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  • Step Right Up...

    It is now late May, and the Twins season is at a crossroads. The team has lost eight straight games as it embarks on a four-game series in Detroit against the Tigers. The season is in flux, and right now the roster, specifically the starting rotation, is in flux.

    Before tonight's game, the Twins will add Samuel Deduno to their 40 man roster and then their 25 man roster. Most likely, Tim Wood will be put on the 60 day disabled list. Following another poor performance on Thursday, the Twins optioned RHP Vance Worley to AAA Rochester. That leaves an open spot on the 25-man roster and the need for a 5th starter on Monday. So, who will it be?



    I present to you the three options with their numbers:


    • RHP Kyle Gibson is 3-5 with a 3.25 ERA. In 52.2 innings, he has allowed 46 hits, walked 14 and struck out 46. Opponents are hitting .240 against him.
    • RHP PJ Walters is 4-2 with a 3.31 ERA. In 54.1 innings, he has allowed 55 hits, walked 16 and struck out 46. Opponents are hitting .271 against him.
    • LHP Andrew Albers is 1-2 with a 2.34 ERA. In 42.1 innings, he has allowed 41 hits, walked 12 and struck out 40. Opponents have hit .255 off of him.


    All three have pitched well and a case could be made for each. Quite possibly the biggest advantage for Gibson is his first-round pedigree. However, the bigger disadvantage to Walters and Albers is that they are not on the 40 man roster.

    The question often is asked: who could the Twins take off their 40 man roster to make room for either of them? Well, assuming Wood goes on the 60 Day DL, they do not have another player eligible to put there (the DL). So, the team would have to DFA (designate for assignment) someone to make room for Monday's starter.

    It's never fun to look at who could be made available for other teams to claim, but if you think Walters or Albers is the right guy, it's an exercise that needs to be done. Here are some candidates:


    • Joe Benson - His name has been mentioned as a possible DFA candidate. After an injury-plagued 2012 season, Benson has struggled to keep his batting average above .200 this spring with Rochester. He will be out of options next season, but because of his immense athletic talents, I believe that he would be claimed and lost.
    • Drew Butera - The much-maligned backup catcher who plays tremendous defense but can't hit his weight is another name that people mention. He broke his wrist and hasn't played, though he should be getting into games soon. If there is a time that he could go unclaimed, it might be now.
    • Cole De Vries - The 28-year-old Minnesotan was on the Opening Day roster, but he went on the disabled list. In his three rehab starts and one Red Wings start, he has really struggled. I think he would clear waivers and could be kept in Rochester.
    • Liam Hendriks - Though it appears that the Twins brass has soured on the Australian right-hander, he's just 24 years old and until this year has been terrific at each minor league level. He is now on the Rochester disabled list. There is no question that he would be claimed if made available.
    • BJ Hermsen - Last year Hermsen was the Twins minor league starting pitcher of the year, and was very good in 2011 as well. Last year, he got outs and pitched very well in New Britain. This year, after going to big league camp, he was hurt. He has now made a handful of starts and struggled to regain his 2012 form. Although he doesn't have great velocity, he has two option years left, size and smarts. I think he would be claimed, but it might be more 50/50.
    • Chris Herrmann - Another is Herrmann. A year ago, or even earlier this spring, I would have said that was crazy. Now I don't think it's quite as unlikely. The Twins have five catchers on the 40 man roster. Joe Mauer and Ryan Doumit aren't going anywhere. Josmil Pinto has proven the team wise in keeping him. Herrmann is off to a slow start in his first AAA season. He can catch. He can play multiple positions and thus gives flexibility. He won't hit for average, but until his slow start, he has generally walked quite a bit and hit some doubles. I think he would be claimed.
    • Wilkin Ramirez - With Chris Colabello on the roster, the Twins have a right-handed bat off the bench. However, as the roster is currently set up, Ramirez is the backup centerfielder making it unlikely he would be made available now. I think he would clear waivers if or when they make him available.


    So, there are some candidates for removal from the 40 man roster if the Twins believe that PJ Walters or Andrew Albers is the right man to bring up now.

    It's been a rough season so far. We are just starting to see some transactions, and I anticipate we will see several more.
    This article was originally published in blog: Step Right Up... started by Seth Stohs
    Comments 30 Comments
    1. Tibs's Avatar
      Tibs -
      What kind of pitcher is Albers? I've read around here that he doesn't throw hard, but 40 Ks in 42.1 innings is solid. What pitches does he throw?
    1. IdahoPilgrim's Avatar
      IdahoPilgrim -
      I wonder just how much we are risking if Joe Benson is DFA'd. As Seth points out, he is out of options after this year, so unless he is ready to be on the major league roster for good by next year, we'll have to expose him to waivers anyway. And I am just really skeptical that he'll be ready by then.

      I'm not saying that he might not recover and be MLB-ready, and we might look back and regret losing him, but it might just be too late for the Twins to benefit from it when he does finally put it together, thanks to the roster rules.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Why not DFA Wood, instead of 60 day DL? He's a reliever......any older reliever who is hurt should be a DFA candidate, frankly......

      My order:
      Devries - he doesn't offer anything that the other Rochester pitchers don't offer, really
      Hermsen - see above
      Butera - below replacment level, imo, replacable by other younger options that have not proven to be bad

      I'd want to give Benson this year one way or the other, so I'm opposed to him. Heck, just trade one of their current relievers for whatever you can get, move up a buy from AAA that is on the 40 man.....there are lots of ways for a 90 loss team with little high end talent at AAA or AA to cull the 40 man roster. Lots.
    1. Willihammer's Avatar
      Willihammer -
      I'd guess that Sunday is Pelfrey's last shot.
    1. crarko's Avatar
      crarko -
      Quote Originally Posted by Willihammer View Post
      I'd guess that Sunday is Pelfrey's last shot.
      I think you may be right. Especially if Gibson does well in his Friday start.
    1. Wanklenuts's Avatar
      Wanklenuts -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      Why not DFA Wood, instead of 60 day DL? He's a reliever......any older reliever who is hurt should be a DFA candidate
      Because that doesn't really solve the problem. If they want to call up Walters or Albers they will need to 60 day DL Wood and DFA someone. Whether or not the the Twins expect anything out of Wood, there is no point in possibly losing him. If he gets healthy and they still need the additional roster spot, they can DFA him then. There is no benefit in making that decision today.
    1. spideyo's Avatar
      spideyo -
      Pretty sure you can't DFA a player on the DL. Besides, from a roster standpoint 60 day DL is no different than DFA.

      After Deduno gets added there will NOT be an open spot on the 25 man. Remember, Thielbar took Hernandez's spot.

      My guess is that Thielbar probably gets sent back down, and they give DeVries or Hendricks a spot start call-up (since Gibson wouldn't be available Monday anyways) so they don't have to DFA a guy just yet.

      A lot may actually ride on Plouffe. If concussion symptoms rear up bad on him, they likely aren't goin to take chances and he could end up on the 60.

      It wouldn't surprise me if the twins are shopping Butera and Herrman around right now. They likely won't get much better than a c-level prospect or a AAA lifer for them, but there are always teams that are looking for catching depth, and better to get a few bench fillers for them than nothing at all
    1. IdahoPilgrim's Avatar
      IdahoPilgrim -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      Why not DFA Wood, instead of 60 day DL? He's a reliever......any older reliever who is hurt should be a DFA candidate, frankly......

      My order:
      Devries - he doesn't offer anything that the other Rochester pitchers don't offer, really
      Hermsen - see above
      Butera - below replacment level, imo, replacable by other younger options that have not proven to be bad

      I'd want to give Benson this year one way or the other, so I'm opposed to him. Heck, just trade one of their current relievers for whatever you can get, move up a buy from AAA that is on the 40 man.....there are lots of ways for a 90 loss team with little high end talent at AAA or AA to cull the 40 man roster. Lots.
      DFAing Wood doesn't really address the issue since he won't be on the 40-man anyway when it comes time to make room for whomever. I think Willihammer and crarko are right, though, that if Pelfrey doesn't radically improve this weekend and Gibson doesn't completely suck in his next start, it will be Gibson, which will make DFAing anybody unnecessary (at least until the next roster move).

      I agree with you that you keep Benson to finish the year - I had a chance to think about it after I posted it. There's still a chance he can pull it together. But I've still got this feeling he's not gonna pan out and be gone next year anyway.
    1. tjsyam921's Avatar
      tjsyam921 -
      Why can't they put Butera on the 60 day DL? He won't be back anytime soon will he?
    1. IdahoPilgrim's Avatar
      IdahoPilgrim -
      Quote Originally Posted by tjsyam921 View Post
      Why can't they put Butera on the 60 day DL? He won't be back anytime soon will he?
      Because he is on the minor league DL, not the major league DL. He was on option assignment to Rochester when the injury occurred. The rules prohibit those on the minor league DL being eligible for the 60-day major league DL. Don't ask me why, though.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by Willihammer View Post
      I'd guess that Sunday is Pelfrey's last shot.
      If the team is willing to demote Worley, they damned well better be ready to send Pelfrey packing as well.
    1. IdahoPilgrim's Avatar
      IdahoPilgrim -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      If the team is willing to demote Worley, they damned well better be ready to send Pelfrey packing as well.
      Based on performance you are correct. The difference, though, is that Worley had an option available and could not refuse assignment. Pelfrey has enough service time that he could refuse assignment; you'd have to be prepared to give him his outright release (and eat the rest of his salary this year). I'm not necessarily opposed to that, but it does create a different dynamic than Worley's situation.
    1. Wanklenuts's Avatar
      Wanklenuts -
      I don't think Pelfrey would refuse assignment unless he thought someone would pick him up. In that case, the other team would pick up the salary. I really hope that money doesn't prevent a move.
    1. stringer bell's Avatar
      stringer bell -
      To summarize, the Worley option allows the Twins to go the entire Detroit series with an 8-man bullpen. The likely transfer of Wood to the 60-day DL clears space on the 40-man for Deduno, but if another player is added from off the 40-man roster to fill Worley's spot in the rotation, someone will have to be DFAed and someone will have to be sent to Rochester. Pelfrey could "solve" the 25-man issue by being ineffective his next start and accepting an option. The Twins could solve both the 25-man and 40-man issues by DFAing Pelfrey and outrighting him to AAA if he would accept that.
    1. troyhobbs's Avatar
      troyhobbs -
      It'd be an easy decision for me. Gibson up, he's a 1st rounder, fans want to see him, and he's on the roster. If someone's gotta go, I think Butera had his chances and doesn't have much that anyone would miss.
    1. IdahoPilgrim's Avatar
      IdahoPilgrim -
      Quote Originally Posted by Wanklenuts View Post
      I don't think Pelfrey would refuse assignment unless he thought someone would pick him up. In that case, the other team would pick up the salary. I really hope that money doesn't prevent a move.
      I disagree. Pelfrey has no incentive to accept assignment. He gets paid his guaranteed salary whether he plays another day in the Twins organization or not. If the Twins seek to outright him to Rochester, I see him asking for his release (as he is entitled to do) and then seeking a position with another team, who would probably sign him to an MLB-minimum deal, leaving the Twins to pay the balance of his salary.

      That's what happened to Marquis last year.
    1. Dave T's Avatar
      Dave T -
      I vote to DFA Benson. He needs a fresh start (or a new line of business). We have better outfielders than him coming up, and he knows it.

      I think we should keep Thielbar in the bullpen, not send him back down. Not all of those bullpen guys are worth keeping. Roenicke, I'm looking at you.

      I think we should promote Albers for a week or two, until Gibson's Super-2 date is passed. It will be useful to Albers development, and we surely need some young pitchers to get better in a hurry.

      I don't think Pelfrey is going anywhere. Twins management knew when they signed him that his first year back might be rocky. The price you pay is one bad year. The hope is, he regains his ability to locate pitches while he's under contract to the Twins.
    1. spideyo's Avatar
      spideyo -
      You beat me to it. Marquis bailed out and got signed to the Padres where he had a decent enough year to come back for a second season.

      And he was doing MUCH worse than Pelfrey is
    1. IdahoPilgrim's Avatar
      IdahoPilgrim -
      Quote Originally Posted by Dave T View Post
      I don't think Pelfrey is going anywhere. Twins management knew when they signed him that his first year back might be rocky. The price you pay is one bad year. The hope is, he regains his ability to locate pitches while he's under contract to the Twins.
      The problem with this, of course, is that he only has a one-year contract - next year he's a free agent anyway, unless we agree to an extension with him, and right now that just ain't happening.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Quote Originally Posted by Wanklenuts View Post
      Because that doesn't really solve the problem. If they want to call up Walters or Albers they will need to 60 day DL Wood and DFA someone. Whether or not the the Twins expect anything out of Wood, there is no point in possibly losing him. If he gets healthy and they still need the additional roster spot, they can DFA him then. There is no benefit in making that decision today.
      thanks, I read it wrong.
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