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Article: Can The Twins Have An Elite Bullpen In 2016?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:52 AM
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Article: Looking Back: Twins 40-Man Roster Additions

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Roster Shuffle: Twins Add Guerrier, What's Next?

Following the Minnesota Twins’ 4-3 loss in Cleveland on Wednesday night, the team announced that Logan Darnell was being optioned to Rochester and former Twins reliever Matt Guerrier was being added to the 25 man roster. At the same time, they acknowledged that on Thursday the team will make the corresponding 40 man roster move to make room for the 35-year-old right-hander.

Logan Darnell certainly made a strong impression in his major league debut on Tuesday night in Cleveland when he came out of the bullpen and threw three perfect innings. He even hit 95 MPH on the radar gun once or twice. He will return to the starting rotation in Rochester where he was named the Twins Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month of April just last week.

Guerrier made his major league debut with the Twins in 2004. He made two starts and seven relief appearances that year. He was a very solid, consistent performer out of the Twins bullpen through the 2010 season. In that time, he went 19-25 with a 3.38 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP. He pitched in long relief for two years before being given more high-leverage situations. His final four seasons with the Twins (2007-2010), he pitched in no less than 73 games. He led the league in games pitched in 2008 (76) and 2009 (79). He has pitched in 393 games for the Twins, which ranks fifth on the Twins all-time list.

Attached Image: Matt Guerrier (2).jpg

Following that 2010 season, Guerrier became a free agent and signed a three-year, $12 million deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers. After throwing in 70 games in 2011, he pitched in just 16 games for the team in 2012. He pitched in 34 more games for the Dodgers in 2013 before being traded to the Cubs to end the season. Injuries caught up to him after all of those healthy years with the Twins. So, last offseason, the Twins signed Guerrier to a minor league contract. When he was not going to make the opening day roster, the team let him go. However, he agreed to re-sign with the Twins and go to the minor leagues. However, his opt-out date was May 8th, today. For those that haven't been following this, that is why this decision needed to be made.

Let’s get back to the remaining question at hand. How will the Twins make room on the 40 man roster for Guerrier? In my mind, there a four to six players currently on the 40 man who could find their names on the transactions list on Thursday. Let’s take a look.

Edgar Ibarra – The 25-year old lefty had a terrific 20013 season between the New Britain Rock Cats and the Rochester Red Wings. He is left-handed and he throws 93 to 95 mph. He also has a very good slider. That said, he missed most of spring training (which was his first with the big league club) because he had contracted hepatitis. He has pitched in just eight games for the Red Wings this season and has nine walks and eight strikeouts in 11 innings (to go with 15 hits allowed). If teams look at statistics, there is little chance that he would be claimed. If they look at scouting reports, it is possible he would be lost.

Brooks Raley – The Twins claimed Brooks Raley as spring training was about to begin when the Cubs designated him for assignment. The left-hander, who spent limited time with the Cubs the last two seasons, was among the first round of cuts in spring training. He has pitched out of the Red Wings bullpen and just made his first start of the season. Again, he is left-handed and just 25.

Eric Fryer – The catcher has split time this season with Dan Rohlfing in Rochester. He is best known as a defensive catcher. The man posted a 1.192 OPS with the Minnesota Twins in 2013… OK, I know it was in just six games and 16 plate appearances, but it was a nice showing. He has spent some time in the major leagues in 2011, 2012 and 2013, though I would be surprised if the 28 year old would be claimed if he were designated for assignment.

Chris Herrmann – He is an athletic catcher, but his value to the Minnesota Twins this past month has been allowing Ron Gardenhire to play Josmil Pinto as the designated hitter most days. Herrmann can catch, but when he has played, it has been in the corner outfield spots. He could also play centerfield in a pinch. That said, he has not hit at all with the Twins this year. Though he has never been a big offensive threat, his defensive versatility does provide the team with options as the 25th man on the roster. Of course, he is currently on the Twins 25-man roster, so I think this is unlikely and it would necessitate another roster move.

Kenny Wilson – The outfielder was recently claimed off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays. Although he has not hit much at all since being drafted in the 2nd round out of high school, he does have a lot of tools. His best tool is his speed, but he is also quite strong and could still develop. He is currently the regular centerfielder for the New Britain Rock Cats. He is not about early-2014, and he has an option remaining, so he could be about late-2014 and beyond… although the Twins do have a pretty good centerfield prospect who could be ready by then as well.

Josh Willingham – What? How does his name appear on this list, as he is a veteran at the end of a three-year, $18 million contract. Plus, he’s hurt, so they wouldn’t DFA him. No, they wouldn’t DFA him, however, he has not played since being hit by a pitch on April 6th and breaking a small bone in his wrist. Reports this past weekend indicated that he is progressing slowly in his rehab efforts. If the Twins put him on the 60 Day DL (retroactively), he would be eligible to return to the Twins on June 5. Could he be ready before then? If so, then maybe this doesn’t make sense. If he’s going to be anywhere near that June 5 deadline, then this is the move that makes the most sense. You don’t have to lose anybody at this time to add Guerrier and can move that decision back one month.

To me, the choice it pretty simple. If Josh Willingham is still at least three weeks out, put him on the 60 Day DL. If they feel he will be back in the lineup within the next two weeks, then the decision becomes much more difficult.

*Yes, it was intentional that I did not include Jared Burton or Pedro Florimon on this list of possibilities to be removed from the 40 man roster.

Are other moves looming? How long will Danny Santana remain on the big league roster, sitting on the bench? How many consecutive days does Eduardo Nunez need to remain healthy before he is up? How about Oswaldo Arcia?

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