To me, I think you see Austin in that 25th man spot... and I'm not losing sleep over that, as Rocco will always have a decent bat on the bench for strategic purposes. Willins can be called up if someone gets hurt, and that goes back to your point of him needing to earn it... He WILL have opportunities to do so this season.
Now that said, if you give the slot to Willins and (presumably cut someone else such as say Austin) and someone gets hurt (say Cruz or Cron)... then who do you call up? I agree with you that I don't want to see Adrianza getting 300 ABs this year. If that happens, it won't be because they didn't put Astrudillo on the 25 man out of ST. It will likely be because they cut someone that they shouldn't have and don't have a stop gap in the minors.
I've got zero problems with Astrudillo on the Rochester shuttle. It solves your first concern (that he needs to earn it) and gives us more flexibility... not less. That's using an option wisely so that you effectively have 26 on your 25 man roster.
I can't stress this enough. I don't believe in a "25th man spot" and refuse to designate someone in that sense. I only see roster spots. Tyler Austin would have a roster spot and the right to compete for as much playing time as he earns in comparison with his teammates.
I believe that as soon as you designate someone for a 25th roster spot role, or designate anyone for reduced playing time and then subsequently give them one of the 25 man roster spot. You've blown it before the season even starts. The reason is real simple... we can count on someone (usually multiple players) from the "projected starting 9" to either get hurt or struggle.
I have probably the same concerns with Adrianaza as you do by my concerns will manifest themselves differently. I'm saying that Adrianaza BETTER GET 300 AB's if you give him a roster spot or you have wasted that roster spot. With Adrianaza... I don't know if he is the guy I would have chose for a roster spot but if the front office has chosen him.... they must believe in him... now they must provide ample opportunity for him to justify the selection. They could have traded for someone like Profar or signed someone like Lowrie or Tulo but they didn't... instead they offered a contract to Adrianaza early.
I will wait until the off-season is complete to see how the roster shapes up... I will also wait past that... right into the season before I make any judgements What I don't ever want to see again... Is struggling players playing every day like they are Mike Trout. And I especially don't want to ever hear again... "we have to play the struggling player every day because all we have is Ryan Lamarre.
I got beat up last year by posters... I was accused of being a Ryan Lamarre bobo. My point about Ryan Lamarre was consistent... You gave him a roster spot with whatever methodology that I don't have access to... He's gathering dust on the bench and we have players who suck right now playing every day. Play him or cut him. Quit wasting precious 25 man roster space with players that you don't want to play. And rostering a player with the intention of playing in a diminished role is a player that you don't want to play.
I've looked at playing time allocation and roster management for the Twins over the past decade. I studied it and I looked at again... 3 4 5 times and came to the same conclusion each time.
The Twins consistently reward Average to Below Average to Bad Players with everyday playing time when they should be competing for that playing time. This fundamental issue has slowed our rebuild to a crawl. The reason it's crawling is because nobody is increasing in value.
Just look and see what we got back for the limited trades we made. It's a laundry list of names who became nothing. Look at what our departing free agents got for contracts and how soon they were out of baseball after being everyday players for us.
We got nothing of value to trade... we have no room for rookies to play and increase in value because we have been blocked up with 9 starting AVERAGE baseball players.
I'm saying that if you are going to take this approach with the average baseball player. You need more of them... Don't go average one at a time with a starting 9... You need to flood it and reward the best performer. That's how you find Astudillo and Cave. That's how you find Chris Taylor, Max Muncy, Justin Turner, Kike Hernandez, JD Martinez, David Ortiz. That's how you stop Logan Morrison from playing every day... that's how you become bullet proof and how you stop yourself from going down with the ship.
Speaking of Astudillo... Yep... we agree 100%. He has options... players with options remaining allows you to keep the player close by while you give a player without options a chance. Players with options remaining should blow the doors down before you waste that potential depth. Because either Castro or Garver is going to get hurt and someone needs to show up from Rochester and it better not be Bobby Wilson.
One last thing... I'm still thinking of Ash's word "Appreciably" from an earlier post. We all seem to imagine in our head the starting 9 playing "Appreciably" better than the others. In the past decade... how often have we had starting players performing "Appreciably" better. There's been a few but not that many. Certainly miles from close enough to ever think we have this "STARTING 9" thing down to a science".
Alright... i feel better. Til next time. I'll be back with this again I'm sure.