Taylor's Twins Talk

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

Friday, March 21, 2008

Morning Cuts

A number of questions were answered this morning with the Twins latest round of cuts -- although for the most part, they weren't the questions that most of us have been waiting for. Still, there were some interesting names on the cut list. Here goes, with some thoughts:

Randy Keisler - LHP - reassigned to minor league camp
This isn't particularly surprising; Keisler was brought in as a potential lefty reliever/swingman starter possibility, but he just wasn't impressive enough to move past the young guns who were in the system before him. I assume that Keisler will be asked to stick around in Rochester in case there's an injury in the bullpen, but I won't be all that disappointed if he's just cut.

Ricky Barrett - LHP - reassigned to minor league camp
Another lefty possibility in the bullpen, Barrett was brought into camp after being removed from the 40-man roster in the offseason. He pitched 6 innings in camp, giving up 3 earned runs on 5 hits while striking out 2 and walking 4. The K/BB ratio wasn't very good, but the other numbers weren't terrible -- just not good enough to really get himself moved into the discussion as a legitimate contender for a spot on the big league roster. Like Keisler, he's a possibility for a mid-season call-up if someone in the bullpen gets hurt.

Tommy Watkins - IF - reassigned to minor league camp
Watkins was brought back into the fold this off-season as a minor league free agent, which I was pleased with because Watkins is a veteran of the Twins minor league system and its nice to see him still around. The question is what role Watkins can legitimately expect to pay in the system this year. I'm sure he'll get a roster spot in Rochester, but how much playing time will he get, and where? The bottom line relating to this cut is that Watkins had an awful spring at the plate (the ordinary caution about small sample size applies), and didn't prove himself to be a legitimate big league candidate. While Watkins made his big league debut last year, I'd be stunned to see him get another callup -- which is really too bad since he hit .357 in 28 big league at-bats before getting hurt.

Randy Ruiz - 1B/OF - reassigned to minor league camp
Ruiz was one of my dark horses throughout camp, because I was intrigued by his minor league numbers and thought he could bring some power to the team off the bench. However, it became apparent throughout the spring that he's -- shall we say -- a bit deficient defensively. He also didn't really fit into what the Twins need to fill out the roster; if they were carrying 11 pitchers, they'd have an extra spot to stash a guy like Ruiz, but with 12 pitchers likely making the roster the team really needs to get the maximum value out of all 13 position player slots. As much as I was rooting for Ruiz, even I recognized that, and I agree with the decision to cut him.

Garrett Jones - 1B/OF - outrighted to AAA Rochester
Jones cleared waivers and has been outrighted off the 40-man roster. This was necessary since Jones was out of options, and so had to make the team or be offered up to other organizations. Of course, it was a pretty safe bet that Jones was going to clear waivers, because he's demonstrated very little potential as a big league player (many fans are fond of pointing out that he has a "long swing"), and he's not getting any younger. Still, he's got a shot to get back onto the roster if he plays well this season in Rochester and the team needs someone with some left-handed power off the bench. La Velle Neal asked an important question, however: where's Jones going to get his playing time, and at who's expense?

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