Taylor's Twins Talk

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

Friday, March 14, 2008

Cuts -- Round Two

Right on schedule, the Twins trimmed some more fat off of their spring roster. While none of the cuts was tremendously surprising to me, there was at least one that disappointed some fans (more on that in a second!). This post is simply going to cover my thoughts on the players who were cut, and I'll also give some ideas on who could be next. Incidentally, if you're looking for notes on today's game (and yesterday's, which I haven't discussed yet), I'll be posting something later tonight. Now, onto the cuts:

Julio DePaula - RHP - optioned to AAA
DePaula, who made his big league debut last season in a rather forgetful stint with the Twins, was in camp solely because he's on the 40-man roster. He actually put together a solid spring, giving up just 2 runs and 5 hits in 6 innings of work -- but DePaula was never a legitimate candidate to make the team. The Twins have, at best, just one available spot in the bullpen (and that's assuming they take 12 pitchers north), and that almost certainly will go to a lefty or a veteran. Still, it never hurts to have a good spring, and now DePaula can start working on getting ready for Rochester's season.

Bobby Korecky - RHP - optioned to AAA
Korecky is in a similar position to DePaula in that he was only in camp because he's on the 40-man roster, and he also fits the same niche as DePaula, meaning he was pretty much fated for an option as soon as the spring started. Still, Korecky also had a good spring (albeit in very limited action -- 0 runs in 3 innings of work), and like I said earlier that can't hurt. Now that he's on the 40-man roster (he was added in November), he's got a chance to make his big league debut at some point this season. Now just wasn't his time.

Mariano Gomez - LHP - reassigned to minor league camp
I was pushing for Gomez to be cut prior to the first round of cuts, but the Twins kept him around. He proceeded to continue pitching unimpressively, and now he's out of camp. Gomez was always a long shot to make the team, but because he's a lefty he at least was in a more preferable position than DePaula or Korecky were coming in. Of course, when you give up 6 runs on 7 hits (3 of which left the park) in 5 innings, you pretty much remove yourself from consideration. I won't particularly miss Gomez -- there are other, better options for the position that he was competing for. Maybe he'll get a chance in the minors to prove that he can be an asset for the organization.

Alexi Casilla - IF - optioned to AAA
Here's the most controversial of today's cuts. With the struggles of Nick Punto and Brendan Harris as they fight for the second base job, many fans were pointing at the speedy and young Casilla and shouting "that's our guy!" I didn't jump on this bandwagon, mostly because I didn't think it was realistic -- the Twins are going to keep Punto and Harris on the roster no matter what happens, and while both could have made the team as backup infielders with Casilla as the starter at 2B, I just didn't see it happening. More problematic, though, is what I've read about Casilla's attitude from the beat writers. He still apparently hasn't developed a big league mentality, and Gardy doesn't accept that from his players. Aside from all that, Casilla hasn't exactly blown away the competition with his performance this spring, either -- he's hitting .250, with 5 hits in 20 AB's, but none of this hits went for extra bases and it sounds as if several of them weren't particularly well hit. I'm still enthusiastic about Casilla's future, but honestly I think Punto or Harris would be a better choice at 2B to start the season.

Matt Macri - IF - optioned to AAA
Macri went 3-for-15 this spring, as he waged a long-shot battle to claim a spot as a backup infielder (or an even longer-shot battle to try to become the starting 2B, depending on how you look at things). He's more than likely going to be the starting 3B in Rochester this season, and that should be more than enough for him. A solid season will give him a shot in the bigs in the future, but there didn't seem to be a lot of reasons to keep Macri around camp any longer this year.

Chris Basak - IF - reassigned to minor league camp
Basak went 4-for-14 this spring, but he had no shot to make the team after being removed from the 40-man roster during the off-season. I'm still not sure why the Twins felt the need to claim Basak off waivers from the Yankees last season, but here he is nonetheless. There's not much more to say about Basak, really -- he was a warm body in camp for the early part of spring, and this cut is completely unsurprising.

Howie Clark - IF - reassigned to minor league camp
Ditto what I said about Basak being a warm body. Clark went 3-for-16 on the spring and was used in a number of roles, but the veteran journeyman probably could have hit .500 and not made the team. I'm hopeful that the Twins decide to let Clark go rather than giving him a minor league roster spot, but we'll see what happens at the end of the spring. I have a sinking feeling that he'll get some playing time for Rochester this season.

Who's Next?
Tommy Watkins and Matt Tolbert remain in camp, and while Tolbert may stick around beyond the next round of cuts, Watkins should be gone soon -- he's had a horrid spring. LHP Ricky Barrett also remains in camp, despite having virtually no chance of making the team (although he's had an OK spring). The Twins will also want to start whittling down a couple of the starter candidates who are at the bottom of the list -- Randy Keisler and maybe Kevin Mulvey are likely to go before too long. While any number of other players could be cut at any time, the names I've listed above are those who I would be most comfortable saying are likely to leave soon.

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  • At Fri Mar 14, 09:57:00 PM , Blogger WV said...

    Pretty much agree with these sentiments. You can address this here or in your next post, but I'd like to get your thoughts on the possibility of Humber making the rotation. I haven't paid a lot of attention to his Spring appearances, but has he started and/or faced good competition yet?

  • At Fri Mar 14, 10:26:00 PM , Blogger JST said...

    I'll address Humber in my post covering the last couple of games, and in more depth in Sunday's Roster Projection post. It's an interesting question -- I've been very pleasantly surprised by Humber's performance so far this season, because I didn't really view him as a guy who could beat out the Slowey/Perkins/Blackburn group.


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