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Shuffling the Twins Roster Decisions

Posted by Ted Schwerzler , 22 May 2018 · 1,367 views

minnesota twins ryan lamarre miguel sano joe mauer trevor may
After making the hard, but correct, decision to move on from Phil Hughes, the Twins put some roster shuffling into motion. Trevor May, Ervin Santana, and Miguel Sano are all due back to the big league roster in short order. Paul Molitor's club is putting some heat on the scuffling Indians and the time to strike for Minnesota is right now. How they construct the 25 man going forward remains somewhat up in the air, but here's a few guess on what things may look like.

Phil Hughes replaced by Ryan LaMarre

The outfielder is on his way back to the big leagues. After being a spring training surprise, LaMarre posted a .718 OPS across 38 plate appearances in 20 games for Minnesota. Since heading down to Rochester, he's continued to stay hot. At Triple-A, he has a .371/.436/.543 slash line across nine games and 39 plate appearances.

The Twins don't really need six outfielders on the 25 man roster, and especially not with the talent embedded among their starting trio. That said, there's really no infield options that make sense here. It's too late for Nick Gordon as Sano isn't far off, and there aren't any more veteran placeholder types to call upon. This move could be short lived for LaMarre, but he appears to be destined for the 25th spot as of now.

Jake Cave replaced by Trevor May

While noting that LaMarre's time with the Twins could be short lived, it's also true that Cave could be the guy optioned in about a week. Trevor May is eligible to come off the disabled list on May 28, and every inclination is that he'll be activated that day. Having made starts with both Fort Myers and Rochester, May has been great in his seven innings pitched since returning from Tommy John surgery. The velocity has been there, and he's posted 10 strikes (with 5 walks), giving up just one run on four hits. Yes, he's working as a starter, but I just don't see room right now.

Should the Twins tab May for the spot Hughes was occupying in the pen, he can continue to stay stretched out in working as the long man. With the ability to give Garvin Alston two or three innings of work at a time, May provides some nice bullets in relief and also doubles as a fallback option in a spot start scenario.

Gregorio Petit replaced by Miguel Sano

Just a bit further out than May, Sano's return looms for the Twins. He's yet to play a full nine innings in the field during his three game rehab stint, but that's the next hurdle he'll overcome. There's no doubt he's a big boy, and adding that wrinkle to a hamstring injury doesn't help things. If the malady is behind him though, Minnesota could use that extra thump in their lineup sooner rather than later.

Once he's fully cleared, Sano should slide back in at third base moving Eduardo Escobar back to shortstop. It's unfortunate Escobar can't hack it defensively at short like he can at third, but the bat upgrade over Adrianza should be a noticeable one.

Matt Magill replaced by Joe Mauer

Here's where the dart throws begin in this whole process. First and foremost, we aren't sure when Mauer will be ready to return to the Twins lineup. Going on the DL effective May 19, the Twins first basemen is eligible to return on May 29th. Given his history of concussion related issues, it's far from certain that he'll be cleared in the given 10-day timespan.

Ideally, Mauer returns in short order and provides Minnesota the Gold Glove caliber defense they've come to trust at first. It's hard to imagine he'd replace a position player, as the Twins bench would be significantly dwindled in that scenario. With eight relievers, Magill would seem to be the odd man out. He's posted a 1.54 ERA and 7.7 K/9 while owning a great 0.8 BB/9 across his 11.2 IP. A move like this would be just a tough luck situation for the reclamation relief project.

TBD replaced by Ervin Santana

Call it a cop out, but I'm not ready to put a name on this move. Simply put, the Minnesota Twins have way too many moving parts in the starting rotation to determine who Santana will replace just under a month from now. I'd be shocked to see him before the middle of June, and making his first rehab start this week, he'll need at least three or four good turns to be big league ready.

Sure, it's an easy call if things stay like they are now. Lance Lynn being ineffective would bump him to the DL for a time and Santana could slot right in. Fernando Romero having his innings limited and being sent back to Triple-A could be an option. The real answer may have not yet presented itself and there may be an injury that allows Minnesota to have the decision made for them. The only thing worth banking on is that Santana will have a spot when he's ready. Where he slots in remains of little importance.

For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz

  • howieramone2 likes this

May 22 2018 03:56 PM

Nothing more adventurous, like replacing Grossman or Wilson, or Adrianza out instead of Petit? I think the Twins need to be bolder if they are going to make that leap.

Ted Schwerzler
May 22 2018 04:02 PM

Nothing more adventurous, like replacing Grossman or Wilson, or Adrianza out instead of Petit? I think the Twins need to be bolder if they are going to make that leap.

Unless you want a catcher that can field and not hit like Navarreto, Wilson doesn’t have a replacement on the farm. Grossman is a solid OBP guy trending upwards, and there isn’t a logical replacement there either. Nick Gordon is better than Adrianza, but he can’t come up and sit. You bring up guys that have room to be replaced, but the answers aren’t in the system.
    • howieramone2 likes this

Fernando Romero and his innings limit might end up being a major consideration if he keeps pitching well over the next two months.

You could always move Romero to the bullpen. Except you probably do ant him to start. If he keeps pitching, there is no reason to move him elsewhere. Of course, we don't know how well Santana will pitch coming back. Lance Lynn can keep things complicated if he pitches like he did last night. Suddenly we have too many pitchers.


What is the status on, say, Magill and Petit. Do the Twins have the ability to options them back to the minors, or do they have to go thru waivers and can be lost. That's the problem with minor league free agents. But, also, Rochester has a pretty loaded roster right now and the Twins will have to make some changes throughout the minors once the draft happens and short-season ball begins.


I thought for sure Granite would get the short callup. I like LaMarre, he seems to be eager and hungry to play in the majors. Which is a plus. Cave is additional depth. So you start to wonder why on Grossman, especially when you still have Granite in reserve as well as the possibility of LaMonte Wade, who will need to be 40-manned next season anyways.


I'm hoping Garver can hold down the catching spot, and that he does catch ALL the pitchers that will be with the Twins next season (let Wilson catch Santana, Gibson or Lynn if push comes to shove). 


If Mauer is out, I would like to see Sano work in at DH, keeping Petit and Ehrie as shortstops and let Escobar continue to shine at third base. Sano needs to cut back on his free swinging.


Will this be the end for Joe Mauer? If so, he can go out gracefully this season because of concussion issues. No contract wrangling. No fear of him going elsewhere. He would end a fine career. The Twins can go forwards without having to find a place for him and his bat in the lineup...both would be missed.....


Logan Morrison, it is time for you to shine!

LA VIkes Fan
May 23 2018 10:04 AM

I see it a little differently . The first shoe has dropped and now we go like this assuming no injuries.Frankly,. injuries probably scramble everything but for fun, her's what I would do:


1. LaMarre for Hughes - 7 man bullpen for a few days.

2. Sano for Petit - In the short term Adrianza stays at SS with Escobar there if necessary and the Morrison/Sano/Escobar/Grossman group handle 3B/!B/DH with Grossman on the bench most nights. LaMarre and Cave handle the 4th OF occasional night off for starter duty. Cave to AAA if you want an 8th BP piece now and Busenitz up. 

3.May for Cave/Busenitz - See above except LaMarre is the 4th OF. We stay with a 7 man BP and have a 6 man rotation to protect the 2 guys coming off of injury.That doesn't mean everyone is on a 6 day schedule - Berrios and Odorizzi are not.Requires a little more managing but the Angels are making it work.Get a look at May starting and/or being a swing man with some BP responsibilities so you are set up when Santana returns. 

4.Mauer for Grossman/LaMarre - One stays as the 4th OF, one goes. I would give LaMarre a few ABs now so you can see if he can hit at the MLB level. If he can, he stays and Grossman goes. More likely, he can't and Grossman is the 4th OF with a call up of either Cave or LaMarre if an OF gets hurt. Grossman is a bench bat, part time DH, occasional only in the field. Escobar takes over SS to keep his bat in the lineup and the Morrison/Mauer/Sano group holds down IB/DH/3B with Sano's DH or off days handled by Adrianza playing short, Escobar at 3B, and Morrison or Mauer sitting. 

5.Santana in, one of the SPs (Lynn) traded with either a 6 man rotation or May in the BP. By running the 6 man rotation earlier to see the depth and save Romero and May a few innings while Lynn hopefully looks more like last night, the Twins create the most coveted trade deadline asset, proven starting pitching. Lynn is the trade bait since he's on a one year contract (or May if we can get a big haul, but only then) and we trade him for either a solid to good pitching prospect, "real" 4th OF/DH or better 2nd Catcher. 

6.Polanco for Adrianza - Hate to do this since it's always good to have a good fielding back up middle infielder but he gets crowded out. Hopefully he would clear waivers and is depth at AAA, more likely he gets claimed so maybe we package him with Lynn in a trade or try to get an A ball lottery guy. 


We end up with a 5 man rotation of Berrios, Santana, Gibson, Odorizzi and Romero with May as either the 8th BP guy or the 6th starter/injury replacement, the 3 starting OFs plus either LaMarre, Grossman or someone we get in a Lynn trade, the 5 IF starters from last year except Garver catching, and a bench/DH of Escobar, Morrison, Wilson, and 4th OF. 


What do you guys think?