Infielders (6): Justin Morneau, Trevor Plouffe, Jamey Carroll, Pedro Florimon, Brian Dozier, Eduardo Escobar
Parmalee, Mauer, and Doumit can all play 1B behind Morneau. Carroll, Esocbar and Dozier can all play utility IF.
Outfielders (4): Josh Willingham, Chris Parmelee, Aaron Hicks, Joe Benson
There is no reason to wait on Aaron Hicks. And, likewise Joe Benson who will be 25 years old before the season starts. Give Benson a shot as the 4th OF at the major league level. If Benson falters, then recall Mastroianni.
Catchers (2): Joe Mauer, Ryan Doumit
No reason to have Butera on the roster at all. Mauer can get significant rest from catching with Doumit behind the plate either with a scheduled day off or playing 1B. This allows the team to carry an extra IF.
Starting Pitchers (5): Scott Diamond, Kevin Correia, Vance Worley, Mike Pelfrey(IR), Liam Hendriks, Kyle Gibson
Even on an innings restriction Gibson must be in the rotation. When Pelfrey comes back from DL, Hendriks is odd man out.
Relief Pitchers (8): Glen Perkins, Jared Burton, Brian Duensing, Alex Burnett, Casey Fien, Josh Roenicke, Tyler Robertson, Cole DeVries
I think Seth's roster projections are probably pretty close. There may be a few cast substitutions among the "subs." They will keep Hicks at Rochester through April. Come June or July we will probably see an outfield of Benson-Hicks-Arcia as Willingham and Morneau are traded at the deadline.
I think that the ST questions as far as the 25-man roster goes, and as far as Ryan & Gardy and Andy go, are for:
2 spots on the IF (Carroll has one locked, which means that Dozier, Florimon, Escobar, or less likely someone else will get them).
1 spot on the OF. Mastro will be up unless he really bombs and Benson and Hicks has a great Spring. These 2 will fight for that one spot.
1 bench spot occupied likely by the IF or the OF (unless his name is Hicks) who loses the above. Colabello might have something different to say about that.
3 rotation spots after Worley and Correia, which will be determined by health. If he can play (word is that he will miss 2 weeks but it is too early,) Diamond has one. Pelfrey is threw 50-60 pitches in a 'pen yesterday, so I think he has another. Gibson? Harden? Hendriks? one of last years' AAAA? Who knows.
All 4 pen spots after Perkins, Burton and Duensing. When healthy Swarzak will have one of them. A whole slew of candidates for those. I think that Swarzak's spot will be taken by one who will lose the last starting spot, unless that is Gibson. Hard to tell who will win the rest.
Pitch to contact. If you're going to employ a staff that tries to induce outs via poor contact, then behind the pitcher you're going to need fielders with fast feet, great gloves and strong arms. Given that, it wouldn't surprise me to see both Benson and Hicks start the year in the outfield, with Willingham and Parmelee taking turns at DH.
It also introduces an interesting aspect to the race for third catcher. Chris Hermann can play both C and OF, which makes me wonder how good a hitter he'd have to be to supplant Drew Butera. And if he does, then where does that leave Mastrioanni? With the athletic Joe Benson in the mix, I'm not sure the Twins still need the current 4th outfielder.
It's intriguing how a single factor - Joe Benson's hitting in spring training - could affect the overall makeup of the Twins starting roster.
The Twins won a lot of game with Delmon and Cuddy on the corner OF posts. I don't think Willingham/Parmelee is much worse in covering ground. However, Delmon/Cuddy was a pair of strong arms that Willingham and Parm will not match.
Of Seth's picks in the bullpen, I think Burnett will end up in Rochester. He has an option left, and while he was okay last year overall, he faded as the season went on and his peripherals weren't very good.
As always, this will be about who is most ready to take the job and play every day. Hicks is most ready to take the everyday job, imho, sspecially with the need for a lead-off guy. Mastroiani is a bottom-of-the-order hitter. Benson is a guy you slot in seventh or so, where his power can do more damage and his limited OBP skills won't hurt so much. They might try to send Hicks down because of service time, but they will not even get into May before they realize the error in their ways and call him up. When Willingham and Morneau are 1-2 in the league in solo homers, the player with the best OBP potential will get the job for good.
A player with at least two but less than three years of Major League service shall be eligible for salary arbitration if he has accumulated at least 86 days of service during the immediately preceding season and he ranks in the top 22 percent (increased from 17 percent in previous agreements) in total service in the class of Players who have at least two but less than three years of Major League service, however accumulated, but with at least 86 days of service accumulated during the immediately preceding season.
Two weeks in AAA is all that it takes for the team to gain a 7th year.
Edit: It actually takes three weeks, not two.
A Mauer-like player that comes up on day 1, and never goes down, would have 3 seasons at minimum, and 3 arbitration seasons.
Year 1: minimum
Year 2: minimum
Year 3: minimum
Year 4: arbitration
Year 5: arbitration
Year 6: arbitration
A player that spends a couple of weeks (three) in the minors would end up with this...
Year 1: minimum (just short of one full year of service)
Year 2: minimum (just short of two years service)
Year 3: minimum (just short of three years service, qualifies for super-2 arb)
Year 4: arbitration
Year 5: arbitration
Year 6: arbitration
Year 7: arbitration
There are roughly 184 days in a ML season, it takes 172 days to acquire one year of service. Once 172 days are accrued in any one season the counting stops. As long as a player accrues fewer than those 172 days in any of their first 6 seasons, they require a 7th season to push them over the free agency threshold.
That is of course assuming the 2017 CBA doesn't change things.
The only potential wrinkle in the hypothetical 2018 scenario is that once 5 years of service are accrued a player earns the right to refuse demotion, even if they have options remaining. Hicks could theoretically refuse demotion in 2018 as he would have 5 full seasons at that point. (I am not 100% certain on the part about options, that's how I currently understand it)
That's almost exactly what the Brewers ended up doing with Hardy. They demoted him to AAA shortly before he had a chance to accrue his 5th year of service (thus no refusal) and pushing his free agency back an additional season.
5 years? Hell, that solves it. if he's the best CF or leadoff man out of ST then there's no reason not to bring him north.
Unless you really really want to win super 2 status I guess.
But if you bring him north, and he plays well from day one, you'll have a hard time ever justifying a trip back to AAA. I think it would be highly frowned upon demoting a 4+ year player strictly for service time reasons. :)