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Twins next roster move  

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  1. 1. When Sanó is healthy, what will/should the Twins' next roster move be?

    • Option Alex Kirilloff
      0
    • Option Jake Cave
      25
    • Option Kyle Garlick
      14
    • Option Willians Astudillo
      0
    • Demote (or place on IL) a pitcher
      4
    • Send Sanó on a rehab assignment
      29
    • Find an injury
      5


The reports are that Miguel Sanó is about ready to come off the injured list. Sanó was one of the major disappointments of April, logging a .111 batting average and .555 OPS. The Twins are otherwise as close to full strength as they have been since the first inning of the first game of the season. Among the position players, the club has switched out Ben Rortvedt for the struggling Ryan Jeffers and added Alex Kirilloff to essentially take Sanó's spot. Kirilloff is an outfielder/first baseman. He's logged most of his minor league innings in right field, then first base and lastly left field. 

 

The question on many Twins fans' minds is what the team will do next and the followup is what they should do next. Here are my thoughts in no particular order on the possible scenarios for the Twins next move:

 

1) Option Kirilloff back to the minor leagues. It has been an interesting ten days for the Twins former #1 draft choice. Alex Kirilloff is hitting .184 with only one walk and 11 strikeouts in 40 plate appearances. He's got two singles, a double and four homers and has a BABIP of .125. Kirilloff isn't going to homer once per 10 plate appearances, but he also isn't going to keep hitting the ball this hard and not find the grass for singles and doubles. Next to signing the other Alex (Columé) to an extension, I think the most unpopular move the Twins' front office could make would be to demote Kirilloff. 

 

2) Option Jake Cave to St. Paul. With Kirilloff's emergence, Jake Cave won't be getting much playing time. Cave is a capable outfielder, who has been the manager's choice to fill in for Buxton in center field whenever Buck has been unable to play. Cave runs pretty well and in his career has hit right handed pitching quite well. The numbers this year and last have been poor, however. Max Kepler has played a lot of center field and could cover for Buxton for a short absence. I think this is the popular choice with the Twins' fan base.

 

3) Option Kyle Garlick to St. Paul. Garlick had a strong spring training and won a spot on the Opening Day roster as a backup corner outfielder who would get his chances versus left handed pitching. The early results were promising, but Garlick first slowed and then was placed on the COVID list. He's had only one start since being reinstated and was hitless. Garlick's strength is hitting, particularly against lefties. From a roster makeup point of view, it makes sense to have somebody who might pound LH pitching as a backup outfielder, since Kirilloff, Kepler, Cave and Arraez all hit left handed and it would appear that all are vulnerable to same side pitchers. 

 

4) Option Willians Astudillo to St. Paul. The short, stout pony-tailed Turtle is popular and totally exasperating. We know La Tortuga will grab a glove and play anywhere. For a guy with that body, he does okay wherever he is put in the field and he is insurance so that the team can hit or run for their catchers. Astudillo will get some hits, no walks and lots of first-pitch popups, but he doesn't strike out either. Again, given this roster's construction, it probably makes sense to have a versatile right handed hitter as a bench player. 

 

5) Demote a pitcher (or place him on IL). That would mean going with 11 pitchers--what a concept. Oldtimers like me can remember going with nine-man pitching staffs and four-man rotations. That's not going to happen, but going one pitcher short for a few days could work. I doubt this front office would take that "risk" and they probably are correct. 

 

6) Send Sanó on a rehab assignment. Sanó has been out less than two weeks, but always seems to take a while to find his swing. It would be a de facto demotion for the Twins' slugger, but it would buy time for the team to figure out how to proceed. 

 

7) Find an injury. Someone who has been underperforming or who might otherwise be demoted might have a sore pinky or nerve irritation in their non-throwing arm. All the clubs do it to some degree and if the Twins don't want to burn an option on a player, they well may find an injury.

 

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Rehab assignment delays the decision but probably would be beneficial to Sano with MiLB starting play this week. Let Sano have some success at lower level before back to Twins. Kirilloff looks good at 1B, no way Twins send him down. My choice would be Cave, keep Garlick for LH pitchers as well as Astudillo-I am not a huge fan but he can play multiple positions and another RH bat against LH pitchers.

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What value is Cave adding to the Twins right now? The Twins have OF lefties Kepler and Kirilloff and OF righties Buxton and Garlick. Kepler(and probably Garlick) could play CF if Buxton needs a break. Time to end the Caveman's journey with the Twins. 

His usefulness on the roster is definitely limited but it's apparent the team wants a CF option on the team beyond Kepler. 

 

It'd be nice if they had either a better defensive option, a right-handed option, or both.

 

But that has been the case since Cave joined the roster.

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Option Cave and Garlick, call up Broxton, release Colome. I think this team needs some speed and defense.

It'd be foolish to release Colome, as he's been very good for a very long time and you're paying him either way. The chance of rebounding to at least a serviceable bullpen arm is quite high.

 

Flip him to the IL before releasing him if he's not right for whatever reason.

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His usefulness on the roster is definitely limited but it's apparent the team wants a CF option on the team beyond Kepler. 

 

It'd be nice if they had either a better defensive option, a right-handed option, or both.

 

But that has been the case since Cave joined the roster.

Broxton is the answer, at least for this season.

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Broxton is the answer, at least for this season.

I think I agree, though I'm not ready to cut bait on Cave quite yet. I'd like to see if he rebounds a bit (he had a really nice week two weeks ago) and let Broxton get some playing time in St Paul before making an irreversible decision (I think Cave is out of options).

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I think I agree, though I'm not ready to cut bait on Cave quite yet. I'd like to see if he rebounds a bit (he had a really nice week two weeks ago) and let Broxton get some playing time in St Paul before making an irreversible decision (I think Cave is out of options).

 

Yes, if Garlick has options and Cave doesn't, optioning the former seems the no-brainer. With Sano as the preferred 1B and Kirilloff added to the OF mix, whichever remains between Garlick and Cave becomes the 5th OF and should be getting Garlick-level numbers of at bats.

 

I don't think you bring up Broxton before he gets at least a handful of at bats against live pitching, and being at St. Paul would actually give Garlick the chance for more at bats.

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Yes, if Garlick has options and Cave doesn't, optioning the former seems the no-brainer. With Sano as the preferred 1B and Kirilloff added to the OF mix, whichever remains between Garlick and Cave becomes the 5th OF and should be getting Garlick-level numbers of at bats.

 

I don't think you bring up Broxton before he gets at least a handful of at bats against live pitching, and being at St. Paul would actually give Garlick the chance for more at bats.

Agreed. It’s the beginning of May; making decisions you can’t take back can become really problematic later in the season, especially because we’re still dealing with very small sample sizes for backup players. I’m all in favor of heavily adjusting playing time but not quite ready to start waiving players the team might need in two months.
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In that case, I'd probably demote him.

 

Also, how does he still have two option years left?

I thought the Yankees used an option on him, but they added him to their 40 man in Nov 2017 and DFA’d him March 2018.

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With Arraez exiting yesterday's game due to possible concussion symptoms, it seems possible that placing him on the concussion list will leave a spot open for Sanó. That would mean that the Twins' middle infield depth is............Willians Astudillo. Not a solution long-term, but possible for a week or so.

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With Arraez exiting yesterday's game due to possible concussion symptoms, it seems possible that placing him on the concussion list will leave a spot open for Sanó. That would mean that the Twins' middle infield depth is............Willians Astudillo. Not a solution long-term, but possible for a week or so.

Or the Twins could bring up Gordon again. Clearly they aren't confident in that option since he never played when he was up with the team earlier. I would love to see what Gordon can do though. 

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Or the Twins could bring up Gordon again. Clearly they aren't confident in that option since he never played when he was up with the team earlier. I would love to see what Gordon can do though. 

I had the same thought, but also share the Twins' apparent skepticism about Gordon's abilities. In particular, I don't think the Twins view him as a shortstop. 

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Or the Twins could bring up Gordon again. Clearly they aren't confident in that option since he never played when he was up with the team earlier. I would love to see what Gordon can do though. 

 

Wasn't he only up for 1 day until Simmons came back?  If Arraez does need a week off having Willians as the only player that that backs up SS and 2B is pretty worrisome and I'd probably get Gordon up.

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Yes, if Garlick has options and Cave doesn't, optioning the former seems the no-brainer. With Sano as the preferred 1B and Kirilloff added to the OF mix, whichever remains between Garlick and Cave becomes the 5th OF and should be getting Garlick-level numbers of at bats.

 

I don't think you bring up Broxton before he gets at least a handful of at bats against live pitching, and being at St. Paul would actually give Garlick the chance for more at bats.

 

Optioning Garlick takes away a RH hitter that has had success in his big league career against lefties, which the Twins need. I don't think that's a no-brainer at all. The Twins would be at a disadvantage if their OF options consisted of 4 lefties (Arraez, Kirilloff, Kepler, and Cave) and only 1 righty (Buxton). Cave makes the most sense to get rid of because the Twins already have a surplus of LH OFs.

 

I don't really get the love affair people have with Cave. The guy is a below average player in pretty much every aspect of the game. If the Twins really need another CF just call up Broxton, because at least then you'll have some good speed and defense to work with. 

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I had the same thought, but also share the Twins' apparent skepticism about Gordon's abilities. In particular, I don't think the Twins view him as a shortstop.

As a short term fix, they don’t need a SS with Simmons and Polanco already on the roster. It’s not something you want to do for 2-3 weeks but they could get by doing that for one week or so.
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"Kirilloff, Kepler, Cave and Arraez all hit left handed and it would appear that all are vulnerable to same side pitchers."

 

I am going to have to disagree with 2 of those players.  Kirilloff and Arraez to be specific.  First, Kirilloff has only had a few at-bats against lefties but he is doing just fine in the 10 he has had.  Hitting .300 with a 1.000 OPS.  Yes only 10, but to conclude, like you did, that he is vulnerable is not back upped by current data. Unless, you have data from his minor league numbers that he cannot hit lefties you are just assuming he will not.  

 

Arraez does drop off in his splits, but he still does fine enough against them, getting on base at .366 clip.  

 

Garlick career against lefties is, .764 OPS, which is over .100 points more than Arraez, but it is not like Garlick has crazy career numbers against lefties that he would be a no brainer to play over Kirilloff or Arraez every game. 

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Sano, Sano, Sano. 

 

He's our third baseman. So we don't need anyone new there. We got Donaldson. Okau, Sano to first.

 

Sano as a DH, but wait, we got Cruz.

 

So Sano at first.

 

Remember Sano bombed in the outfield.

 

But go look at his stats. How many games he plays. He can hit homeruns, but so can other guys.

 

Kirilloff is the first baseman of the future, assuming Larnach is on the cusp, Buxton is longterm, and Kepler remains a Twin.

 

At some point the Twins need to part ways with Sano. It would be nice if he was actually worth something in the trade market?!

 

Does he have any minor league options? I think not. Also he has five years of service. 

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"Kirilloff, Kepler, Cave and Arraez all hit left handed and it would appear that all are vulnerable to same side pitchers."

 

I am going to have to disagree with 2 of those players.  Kirilloff and Arraez to be specific.  First, Kirilloff has only had a few at-bats against lefties but he is doing just fine in the 10 he has had.  Hitting .300 with a 1.000 OPS.  Yes only 10, but to conclude, like you did, that he is vulnerable is not back upped by current data. Unless, you have data from his minor league numbers that he cannot hit lefties you are just assuming he will not.  

 

Arraez does drop off in his splits, but he still does fine enough against them, getting on base at .366 clip.  

 

Garlick career against lefties is, .764 OPS, which is over .100 points more than Arraez, but it is not like Garlick has crazy career numbers against lefties that he would be a no brainer to play over Kirilloff or Arraez every game. 

 

Pretty SSS for Alex in the majors.  In 2019, which was is his only competition above A ball, the splits are pretty pronounced as he only hit .244/.301/.333 against lefties compared to .302/.363/.452  against right handed pitching.  A healthy Sano makes a pretty nice platoon partner with Alex if he continues to hit.

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I don't think we should platoon Kirilloff, at least not yet. He just came up, has had some success and not surprisingly some failures, and so far has looked like he can stand in and hold his own against LH pitching. We need to give him a chance ot show that he can be an everyday OF against all kinds of pitching. That's what we need, not more platoon players. I say he plays every day unless adn until he falls off a cliff iwth the bat so we can see the possibilities. I strongly disagree with platooning him.

 

To me the question is obvious when Sano comes back - do you take ABs away from Sano or Kepler?   Arraez can play LF with Kiriloff at 1B, Arraez can play LF or RF with Sano at 1B, and Arraez can play 2B or 3B when both play Kepler has been given a chance to hit LH pitching, but hasn't been able to do so except for 2019 so he can be a platoon player. I understand the concerns about a backup CF with Buxton so brittle but I would call up Broxton or keep Garlick over keeping Cave on the MLB roster. My steps:

 

1.   Activate, Sano, send down Cave.

2.   Decide if you like Garlick or Broxton as your 4th OF and put that person on the MLB roster. 

3.   Play Kirilloff almost every day. Bench Kepler against most LH pitching. Kiriloff plays LF most days and he or Arraez plays RF when Kepler is on the bench. Sano gets his days off against RH pitching, with Kiriloff or Arraez at 1B when he sits. I would leave Kiriloff at one spot (LF) and have Arraezx move around if we think he can play 1B.   

4.   Garlick/Broxton plays 2-3 days a week against mostly LH pitching and to give Buxton/ Cruz/ Donaldson days off with Arraez moving around.   

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"Kirilloff, Kepler, Cave and Arraez all hit left handed and it would appear that all are vulnerable to same side pitchers."

 

I am going to have to disagree with 2 of those players.  Kirilloff and Arraez to be specific.  First, Kirilloff has only had a few at-bats against lefties but he is doing just fine in the 10 he has had.  Hitting .300 with a 1.000 OPS.  Yes only 10, but to conclude, like you did, that he is vulnerable is not back upped by current data. Unless, you have data from his minor league numbers that he cannot hit lefties you are just assuming he will not.  

 

Arraez does drop off in his splits, but he still does fine enough against them, getting on base at .366 clip.  

 

Garlick career against lefties is, .764 OPS, which is over .100 points more than Arraez, but it is not like Garlick has crazy career numbers against lefties that he would be a no brainer to play over Kirilloff or Arraez every game. 

Almost every LHB in MLB history is vulnerable to LHP, at least relative to their performance versus RHP.

 

Kirilloff's minor league OPS versus LHP, at a glance, appears to be slightly >.100 lower than his OPS against RHP.

 

Which is pretty normal and expected. Even the mighty Barry Bonds had a .100 point lower OPS against LHP.

 

As for Arraez, his gap is huge... a .235 point OPS difference between RHP and LHP in his career.

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