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Who gets the 40-man spot left by Zumaya?

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The Twins took a chance when they signed Joel Zumaya to an incentive-laden contract. That high-risk deal could have come with some great rewards but Zumaya's time with the Twins was over before it even started. Only 13 pitches into his first workout with the Twins, he walked off the mound with soreness in his right elbow. Now the often-injured flamethrower will go under the knife again but this time it will be for Tommy John surgery.

Zumaya's recent injury means the Twins will now have spot open on their 40-man roster for the beginning of the 2012 season. The team will release Zumaya or put him on 60-day DL, which will open up a spot for an outlying player to make the jump to the 40-man roster. There are a variety of candidates in camp for the Twins who would be more than willing to get one step closer to being on the 25-man roster for the organization.

Here are some brief profiles on a few of the candidates but there is always a chance of another player proving his worth in the rest of spring training.

Sean Burroughs, 3B: The former first-round pick has been on quite the roller coaster ride during the last few seasons. After getting mixed up with drugs and alcohol in the mid-2000s, he found himself completely out of baseball and struggling with life. He has overcome those problems and he made his way back to the big leagues with the Diamondbacks in 2011. Burroughs has a chance to challenge Danny Valencia for playing time at third but at this point that could be a long shot. In 2011 Gardenhire seemed to put Valencia in the doghouse on multiple occasions and Burroughs could be waiting in the wings if that happens again this season. He could also provide a veteran bat off of the bench and this could be his last chance to succeed on baseball's biggest stage.

Brian Dozier, SS-2B: After a break-out minor league season in 2011, the Twins and their fans have been keeping a close eye on Dozier so far this spring. With a pitching staff composed of "pitch-to-contact" pitchers, the Twins saw in 2011 how important defense up the middle can be for the success of the team. There have been some questions about whether Dozier will be able to stick at shortstop for the long-term but it looks like the Twins will give him every opportunity to succeed at that position this spring. Jamey Carroll was brought in on a two-year contract to fill the gap at shortstop but a hot start from Dozier could leave the Twins with little choice but to bring him to Minnesota. Dozier isn't required to go on the 40-man roster until the end of the 2012 season but there are good odds he will be making his debut in the coming year.

Jared Burton, RHP: If the Twins want to fill Zumaya's roster spot with a right-handed pitcher, there are plenty of options in camp for the Twins. One of those options comes in the form of Jared Burton who joins the Twins out of the Reds organization. He has seen some success in the past by posting a 2.92 ERA with a 1.289 WHIP and 94 strikeouts from 2007-2008. The last couple of seasons have been spent trying to recover from injuries such as a thyroid dysfunction, a strained oblique, and a shoulder problem. Now he has a clean bill of health and the Twins will be looking for plenty of arms to step-up and earn a spot in the 2012 bullpen. Even if Burton doesn't make the squad when the team leaves Fort Myers, he could be one of the first options to join the team when there is an injury.

The Twins won't be forced to make this decision on this 40-man roster spot for at least a couple more weeks. This will give each of the above listed players plenty of time to prove they belong one step closer to the big leagues for 2012. With everything he has gone through, the sentimental pick might be the Burroughs comeback story. But the team did struggle to find bullpen options last year, so Burton or another pitcher could be given a chance to start the year. Dozier would be the long-shot at this point; but if the team thinks they will add him later this year, the odds could swing more in his favor.


  1. Fanatic Jack's Avatar

    Sombody needs to explain why Zumaya is still on the Twins 40-man roster and they would agree to pay for his TJ surgery? The procedure with Dr. Andrews can't be cheap and he won't be coming back to Minnesota. The team has a guranteeed $450.000 lost on a guy who did not make it through two days of spring training. They have treated Zumaya better than some players like Lew Ford. The Twins passed on dependable relievers like Wheeler, Coffey, and Linebrook to sign a injury prone player who has not pitched in 2 1/2 years. This is really perplexing!!
    Updated 03-07-2012 at 11:47 AM by Fanatic Jack
  2. Twins Fan From Afar's Avatar
    Admittedly, I don't know about the roster decision, but I do know that, because Zumaya was a member of the Twins when he injured his arm, the Twins are on the hook for the surgery. I don't think it was so much that the Twins "agreed" to pay for the surgery, as it was that they were obligated to do so.
  3. TwinsMusings's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Twins Fan From Afar
    Admittedly, I don't know about the roster decision, but I do know that, because Zumaya was a member of the Twins when he injured his arm, the Twins are on the hook for the surgery. I don't think it was so much that the Twins "agreed" to pay for the surgery, as it was that they were obligated to do so.
    I'm pretty sure you are right about the surgery being an obligation of the Twins'.

    Also, one thing I learned not long ago is when placing a player on the 60-day DL it requires a corresponding move for the 40-man roster. At this point it is not all that clear who would be the best one to add to the 40-man roster.

    Terry Ryan was quoted a day or two ago saying he is not going to make the decision until he has to. The deadline for rosters being set is just before opening day, so it looks like it will be a few weeks before we know what they are going to do.
  4. Seth Stohs's Avatar
    The Twins are definitely required to pay for the TJ Surgery. They won't know who will make the 25 man roster for sure until about April 1. If at that time, someone who is not on the 40 man roster 'wins' a spot on the 25 man roster, THEN you had him to the 40 man roster. If none of the non-roster guys make the 25 man, no need to add them.
  5. John Bonnes's Avatar
    I suspect the requirement for the Twins to pay for the surgery is spelled out in the Collective Bargaining Agreement. But even if it isn't, I suppose it would fall under worker's compensation - being hurt on the job!
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