Taylor's Twins Talk

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

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The State of the Roster

With the glut of information regarding the roster that came out today, it seemed appropriate to offer a summary of where we stand regarding the roster at this point -- especially considering that my next post isn't likely to be until sometime after tomorrow night's game against the Red Sox. So here's how the roster situation pans out, as I see it (with some help from the Strib and the Twins website):

1.) The one decision that will impact everything else that happens with the final two roster spots (5th starter and 25th man) is the decision on Carlos Silva. If Silva wins the 5th starter job (ok, forget about winning it . . . if Silva is HANDED the 5th starter job), then things get very interesting, because Matt Garza would be sent down to start the season in AAA, and the Twins would have to decide between J.D. Durbin, Josh Rabe, and Chris Heintz for the last roster spot. If Silva DOESN'T get named the fifth starter, then things get really easy: the Twins will use Garza as the fifth starter, Silva as the 12th man out of the bullpen, waive J.D. Durbin, and send Heintz and Rabe down.

2.) Assuming that Silva wins the 5th starter job, the Twins will then have to decide between Durbin, Rabe, and Heintz. Heintz has had a very solid spring, Rabe a pretty good spring, and Durbin has been horrible. However, the Twins can send Rabe and Heintz down without exposing them to waivers, while Durbin would probably be gone if he doesn't make the team. That means the decision really comes down to: (1) are the Twins willing to carry 12 pitchers, and (2) is Durbin worth keeping around? While I had high hopes for Durbin, and still think there's a chance that he could win the job, I have to confess that I think it makes sense to let him go at this point. Nothing is going to change in the 3 weeks or so until Lew Ford comes back, and the team seems determined to give him another shot at the Major League level, so another crossroads with Durbin would be met at that time. The Twins can't afford to have an essentially dead roster spot if they plan on competing for the AL Central crown. Sadly, then, I have to give in and suggest that Durbin should (and probably will) be waived.

3.) That leaves a decision between Rabe and Heintz if Silva wins the 5th starter job, and the logic behind keeping Heintz seems pretty solid. With Joe Mauer's recent injury scare, the Twins are interested in starting him a bit at DH semi-regularly at the beginning of the season. That means even more games in which Mike Redmond would be the only available catcher, and Gardy doesn't like that. Heintz provides a nice fix, with the bonus of being able to play 3B if needed. Rabe provides a nice boost off the bench, but doesn't fill as much of a need as Heintz does. All things, then, point to Heintz winning a spot on the roster if the Twins keep Silva in the rotation to start the season (which seems fairly likely).

I expect final decisions on the roster to be made sometime on Thursday after Silva's last start of the spring, or on Friday morning after The Powers That Be have a chance to think it over.

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