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Surprises Mark Twins Opening Day Roster

Reports out of Ft. Myers tell us that the Twins have made their final roster cuts and we know the - at least tentative - Opening Day roster. (Please note that the Twins have not made these moves official yet, so it is subject to some editing if we learn anything more.)
  • Adalberto Mejia is the 5th starter.
  • Tyler Duffey will pitch out of the bullpen.
  • Chris Gimenez will be added to the 40-man roster and be the backup catcher.
  • John Ryan Murphy was optioned.
  • Byungho Park was reassigned to minor league camp. (as were JB Shuck, Matt Hague, Bengie Gonzalez, Ben Paulsen, and Eddy Rodriguez)
  • It is not yet known whether Kennys Vargas has been optioned or whether he'll start the season on the Disabled List.
What does it all mean?
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, Twins Daily
In a strange and surprising decision, the Twins have decided to start the season with 13 pitchers.

Mejia has won the fifth starter job, but Duffey is also on the roster. With two off days in the first nine days of the season, it's an interesting decision to go with 13 pitchers.

It certainly limits Paul Molitor's bench, but then again, it isn't as if there are guys on the roster that will be used as pinch hitters. The core of the lineup is comprised of guys that won't be pinch hit for. But it is limiting, no doubt.

With Park heading to AAA to start the season and Vargas seemingly on the DL, it means that the Twins primary Designated Hitter will be Robbie Grossman (a move I discussed in our forums two weeks ago, and yet am a bit surprised about). If Park was on the 40-man roster, there would be no doubt that he would be on the roster, but since he isn't, many will be very surprised by the decision. He hit over .350 and hit six home runs. Though, as we always remind people, spring training stats don't matter.

So here is the Twins tentative Opening Day roster:

Starting Pitchers:
Ervin Santana
Hector Santiago
Kyle Gibson
Phil Hughes
Adalberto Mejia

Bullpen:
Brandon Kintzler
Matt Belisle
Ryan Pressly
Taylor Rogers
Craig Breslow
Michael Tonkin
Justin Haley
Tyler Duffey
Ryan O'Rourke (DL)

Catchers:
Jason Castro
Chris Gimenez

Infielders:
Joe Mauer
Brian Dozier
Miguel Sano
Jorge Polanco
Eduardo Escobar
Ehire Adrianza (DL)

Outfielders:
Eddie Rosario
Byron Buxton
Max Kepler
Robbie Grossman
Danny Santana

So there you have it. A long, extended (due to WBC) spring training is all-but-complete. We have our tentative Opening Day roster, and the team will soon travel to Minneapolis for Monday's Opening Day.

Why do I keep saying 'tentative Opening Day roster?' It is also likely that Derek Falvey and Thad Levine are fielding phone calls from other teams or agents looking to find roster spots for their players.

In reality, it's possible the roster changes by April 3rd. It's also likely the roster is very different even within the next two or three weeks. In fact, John Bonnes flies out of Ft. Myers today, but he was able to be in the clubhouse this morning where he reported the following after the press met with manager Paul Molitor. Molitor referred to the roster as "short term."



What do you think?

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392 Comments

Well- I'm a bit stunned by the lack of Park and the inclusion of DanSan. But here we are...
    • glunn, Jerr, Mike Frasier Law and 14 others like this
It's almost like they are begging fans not to care and are trying to lose another 100+

Park going to the minors is the most baffling, wtf?

Danny Santana has no real purpose being on the roster and starting the season with 13 pitchers is unheard of.

Does this team have any idea, plan or clue on what they are doing?
    • USAFChief, Jerr, Mike Sixel and 22 others like this
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Deduno Abides
Mar 30 2017 07:35 AM
Wow! To start the season, Duffey's the long man, Haley will be hidden, Mauer is going to play 1B every day, Berrios may be the #6 starter. Within a few weeks, they may need to find roster spaces for Park and Adrianza, and/or Vargas, if he's hitting well. Those will be interesting decisions.
    • Oldgoat_MN, bluechipper, sploorp and 3 others like this
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ChiTownTwinsFan
Mar 30 2017 07:36 AM
So, once Adrianza is off the DL, does he have a spot on the roster? In place of whom?
    • Oldgoat_MN, mikelink45, sploorp and 1 other like this
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Willihammer
Mar 30 2017 07:36 AM
Fingers crossed the Duffman excels out of the pen like he did at Rice.
    • nicksaviking, bluechipper, HitInAPinch and 6 others like this

I guess the plan is to let Park continue to rake against AAA pitching to prove he's not just picking apart low-level, late-inning, spring training guys. I assume Vargas and Park will split DH and 1B duties in Rochester and we'll see one of them sooner than later.

    • gunnarthor, brvama, bluechipper and 5 others like this

 

So, once Adrianza is off the DL, does he have a spot on the roster? In place of whom?

 

My guess is that he isn't guaranteed anything. They'll likely get his oblique healthy and send him out on a full 20-day rehab and see what they see at that time, offensively and defensively. 

    • Loosey, brvama, Deduno Abides and 4 others like this

 

It's almost like they are begging fans not to care and are trying to lose another 100+

Park going to the minors is the most baffling, wtf?

Danny Santana has no real purpose being on the roster and starting the season with 13 pitchers is unheard of.

Does this team have any idea, plan or clue on what they are doing?

I assume there is some hyper, next-level thought process here that none of us are privvy to yet. The notion that Mauer will begin to play a bit less this season takes a nose dive when you realize both of his back-ups are now in Rochester. 

    • Oldgoat_MN, mikelink45, Hosken Bombo Disco and 6 others like this

 

Fingers crossed the Duffman excels out of the pen like he did at Rice.

 

I personally think that's the best spot for him, and he could do very well out there. 

    • LimestoneBaggy, nytwinsfan, Dr. Evil and 6 others like this

Methinks the 25-man looks very, very different by 15 June.

 

And Rochester should have a heckuva team.

    • gunnarthor, TKGuy, Sssuperdave and 4 others like this
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ChiTownTwinsFan
Mar 30 2017 07:39 AM
I think they designed this roster in order to delay decision making on some of the players. And I'm not qualifying that as a bad or good thing ... yet.
    • Blake, gunnarthor, brvama and 14 others like this

 

Danny Santana has no real purpose being on the roster and starting the season with 13 pitchers is unheard of.

Does this team have any idea, plan or clue on what they are doing?

 

They know exactly what they're doing. No doubt about that. And, it's just a short-term thing.

 

Also, when you have this short of a bench, a guy like Santana - even if he's not great in any defensive spot - has value. 

    • Blake, brvama, Dantes929 and 9 others like this
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Hosken Bombo Disco
Mar 30 2017 07:43 AM
Was it Falvey or Levine who said earlier in spring, "we will carry 12 pitchers."

It seemed like a firm decision at the time.
    • Oldgoat_MN, Circus Boy and sploorp like this

 

Methinks the 25-man looks very, very different by 15 June.

 

And Rochester should have a heckuva team.

 

I think it looks a lot different by 15 April.

    • Raven, snepp, Sssuperdave and 2 others like this
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Lenny Green
Mar 30 2017 07:45 AM

Un f-ing believable re: Park.  Easily the best story coming out of spring training.  I'm rooting hard for Falvine, but they peed down their leg on this early decision.  I understand valuing their assets, but you need to come out of the gate with your best foot forward.  I have a trip to Mpls in early April and was looking at attending the Indians game on the 17th-  I'll pass, thank you very much.

    • Oldgoat_MN, bluechipper, sploorp and 2 others like this

 

They know exactly what they're doing. No doubt about that. And, it's just a short-term thing.

 

Also, when you have this short of a bench, a guy like Santana - even if he's not great in any defensive spot - has value. 

Isn't Santana out of options too? It would make sense to give him one last shot early in the year. 

 

Also, does Grossman as DH hint that the analytics side is starting to win out? With his high OBP and horrible defense he's a guy you want in the lineup but not in the field. I'd love to see how he would do in the leadoff or #2 spot. The one thing Grossman does is get on base.

    • DJSim22, MileHighTwinsFan, Sconnie and 3 others like this

 

I personally think that's the best spot for him, and he could do very well out there. 

 

I agree Duffey would do well in the pen, but I suspect he is there as a ready replacement for Hughes.

 

As bad as the bullpen is, rotation is still the main problem, right? Santana and Gibson should be able to get some innings, but Santiago is not exactly stretched out, Hughes is a big question mark and Mejia is a complete wildcard. It could come around, but could be very dicey out of the gate.

    • mikelink45, sploorp, spinowner and 1 other like this
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woolywoolhouse
Mar 30 2017 07:50 AM

So the plan to rest Mauer more early in the season is by carrying no one else as the back-up first baseman? I hope Danny Santana bought a first baseman's glove from Sports Authority's clearance sale last fall.

    • Mike Sixel, gunnarthor, Oldgoat_MN and 10 others like this

This is why you let your front office hire the manager and not force them to keep a guy who lost 100-plus games in 2016.

 

The two need to be on the same page, and as TD tweeted today, this sounds like dysfunction between the manager and the team. 

 

The team keeps Danny Santana. It sent down a guy who led the team in homers and RBIs during spring training. They are keeping old players on the roster at the expense of young guys with more upside. They have 13 pitchers! In April! 

 

Ugh. Two weeks ago I would have told you the Twins would win 75-80 games. This morning I reduced that to 70-75. Now I'm wondering if they'll win 67. I don't think this bodes well at all. 

    • alarp33, gunnarthor, Hosken Bombo Disco and 7 others like this
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Hosken Bombo Disco
Mar 30 2017 07:51 AM

Wow!

To start the season, Duffey's the long man, Haley will be hidden, Mauer is going to play 1B every day, Berrios may be the #6 starter.

Within a few weeks, they may need to find roster spaces for Park and Adrianza, and/or Vargas, if he's hitting well. Those will be interesting decisions.

Good point. Who else plays first?
    • bighat likes this
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birdwatcher
Mar 30 2017 07:51 AM

Leads me to believe they're coming out of the blocks very concerned about short starts from Santiago and Hughes in particular, and aren't ready to trust a couple of the others to give them longer starts either.

    • glunn, gunnarthor, Loosey and 13 others like this

The thing that I'm struggling with on the Park decision is that he struggled with guys who could throw 95 mph heat last year.  By all reports, he has worked on it and made big improvements.  His reward?  Back to the minors.  What kind of a message does that send to him and the rest of the guys in the minors?  Work hard and improve on your weaknesses and you won't be rewarded....but work hard and improve on your weaknesses!

    • glunn, Jerr, Mike Sixel and 9 others like this

I thought Park would make it, but I'm not all that high on Park of Vargas, so I can live with Grossman as the primary DH out of the gate. I bet we see a decent chunk of Sano at DH too.

 

Kepler is probably the backup 1b right?

    • glunn likes this

I would guess Kepler is the backup 1B, yes.

 

13 pitchers, with off days. Must be some kind of stat head nerd geek thing no else has thought of....

    • glunn, Jerr, DaveW and 7 others like this
When Mauer needs a rest they will put Grossman at 1B and DH Danny Santana. My source said they reached out to Jason Tyner but he is firmly retired.
    • glunn, Blake, Mike Sixel and 9 others like this

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