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Article: Is it Time for a Roster Reshuffle?

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#1 Cody Christie

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Posted 24 April 2018 - 06:30 PM

Minnesota has hit a little bit of a slump. After being swept by the Tampa Bay Rays, the New York Yankees made quick work of the Twins on Monday night. Outside of Jose Berrios, Minnesota’s starters have struggled and the bullpen has been taxed. It might be time to think about reshuffling the roster. New faces might infuse some life into the club at this early juncture in the season.

What candidates are poised for promotion? Who hasn’t performed up to expectations so far this year?Pitching Problems
Minnesota’s pitchers have the seventh worse ERA in the American League, which puts them in the middle of the pack. With the help of Jose Berrios, Twins starters have the fifth best ERA in the AL. However, Twins starters have pitched the fewest innings of any AL starting staff but weather played a role in this total as well.

A revamped bullpen was supposed to help the Twins stay in playoff contention. So far this year, only the Royals and the White Sox have a higher bullpen ERA. Minnesota has the fifth highest BB/9 and K/9 totals in the American League. New additions Fernando Rodney (4.05 ERA), Zack Duke (7.94 ERA) and Tyler Kinley (24.30 ERA) have struggled in multiple appearances.

RHP Alan Busenitz was optioned to Rochester following Monday’s debacle in the Bronx. LHP Gabriel Moya has also joined Rochester this week. In four appearances (4 innings), Busenitz allowed three runs on eight hits with seven strikeouts and two walks. Moya made five appearances and allowed six runs on six hits including three home runs.

Tyler Kinley was a Rule 5 Draft pick but he has mostly been used in mop-up duty so far this year. Even in these low-leverage situations, he has surrendered nine runs in 3 1/3 innings. The Twins might not be able to hide him in the bullpen for much longer. Trevor Hildenberger was great at the end of last season but he has struggled in 2018. Through 9 2/3 innings, he has surrendered five earned runs and has a six to four strikeout to walk ratio.

Reevaluating Rochester
Tyler Duffey was announced as the roster replacement for Busenitz. Duffey made four appearances at Triple-A and he was asked to pitch more than one inning in every outing. He pitched three innings or more in three of his four appearances. Duffey hasn’t allowed an earned run so far this season and he has 14 strikeouts in 11 innings. Opponents are hitting .086/.108/.114 so he should be a welcome addition to the bullpen.

Two other promotion candidates are John Curtiss and Aaron Slegers. Curtiss has put together a strong track record in the minor leagues with plenty of late-inning experience. Last season between Chattanooga and Rochester, he had a 1.28 ERA with 68 strikeouts in 49.1 innings. This year he’s allowed three runs in seven innings with 12 strikeouts. Slegers has been utilized as a starter for Rochester this season. He’s made three starts (18.0 innings) and allowed four earned runs.

If the Twins are going to add another bullpen arm, Curtiss seems the most likely candidate. Phil Hughes might be a candidate to move to the bullpen and Slegers could fill his spot at the back of the rotation. Slegers could slide into a long relief role because Minnesota is probably going to stick with their current starting staff.

Prepping for Prospects
Some of the team’s top prospects might also be getting closer to making their big league debuts. Fernando Romero has been impressive so far this season at Rochester. In three appearances (two starts), he has a 1.69 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP. Stephen Gonsalves continues to thrive for Chattanooga. In 15.1 innings, he has allowed three earned runs (two home runs) with a 0.98 WHIP. Both players are on the 40-man roster so that makes a call-up a little easier.

For position players, Zack Granite made multiple appearances with the Twins last season. So far with Rochester, he’s gone 5-for-31 and added eight walks. Unfortunately, he was placed on the disabled list this past weekend with a right shoulder contusion. Nick Gordon has been hitting well at Chattanooga to start the season. Through the team’s first 17 games, he is batting .375/.382/.578 with seven extra-base hits and a 10 to 2 strikeout to walk ratio.

Jorge Polanco’s suspension might have opened a window for Gordon. He isn’t on the team’s 40-man roster so that complicates his call-up situation. That being said, Gordon should debut at some point in 2018 and he could be a boost to the lineup.

How would you reshuffle the lineup? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

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#2 mikelink45

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Posted 24 April 2018 - 07:02 PM

Yes - tomorrow.Free Agents are always answers to our needs - remember Darvish, maybe the Cubs will let us take over his contract.Give me Gonsalves and Romero - now.Hughes is owed big money, so what.How much does it cost to lose.

 

Granite is out, Grossman should be.I want Wade.

 

I do not see a rescue for the bullpen.Try Curtiss.

 

And Gordon should have been here when the suspension was put in.Why wait?

 


#3 Buford_T_Justice

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Posted 24 April 2018 - 07:21 PM

Buxton replaces Grossman, and Santana replaces Hughes eventually. Not counting on May to be anywhere near what he was, but it’s nice to dream.

Can Gordon play 3rd? If so, move Sano to DH and Morrison to bench bat. Grossman is odd man out.

#4 drock2190

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Posted 24 April 2018 - 07:48 PM

Darvish and Cobb have been particulary putrid early this year. 

 

Can you imagine a world where the Twins had deep pockets and were able to sign Darvish and Cobb to go alongside with Lynn, Morrison and Rodney??!

 

This place would be unbearable!!

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#5 Rosterman

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Posted 24 April 2018 - 08:10 PM

You hope it is just growing pains after all those days off and playing against some hungry teams themselves. But, yes, the pitching, which started the season well, is quite putrid. It is bad when the bullpen gives up more runs than the rotation, no matter how you look at it.

 

And the offense. Batters protecting each other? Non-existent. Base stealing? Putting the ball in play (strikeout king Sano!). You want Sano to find a grove, Morrison to stop pressing.....

 

Why not use Rodney and Duke in any of these blowouts? Not like they are the pressure guys fer sure.

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#6 Danchat

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Posted 24 April 2018 - 08:13 PM

 

Darvish and Cobb have been particulary putrid early this year. 

 

Can you imagine a world where the Twins had deep pockets and were able to sign Darvish and Cobb to go alongside with Lynn, Morrison and Rodney??!

 

This place would be unbearable!!

Wow, Cobb giving up 15 runs in 2 starts is pretty bad... but yeah, the pitchforks would be out if they signed Darvish, even though he's only 4 starts in.

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#7 Old Twins Cap

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Posted 24 April 2018 - 08:20 PM

Played the fewest games, seen the fewest pitches, pitched the fewest innings.

 

Maybe this will go away with a larger sample.But....

 

Still painful to be a fan of this team at this point.

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#8 Luke Albrecht

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Posted 24 April 2018 - 08:31 PM

Getting Buxton back in center will certainly help. Kinley has to go. I'd love to see Romero come up in a relief role till we need another starter. I've never been a big Grossman guy, especially now that he's playing in the field on a regular basis. It's too bad Granite's hurt, he would be a perfect guy to replace Robbie. I'm surprised I haven't heard Jake Cave mentioned at all, but that's probably a combination of the from office liking Grossman a lot more than I do and Cave's .175 AVG.


#9 Shaitan

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Posted 24 April 2018 - 08:38 PM

Quality starts are a terribly named statistic, but probably the most important. Any bullpen does okay if the starters can consistently give you 6 innings. The Twins need one more starter. I wish I knew who it was, since Romero is on an innings limit this year. Maybe Romero can start now and move to the pen when Santana returns or something.

 

The offense is another situation. They'll get it going, but it's painful to wait.


#10 Shaitan

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Posted 24 April 2018 - 08:39 PM

 

The offense is another situation. They'll get it going, but it's painful to wait.

 

I would like to see Kepler and Morrison switched in the lineup though.


#11 yarnivek1972

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Posted 24 April 2018 - 08:58 PM

You hope it is just growing pains after all those days off and playing against some hungry teams themselves. But, yes, the pitching, which started the season well, is quite putrid. It is bad when the bullpen gives up more runs than the rotation, no matter how you look at it.

And the offense. Batters protecting each other? Non-existent. Base stealing? Putting the ball in play (strikeout king Sano!). You want Sano to find a grove, Morrison to stop pressing.....

Why not use Rodney and Duke in any of these blowouts? Not like they are the pressure guys fer sure.

{begin rant}

IMO, it is time to stop using the postponements as an excuse. The Twins have basically played a regular schedule for a week now. The offense has looked terrible in 5 of the 7 games.

Outside of Berrios who ran into a hammer of a lineup, the starters have been beyond dreadful as a whole. Way too many pitches outside the strike zone. Way too much solid contact on balls in the zone. Twins fans may have to acknowledge that the reason Odorizzi and Lynn came so cheap is because they aren’t that good. Sure, they are better than some of the deadbeats the Twins trotted out last year like Santiago and Turley but that really isn’t saying much.

Other than Reed and Pressly, the pen might be worse than last year, and that is saying something. At least last year when the Twins went to the 9th with a lead, they won nearly all the games.

The Twins only hope IMO is for Erv to come back and pitch like he did last year. If he does not, the Twins will be buried by July.

Here’s a serious question: Does Sano have an option remaining? Maybe a couple weeks down in Rochester will wake him up to the fact that no one is guaranteed a job at the MLB level unless they perform. I’m not questioning effort or conditioning as some here have. But the results don’t lie. The guy is not getting better. He’s getting worse. That’s a BIG problem for this organization. If he doesn’t become an upper echelon middle of the order hitter soon, the Twins chances for a championship with this core of players is next to zero IMO.

Call up Petit. He’s played some 3b at the MLB level, although it might make more sense to slot him at SS and slide Escobar to 3b. It would require a 40 man move, but that’s fine. I’m more than done with the Tyler Kinley experiment.

That brings up another point. As far as I can tell, the only position players on the 40 man who are not currently on the 25 man are Buxton, Cave and Granite, all of whom are outfielders. What exactly does Falvine plan to do WHEN (not IF) an infielder gets hurt? Or a catcher? I don’t think the Twins have ever not had a third catcher on the 40 man before this year. Poor roster management yet again. {end rant}

Edited by yarnivek1972, 24 April 2018 - 09:00 PM.

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#12 Danchat

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Posted 24 April 2018 - 09:24 PM

 

What exactly does Falvine plan to do WHEN (not IF) an infielder gets hurt? Or a catcher? I don’t think the Twins have ever not had a third catcher on the 40 man before this year. Poor roster management yet again. {end rant}

If an infielder gets hurt, Adrianza becomes a starter (unless it's 1B) and Petit probably gets added to the 40 man roster. If a catcher gets hurt, they'll choose between Bobby Wilson and Williams Astudillo. Polanco will be back in two months. Most teams don't have much depth at catcher. These depth issues are the least of the Twins' problems right now.

Edited by Danchat, 24 April 2018 - 09:24 PM.

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#13 KirbyDome89

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Posted 24 April 2018 - 09:28 PM

 

Free Agents are always answers to our needs - remember Darvish, maybe the Cubs will let us take over his contract.  

I'd gladly swap Lynn, Morrison, Duke, and Rodney for Darvish if Chicago was willing.

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#14 killertwinfan

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Posted 25 April 2018 - 05:49 AM

The 162 game season give managers and the FO the option to ride out slumps and delay tough decisions.But these games do matter.We played 163 games last year and have the potential for another tight race this year, so how much longer do you wait for Sano, Groosman, Morrison, Castro, Garver and others to play better? (pitching is a another discussion) I don't like what is happening so far and the corresponding moves should send messages to fledgling players sooner rather than later.There is not much help bat wise in the minors unless you reach further down to Chattanooga. Maybe giving Gordon, Austudillo,an audition while you bench Morrison, Grossman, Castro or Garver and even Sano is in order.  


#15 JaleelWhite FanClub

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Posted 25 April 2018 - 07:40 AM

 

Getting Buxton back in center will certainly help. 

 

Until he grabs a bat.


#16 Doctor Wu

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Posted 25 April 2018 - 07:46 AM

I'm not in a panic mode yet, but ugghh ... what a discouraging week. Getting swept by Tampa Bay was pathetic. The offense looks impotent and the pitching hasn't been so hot either. Maybe having Buxton healthy and playing well will help things, but that alone won't cure all the various concerns this team has.

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#17 slash129

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Posted 25 April 2018 - 08:50 AM

Expectations for this year were too high.Time for a reset.

 

Things to be excited about:

 

1) Berrios:He still has some edges to grind down, but he's an appointment player.

 

2) Kepler looks to be breaking out.Hopefully, he'll be batting 2-4 for most of the rest of the season.

 

3) A chance to see the next wave of talent.Don't get overly excited about any single one of them, because they aren't all going to light it up or even work out.

 

4) Trade deadline.Although I'm not looking forward to this, because I'm still in the Dozier-for-life camp, and I'd like to see Escobar stick around as well.However, the Twins have assets that should be relatively easy to move regardless of return (They're all darts anyway).

 

5) Joe Mauer.This one is sure to be polarizing, but he still takes better PAs than most do most of the time.

 

6) Rooting for Yankee demise.Go Red Sox!!

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#18 Huddy

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Posted 25 April 2018 - 09:29 AM

 

Expectations for this year were too high.Time for a reset.

 

Things to be excited about:

 

1) Berrios:He still has some edges to grind down, but he's an appointment player.

 

2) Kepler looks to be breaking out.Hopefully, he'll be batting 2-4 for most of the rest of the season.

 

3) A chance to see the next wave of talent.Don't get overly excited about any single one of them, because they aren't all going to light it up or even work out.

 

4) Trade deadline.Although I'm not looking forward to this, because I'm still in the Dozier-for-life camp, and I'd like to see Escobar stick around as well.However, the Twins have assets that should be relatively easy to move regardless of return (They're all darts anyway).

 

5) Joe Mauer.This one is sure to be polarizing, but he still takes better PAs than most do most of the time.

 

6) Rooting for Yankee demise.Go Red Sox!!

I started listening to the Section 10 podcast just because they rip on the yankee's constantly. F*** em.


#19 Mike Sixel

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Posted 25 April 2018 - 09:55 AM

I don't know if there are many options to bring up players right now. Probably a RP for kinley, one who can be sent back down if needed, but other than that? This is the roster.

Oh, and someone for Hughes. I'd go Mejia. For sure
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One of the best opening day rosters in years. Now go get 'em.


#20 jtkoupal

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Posted 25 April 2018 - 11:36 AM

It won't happen until June 1 at the earliest, but I would like the idea of moving Hughes into the long relief role and calling up Romero to be the #5 starter. Hughes is a better option for long relief than Kinley, who is the odd man out in this scenario.

 

Let's not forget, too, that Buxton will likely be back in the near future. This likely puts an end to Ryan LaMarre's stint in Minnesota.

 

For now, Robbie Grossman and Logan Morrison are safe. Grossman can get on base and will start to heat up. Morrison is notoriously a slow starter, and I anticipate his bat will heat up. Let's also consider the lack of alternatives. And if you say "call up Kennys Vargas," well, just don't say it and it won't be an issue. Cool? Cool.

 

In short, this is the transactions:

 

GONE: Tyler Kinley

CALL UP: Fernando Romero

**Phil Huges to the bullpen**

ACTIVATE: Byron Buxton

OPTION: Ryan LaMarre

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