from the earliest roster update at that time. As before, players listed in black are projected to make the opening day roster. Players who still have a chance to get on the roster will be listed in blue beneath the roster spot that they could win, and players who frankly shouldn't be in camp anymore because they have no shot of winning a spot will be listed in red. Movement from last week's roster update will be indicated with a "+" (for moving up), a "-" (for moving down), or an "=" (for staying put).

My standard disclaimer applies: these are not necessarily the 25 players who I would put on the roster to start the season, but are rather the guys who I think are most likely to make the roster. Comments on player movement are below the list of players.


Starting Pitcher - 1 - Johan Santana (=)
Starting Pitcher - 2 - Ramon Ortiz (=)
Starting Pitcher - 3 - Sidney Ponson (+)
Starting Pitcher - 4 - Boof Bonser (=)
Starting Pitcher - 5 - Carlos Silva (-)
Matt Garza (=)
Closer - 6 - Joe Nathan (=)
Setup - 7 - Juan Rincon (=)
Bullpen - 8 - Pat Neshek (=)
Bullpen - 9 - Dennys Reyes (=)
Bullpen - 10 - Jesse Crain (=)
Bullpen - 11 - Matt Guerrier (=)

Catcher - 12 - Joe Mauer (=)
First Base - 13 - Justin Morneau (=)
Second Base - 14 - Luis Castillo (=)
Third Base - 15 - Nick Punto (=)
Shortstop - 16 - Jason Bartlett (=)
Left Field - 17 - Rondell White (=)
Center Field - 18 - Torii Hunter (=)
Right Field - 19 - Michael Cuddyer (=)
Designated Hitter - 20 - Jason Kubel (=)
Backup Catcher - 21 - Mike Redmond (=)
Chris Heintz (=)
Brad King (=)
Corner Infielder - 22 - Jeff Cirillo (=)
Glenn Williams (=)
Middle Infielder - 23 - Luis Rodriguez (+)
Tommy Watkins (=)
Backup Outfielder - 24 - Jason Tyner (=)

Mis. Reserve - 25 - J.D. Durbin (=)
Mike Venafro (=)
Josh Rabe (+)
Matt LeCroy (-)

Lew Ford (Injury)
Ken Harvey (Injury)
Gil Velazquez (Minor League Camp)
Korey Feiner (Minor League Camp)
Jeff Christy (Minor League Camp)
Jose Morales (Minor League Camp)
Jose Mijares (Optioned to AA)
Tristan Crawford (Minor League Camp)
Julio DePaula (Optioned to AAA)
Ricky Barrett (Optioned to AAA)
Brad Voyles (Minor League Camp)
Errol Simonitsch (Optioned to AAA)
Alexander Smit (Optioned to High A)
Oswaldo Sosa (Optioned to AA)
Glen Perkins (Optioned to AAA)
Scott Baker (Optioned to AAA)
Jeremy Cummings (Minor League Camp)
Kevin Slowey (Optioned to AAA)
Alejandro Machado (Injured)
Alexi Casilla (Optioned to AAA)
Denard Span (Optioned to AAA)
Garrett Jones (Optioned to AAA)
Randy Choate (Elected Free Agency)
Carmen Cali (Minor League Camp)
Jason Miller (Minor League Camp)

The starting pitching situation is a mess, largely thanks to the complete egg laid by Carlos Silva yesterday against the Pirates. The Twins had been setting him up to be the #2 starter in the rotation, not because they thought he was the second best starter on the team but because they wanted to keep him separated from Sidney Ponson since both are sinkerballers. I still think he's going to make the rotation, but I think he's going to start out as the fifth starter, and the Twins are going to skip him whenever possible. It's very plausible that he won't be a Twin past mid-May if not before. Ron Gardenhire said yesterday that Boof Bonser deserved to be the Twins #2 starter, and I agree -- unfortunately, the "Boof is fifth" plan put into effect about a week ago will make it difficult to get him into line to start second. He can stay on perfect rest and be the #4 starter, and that would put him in position to start the first game of the White Sox series, which I'd be fine with. I think it makes too much sense not to do. That would mean Ramon Ortiz would slot in the #2 position, and Sidney Ponson in the #3. Matt Garza is the last man standing on the outside and looking in -- and if Carlos struggles again in the middle of this week, he could very well find himself on the opening day roster.

The bullpen once again has no question marks.

The starting position players and backup catcher, corner infield and outfield spots have once again not changed.

The backup middle infield position has fallen to Luis Rodriguez virtually by default thanks to Alejandro Machado's injury. Machado has been placed on the 15-day DL, and the last man standing to challenge Rodriguez is Tommy Watkins -- who is hitting somewhere in the neighborhood of .087.

Finally, there's that mysterious 25th roster spot. Mike Venafro continues to put up solid numbers while J.D. Durbin struggled a bit this week. Nevertheless, I'm still predicting that Durbin will get the nod when the season starts as the Twins try to figure out what to do with him. Whether Durbin or Venafro makes the team, another decision will have to be made as soon as Lew Ford is recovered from his knee surgery, because the Twins seemingly want him on the roster. Josh Rabe has moved ahead of Matt LeCroy in my book in terms of position players who could get that spot, but both of the pitchers just mentioned are more likely to make the team than either Rabe or Matt LeCroy who is probably on his way to being released by the team.

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  • At Sun Mar 25, 12:23:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    NOTE: I thought the Twins originally said they wanted to add a lefty to the pen at the start of the spring. If Venafro is not on the roster; it will result in loosing him to another team that has a spot for him on the major league roster and rightly so. Do the Twins really want to loose Venafro to Durbin? They will loose any left-handed backups they have. Choate is already gone. The other left handers are not ready. Then we could loose Venafro too if they assign him to Rochester. If Reyes gets hurt the Twins are screwed. Statistically from the past and this spring, it makes no sense at the moment to take Durbin over Venafro. However the Twins may have invested more money in Durbin. Regardless, this next week should be very interesting.

  • At Sun Mar 25, 12:38:00 PM , Blogger JST said...

    Here's the situation as I see it: Mike Venafro could choose to become a free agent like Randy Choate if he were cut from camp, but I think he'd be just as likely to take the minor league assignment. It's late in camp, there's no guarantee he'd get a job elsewhere, and the Twins like what they've seen from him. As a result, while they COULD lose him, I don't think they WOULD lose him.

    The other problem, though, is going to be with what happens when Lew Ford comes back. Whether they keep Venafro or Durbin on the roster at the beginning, they're still going to have to make a decision at that time (probably about 3 or 4 weeks from now), and that's not going to be any easier.

    You're absolutely right that it's going to be an interesting week.


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