Spring Roster Update #1
At the end of the list of players, I'll offer some brief comments explaining my choices. You should remember that this list does not represent the list of players who I would take north if I could at the end of Spring, but rather the players who I think will win jobs.
One final note: the 25th spot on the roster could go either to a 12th pitcher or a 14th position players. As a result, that position will appear at the end of the list, with both pitchers and position players who could win the position listed.
POSITION - ROSTER SPOT - PLAYER
Starting Pitcher - 1 - Francisco Liriano
Starting Pitcher - 2 - Scott Baker
Starting Pitcher - 3 - Livan Hernandez
Starting Pitcher - 4 - Boof Bonser
Starting Pitcher - 5 - Kevin Slowey
Closer - 6 - Joe Nathan
Setup - 7 - Pat Neshek
Bullpen - 8 - Matt Guerrier
Bullpen - 9 - Juan Rincon
Bullpen - 10 - Dennys Reyes
Bullpen - 11 - Jesse Crain
Possible alternates listed under Roster Spot #25
Catcher - 12 - Joe Mauer
First Base - 13 - Justin Morneau
Second Base - 14 - Nick Punto
Third Base - 15 - Mike Lamb
Shortstop - 16 - Adam Everett
Left Field - 17 - Delmon Young
Center Field - 18 - Carlos Gomez
Right Field - 19 - Michael Cuddyer
Designated Hitter - 20 - Jason Kubel
Backup Catcher - 21 - Mike Redmond
Allan de san Miguel
Utility Infielder - 22 - Brendan Harris
Utility Infielder - 23 - Alejandro Machado
Backup Outfielder - 24 - Craig Monroe
Miscellaneous Reserve - 25 - Carmen Cali
Starting Pitchers: The five I've put down seem like the most obvious choices for the rotation, but there's always the possibility of a surprise (especially with so many candidates). The most obvious opportunity for someone unexpected to make the rotation would probably be in place of Francisco Liriano, who might be sent to Rochester for a bit of a rehab stint if the team doesn't feel he's ready to jump right back into the big league rotation. A second lefty would be a nice addition to the rotation (but who would that second lefty replace?), and I'd like to see Glen Perkins get a chance to start at some point -- although he has a chance to make the team as a second lefty out of the bullpen as well. Incidentally, Scott Baker and Brian Bass are out of options, and so must make the team or be exposed on waivers.
Relief Pitchers: The six players listed are locks to make the bullpen barring an injury or trade. The only question is whether or not the Twins will decide to carry 11 or 12 pitchers. Various quotes from Ron Gardenhire suggest that 12 pitchers is very likely, and this makes sense because of the youth of the starters. Since a second lefty seems the most pressing concern for the bullpen, I'm listing Carmen Cali as the likely 25th man on the roster -- although as I mentioned above I think Glen Perkins could end up filling that role as well. Cali is out of options, however, and that may influence the Twins decision on who to select.
Infield: The only major question at the starting infield positions is at second base, where I've listed Nick Punto as the starter. In a very real sense, it doesn't matter whether I have Punto listed as the starting second sacker or not, because he's going to make the team either in that role or as a utility infielder -- and if he's not the starter, by far the most likely alternative is Brendan Harris. As a result, both players should be on the team, so as I said before exactly which roster spot I have them listed in is irrelevant. Since that gets us to five infielders, there's one spot left. I've listed Alejandro Machado in that position, but that's really just a placeholder, and I expect it to change over the course of the spring. If I had my way, they'd probably take a more traditional corner infielder like Brian Buscher or Randy Ruiz in that position.
Outfield: Carlos Gomez seems to be the best fit in center, but Denard Span and Jason Pridie will compete for that position as well. Craig Monroe will be given every opportunity to win the backup outfielders spot, but with Jason Kubel on the team as the DH, it might make more sense to let Monroe go and take a player like Pridie or Span north to serve as a backup centerfielder and to provide some speed off the bench.
Labels: 2008 Roster Projection