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  • Nishioka Among Twins Second Roster Cuts

    The Twins reduced their spring training roster significantly on Monday morning, and there was even a surprise or two.

    The biggest name on the list was Tsuyoshi Nishioka. Many believed that because he has some ability to play shortstop and the had an inside track on the Twins utility job. But he has struggled throughout spring with many of the game's basics, and the Twins optioned him to Rochester.

    Carlos Gutierrez and Rene Tosoni were also optioned to Rochester.

    Several non-roster players were assigned to minor league camp. Relievers Jason Bulger, Luis Perdomo, Daryl Thompson, Esmerling Vaszquez and PJ Walters will report across the parking lot. Catchers Chris Herrmann and Dan Rohlfing will start preparing for their minor league seasons in minor league camp. Infielder Aaron Bates and outfielder Wilkin Ramirez were also sent to minor league camp.

    Aside from Nishioka, there are not a lot of surprises. Gutierrez has good numbers but still lacks that second pitch that could make him very good. Tosoni really struggled in big league camp, with just one hit in 15 at bats.

    Aaron Bates, who blogs for Twins Daily, is a surprise to some degree. The first baseman was 8-20 this spring. He was posting a line of .400/.429/.450 and has had back-to-back multi-hit games.

    The spring training roster is now at 45 with 21 pitchers, six catchers, 11 infielders and seven outfielders vying for 25 spots.

    Maybe the most interesting thing about the Nishioka demotion is the possible utility infielders remaining in camp. The most intriguing is Brian Dozier who is now hitting over .300 this spring, and hit his first home run yesterday. The Twins won't keep him up to be a backup, but he could potentially win a starting job still. Michael Hollimon has been terrific the first half of spring training, hitting .533 albeit in just 17 plate appearances. Ray Chang, Pedro Florimon, Brian Dinkelman and Sean Burroughs also seem to be in the hunt for an Opening Day roster spot.

    Any thoughts on the transactions?
    This article was originally published in blog: Twins Make Second Roster Cuts started by Seth Stohs
    Comments 40 Comments
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Glad to see them making the first hard decision they need to make this year. I hope they continue to make them (Butera would be next on my list of decisions that are hard for the Twins to make, but that show they are going to start making them). It's clear Nishioka is not currently a MLB player. And, I'll admit, I thought it was a good gamble to take (having never seen him, I went on faith that the scouts saw something there).
    1. dberthia's Avatar
      dberthia -
      Agree completely with "mike wants wins". It's not fair to the team to keep folks like Nishi and Butera on a big league roster. I'm hopeful that they're going to continue to keep making the right decisions this year by dropping Butera. Sad to say it, but I think it's time to encourage Morneau to retire as well. It's a damn shame it's come to this, but again, it's really not fair to the team to keep him on the big league roster.
    1. jimbo92107's Avatar
      jimbo92107 -
      Understandable decision with Nishioka, who seems to be having trouble learning the MLB basics of fielding. Nobody wants to see a guy get hurt out there because he doesn't know how to protect himself turning a double play. I just hope Nishi is able to learn and regain his confidence. He could still be a good utility man, possibly a starting 2B.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Agree with jimbo, I'd love to see him learn and succeed.
    1. J-Dog Dungan's Avatar
      J-Dog Dungan -
      So that means that these guys are left to fight for the last few roster spots:
      Alex Burnett
      Terry Doyle
      Jeff Gray
      Liam Hendriks
      Matt Maloney
      Jeff Manship
      Kyle Waldrop
      Jared Burton
      Sam Deduno
      Phil Dumatrait
      Casey Fien
      Brendan Wise
      Bench Players:
      Drew Butera
      Danny Lehmann
      Rene Rivera
      J.R. Towles
      Sean Burroughs
      Ray Chang
      Brian Dinkelman
      Brian Dozier
      Pedro Florimon
      Mike Hollimon
      Luke Hughes
      Chris Parmelee
      Joe Benson
      Matt Carson
      Rene Tosoni

      The ones,to me, that are looking promising on this list are Hollimon, Parmelee, Rivera (ish), Maloney, Waldrop, Manship, Burton.
      The next guys that should be cut in my mind should be: Burnett(send to AAA), Butera (send to AAA), & Chang (send to AA/AAA),
    1. JakeE141414's Avatar
      JakeE141414 -
      The Dozier vs. Hollimon decision will be interesting. It obviously doesn't make sense for Dozier to make the club if he won't be a starter, but Hollimon could easily fill in the utilitly infielder role. Also, one of the Twins' beat writers mentioned this morning that it is possible the Twins would go sign a backup middle infielder.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Why doesn't it make sense for Dozier to make the club as a backup? If he's better than Holliman, why not bring him up? Will you use the same logic next year, and waste two years of his prime in AAA? Because logically, that's what you are saying?
    1. J-Dog Dungan's Avatar
      J-Dog Dungan -
      My bad, Tosoni was optioned out as well
    1. Cody Christie's Avatar
      Cody Christie -
      I like the idea of letting Dozier start at shortstop and giving Carroll second base. Casilla could slide into a utility type role
    1. Jim H's Avatar
      Jim H -
      I guess everyone was right about Nishioka. My question is will the Twins try to sell his contract to a Japanese team? If he isn't a utility man and Dozier is considered to be the medium term answer at short-what real value does Nishioka have to the Twins? I don't know if it is possible to sell his contract to a Japanese team, or what Nishioka's wishes might be. I can't see that playing at AAA will do him a lot of good, but I suppose I could be wrong.
    1. Dilligaf69's Avatar
      Dilligaf69 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Cody Christie View Post
      I like the idea of letting Dozier start at shortstop and giving Carroll second base. Casilla could slide into a utility type role

      I could live with this.. at least to start. They could always go back to their original plan. But as always you have to remember this is still ONLY spring. It's alot different when the real games start, we have seen plenty of good springs turn into not so good summers. I will say that I think Lexi plays better when he's playing everday although in theory he's perfectly suited for a backup utilty role because he can play 2B/SS and has ZERO power. All in all I think the Twins could roll the dice here and start Dozier at SS and Carroll at 2B which is probably a better spot for him anyway. Either way we should see Dozier barring "injury" come May/June.
    1. ltwedt's Avatar
      ltwedt -
      Good to see that the Twins are making hard decisions - I also hope that they will look at escaping their obligations to Nishi any way they can - ie., selling his contract to a Japanese team, if that is a possibility. You can't teach "good hands", and isn't he a bit old to teach fundamental infield play and position responsibilities?

      Also like Dozier a lot! If Carroll is going to display Butera-like ability at the plate, give the SS job to him - like, NOW!
    1. John Bonnes's Avatar
      John Bonnes -
      I gotta think the chances of Dozier making this team are close to nonexistant. There is no way, barring injury, they hand him a starting job based on a couple of extra hits in spring training - and they shouldn't. And I agree - you don't want Dozier on the bench in MLB - you want him playing in AAA, getting ready for a starting job in MLB.

      But I'll be honest, I have no idea who else they're going to take. I assume Plouffe (if he's healthy), Hughes (ditto) and 3rd catcher....Lord, I wonder if Hollimon really has a chance. I'm starting to think he does.
    1. Nick Nelson's Avatar
      Nick Nelson -
      We'll see how Hollimon's playing time changes after this move. Thus far he's only gotten 15 AB all spring and I think he's only started once or twice -- that's just not the treatment you give to a guy you're taking a hard look at for a roster spot.

      I maintain that the Twins might not take a true "utility guy" north. They've got some guys who can back up SS in a pinch, and could call someone up quickly in the event of an injury.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      There is no way, barring injury, they hand him a starting job based on a couple of extra hits in spring training - and they shouldn't.
      They woudln't base it on a couple of hits... they would be basing it on things like his leadership qualities, his personality, his ability to handle it, his numbers in 2011 and the improvements shown. Many things but it won't be anything about 15-20 at bats. I just think that they brought in Carroll, and they're giong to give Casilla one more try, and hopefully Dozier tears it up in Rochester and takes one of their jobs in June. I think that'd be great.

      However, the same qualities that veterans and coaches talked about with Mauer all those spring trainings ago are the same qualities that the coaches, front office and teammates are saying about Dozier now. Granted, Mauer was 20 and Dozier is 24, so they're not comparing them in terms of prospect status, but about their ability to help the team win.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      We'll see how Hollimon's playing time changes after this move. Thus far he's only gotten 15 AB all spring and I think he's only started once or twice -- that's just not the treatment you give to a guy you're taking a hard look at for a roster spot.
      Exactly. What he's done to this point is stay on the big league roster for another week. his 8-15 start keeps him getting looks. What he does from this point forward will determine whether he will be a serious contender. I think he's only made one start. He hasn't yet played SS, I don't think. Last year he played 3B, SS, 2B and LF. Didn't hit well, but did hit a lot of homers. He's already 28-29, so he can be a utility guy at this stage. He does have big league experience too, albeit limited, but that can't hurt. I'd still categorize it as a long shot.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -

      for the 25th roster spot. Dozier won't make the team as a backup, and he shouldn't. Casilla's not losing his spot out of the gates, and Carroll is not going to be signed and then placed on the bench because of some bad spring training. I don't think Dinkelman is still around for any really reason besides it is nice to have super utility guys for games in spring. So Burroughs (L), Chang (R), Hollimon (S), and Florimon (S) in the IF (and Hollimon as third LF), and Carson (R) in the OF are left for serious Twins 25th spot consideration. I still am intrigued most by Carson's power in this group, but Hollimon has to be right there at the top. I don't think it is a long shot anymore.

    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      But yeah, cheers to the Twins making the right decision for Nishioka and themselves. My guess is that he and Dozier play the middle infield positions at Rochester with Florimon as the reserve. First injury to an infielder, and it is likely Nishioka's name that gets called.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      I'm with John, I don't see Dozier making it this year baring injury. He needs to be playing every day, and he won't be doing that in Minnesota this season unless someone gets hurt. I'm confused though why everyone seems to think that we need another utiltiy infielder. I thought that is what Luke Hughes was going to be. He's also a decent bat. Plouffe can switch back to the middle if needed, and I wouldn't be surprised in the least if this allows them to either carry an extra pitcher or to make a spot for Parmalee... I really think this is what they are doing. Chris continues to hit. He could carry 1B/DH roles with Justin. Doumit moves into a C/1B/DH/RF role, and Revere spends more time on the bench/spot starting/pinch running/defensive sub.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      The only cut that surprised me was Bates. Win Nishoka being where he needs to be, that opens 2 spots (I assume that Hughes and Plouffe are in) for the Bench. Given that Hughes can back up all infield positions other than SS, and Casilla can back up SS, it is not necessary that they get another middle infielder up North. I thought that Bates had a chance, but apparently the Twins feel like Morneau is fine.
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