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40 Man Roster Management October Update


Danchat
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Over the summer we analyzed the Twins' 40 man roster and what moves would have to be made to protect the right prospects and which fringe players to keep. Now that the season is nearly over, let's have a look at the updated 40 man roster (which is now at 49 with all the guys on the 60 day IL!), sorted by category.

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Some topics worth discussing:

  • Where does Arraez end up? Playing LF and 3B seems to be harming his value, and Polanco should have 2B locked down. Would it make sense to trade him?
  • John Gant, from what I've seen, will be maximized as a reliever rather than a starter. After a disastrous start, the Twins' bullpen has covered the middle innings well, so is Gant superfluous? 
  • Speaking of 'middle' relief, I am hesitant to give up on Stashak after he was a strong cog in the system in 2019 and 2020. I also think Edwar Colina is too talented to try and sneak through waivers. Griffin Jax's only path to being a MLB pitcher might be through the pen. How many middling relievers should be retained on the 40 man to pitch the middle innings?

Here's what I will be rolling with for my 40 man roster in preparation for free agency and the Rule 5 draft:

#1-26: All the Locks

#27: Cody Stashak - I can't give up on him yet, and his peripherals in 2021 suggested he was prime for positive regression. He won't have a lot of rope in 2022, however.

#28: Nick Gordon - He has shown enough as a bench bat and utility player to be worth a roster spot. It's nice to finally have base-stealing speed on the bench. But many questions loom - will he ever be able to handle SS and will he develop any power?

#29 - 34: Rule 5 protections in Lewis, Miranda, Winder, Enlow, Sands, and Palacios. IMO Enlow is too good to expose to R5, unlike Nick Burdi was several years back. He won't be placed on the 60 day IL as he would receive MLB pay and service time, so he will just take up a 40 man roster spot all season. Palacios is the one borderline guy I will keep, as from what I've read he can handle SS and he's hit well at AA. With Gordon unlikely to be trusted as the backup SS, I wonder if Palacios could fill that role further down the road.

As for the other prospects, I simply don't value Severino as highly as others. He likely lands at 2B, and while he's had a breakout year with the bat, his power still hasn't developed. If someone claims a 22 year old from A+ with a nondescript track record... well, I can live with that. Vallimont has not been good at AA and should be moved to the bullpen. Javier just can't hit. Funderburk intrigues me, but probably ends up as a reliever if he makes it to the majors. Rijo has been hurt most the year, like most of our pitching prospects.

The rest of these spots are placeholders for trade targets/free agents/wavier claims:

#35: Brent Rooker - I don't think Rooker has a long future in the majors, though there is reason to believe that there is something more diving into the numbers - see bean5301's article on that here. 

#36: Griffin Jax - I like that the Twins gave Jax a chance, but he has failed to show promise. Just maybe he can work as a long reliever, but I wouldn't save him a spot on the 40 man for that.

#37: Juan Minaya - He's pitched far better than expected, but I see regression coming. I think the Twins could DFA him and bring him back on a minor league deal instead of going through arbitration.

#38: Devin Smeltzer - He was only hitting 87/88 MPH before having a UCL tear. We need starting pitching depth, but I am unsure whether Smezlter will still be up to the task.

#39: Ralph Garza - The waiver claim hasn't been half bad, but there's also little upside here. He could sneak through waivers.

#40:  Kyle Garlick - His ability to rake against lefties is nice, but he's been awful against righties and is already turning 30. He will be the first to be DFA'd.

 

Other Notes:

Pineda is a candidate to re-sign, but that probably won't happen until later, probably past the Rule 5 draft.

Maeda can be placed on the 60 day IL to save a spot when Spring Training starts, or sometime around then (if I remember right).

MLB is probably going to have a lockout in 2022, making this all moot. 😔

 

Let me know who you'd keep on your 40 man roster!

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Not to bag on Rooker, but what he brings to the table is exactly what the Twins already have too much of--a bat-first corner guy whose biggest strength is plus power. What the Twins need from their position players is more guys who can run and make contact and also play defense.

I was thinking that combining the strengths or Arraez and Gordon would make a wonderful tenth starter--Gordon's speed and ability to play some shortstop and center field combined with Arraez' OBP and bat-to-ball skills (plus some defensive versatility) make for a fine player who could fill in at several positions. 

Rooker hit nine homers in 213 plate appearances and somehow only drove in 16 runs. I know that RBI is an opportunity stat, but that number seems incredibly inefficient. There is probably some market for him and I would urge the team to trade him.

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I would probably not protect Palacios. There will be others available as free agents who are at least as likely to contribute.

I think I heard that Randy Dobnak could be outrighted and he would not have enough experience to become a free agent. I expect that to happen. He should be in the "middling" category with Jake Cave and Nick Gordon.

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Bullpen options: Minaya was very good. He throws 95-96 with the fastball and has developed trust in his changeup. I think he might have earned a spot on the 40-man. Garza's last outing was perhaps his worst as a Twin, but in his audition, he was pretty good, as well. He's under 30, but out of options. I guess I'd like to see if the Twins can sign him to a minor league contract. As noted, there will be guys added to the 60-day IL as soon as eligible, so a couple of guys on minor league contracts will be able to be added by Opening Day 2022.

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I don't think Garver is a lock next year. Neither is Sano, Buxton, Kepler, or Arraez in my view. Cave, Thorpe, and Smeltzer are all at serious risk of losing their spots, too, with Cave and Thorpe almost certainly gone. Pineda is the only one from your "Likely Gone" category that I think has a real chance to come back, and I think that really depends on what they get back from trading Garver, Sano, Buxton, Kepler, and/or Arraez as well as what the FO think of Jax and Barnes.

I wouldn't be surprised if all of your Rule 5 notable prospects get added, plus Palacios and Severino.

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2 hours ago, DJL44 said:

I would probably not protect Palacios. There will be others available as free agents who are at least as likely to contribute.

I think I heard that Randy Dobnak could be outrighted and he would not have enough experience to become a free agent. I expect that to happen. He should be in the "middling" category with Jake Cave and Nick Gordon.

That’s true, Dobnak would likely make it through waivers due to his guaranteed contract.

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12 hours ago, MMMordabito said:

Enlow could also be added to the 60-day IL once ST starts.  

Wouldn't that count as a year of service time for Enlow, then?

9 hours ago, DJL44 said:

I would probably not protect Palacios. There will be others available as free agents who are at least as likely to contribute.

That's fair, but I'd like this team to gain more depth at the position and I don't want to lose him in the Rule 5 draft. Yes, they will certainly sign a SS who will be the opening day starter in 2022, but I'd like to retain Palacios just in case. With as many injuries we had in 2021, you never know what'll happen next year. 

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The next CBA has a lot to do with this exercise.  Also whether the Twins extend Buxton.  If they don't and trade him this list will look a lot different with a good number of trades for the next group to be 2024 - 2026.  Expecting Buxton to be extended,

Rooker, Minaya, and Gordon are the only fringe prospect that i would keep to start.  Then add the 6 you need to add, and Palacios, Maybe Severino.  You could cut Dobnak, but if next CBA has a salary floor, I can see a Pittsburg or the like taking him. I like Garza jr. , Jax would probably not be claimed and if he is, not a big loss in the scheme of things.

Also do not see a lot of use for Gant, and hopefully a trade or two will thing things further.  Biggest blow up on this site would be if Vallimont taken in rule 5 and turns out to be a major league starter.

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I think the Twins should consider Arraez as the DH.  He does not bring DH type stats, but this allow him to play everyday where he uses his best asset, hitting.  I think with the roaming around the field and inconsistent batting appearances, he suffers a little.  He can still player other positions, but DH can be one of those positions.  Let hit hit and get on base and let the others display their power.   Too many solo HR's out there we need more 2 and 3 run homers.

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28 minutes ago, Russ said:

I think the Twins should consider Arraez as the DH.  He does not bring DH type stats, but this allow him to play everyday where he uses his best asset, hitting.  I think with the roaming around the field and inconsistent batting appearances, he suffers a little.  He can still player other positions, but DH can be one of those positions.  Let hit hit and get on base and let the others display their power.   Too many solo HR's out there we need more 2 and 3 run homers.

His best asset is clearly his versatility in the field. Take that away and he's mostly useless as a DH. He would have been worth less than 0.5 WAR this season as the DH. You really want to put Arraez at DH and keep Sano in the field?

 

Quote

You could cut Dobnak, but if next CBA has a salary floor, I can see a Pittsburg or the like taking him

You think the Twins could get that lucky?

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3 hours ago, beckmt said:

Also do not see a lot of use for Gant, and hopefully a trade or two will thing things further.  Biggest blow up on this site would be if Vallimont taken in rule 5 and turns out to be a major league starter.

 I could see a team turn Vallimont into a good reliever, but I just don't see starting in his future. Could be like losing Tyler Wells last year, though his numbers were significantly better.

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Pineda should be resigned. Minaya, Vincent, Garza Jr, Gordon, Stashak, Coulombe should be brought back. Strotman should be behind Jax and Barnes. I don't think he needs to be added to the 40 man roster.

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What scares me is that the Twins could into spring training with Maeda, Balazovic, Colina, Duran, Enlow open the 40-man roster, and be hard-pressed that any of them will be up with the team for even 50% of the season.

 

Throw in names like Winder, Gore...and will Moran rally step forward and break camp with the Twins...that's seven pitchers that you want to keep in the organization, one other go on the 60-day IL. None you would jettison for a minor league free agent signing. Throw in Ryan Mason as another consideration for a 40-man spot. 

 

Do you really see any of Barraclough, Hamilton, Farrell, Garza, Gant, Jax, Stashak, Thielbar, Smeltzer, Thorpe, Gibaut, Albers, Vincent, even Coulombe being grabbed by ANY team and given a 40-man roster spot? Sure, most of them will sign as minor league depth somewhere, and probably all of them would get a callup to the majors next season with someone, somewhere. But I'm sure the Twins can find similar names that other teams jettison to fill replacement value ranks on any or all of these guys.

 

But back to the first paragraphs...alot of young arms the Twins need to protect who DO have a chance to pitch for them in the future with better than average results. Would you rather see Enlow or Barnes or Strotman end up on another team, or any of the fringe min or league free agent signings that the Twins now have as roster placesetters?

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11 minutes ago, Rosterman said:

What scares me is that the Twins could into spring training with Maeda, Balazovic, Colina, Duran, Enlow open the 40-man roster, and be hard-pressed that any of them will be up with the team for even 50% of the season.

 

Throw in names like Winder, Gore...and will Moran rally step forward and break camp with the Twins...that's seven pitchers that you want to keep in the organization, one other go on the 60-day IL. None you would jettison for a minor league free agent signing. Throw in Ryan Mason as another consideration for a 40-man spot. 

 

Do you really see any of Barraclough, Hamilton, Farrell, Garza, Gant, Jax, Stashak, Thielbar, Smeltzer, Thorpe, Gibaut, Albers, Vincent, even Coulombe being grabbed by ANY team and given a 40-man roster spot? Sure, most of them will sign as minor league depth somewhere, and probably all of them would get a callup to the majors next season with someone, somewhere. But I'm sure the Twins can find similar names that other teams jettison to fill replacement value ranks on any or all of these guys.

 

But back to the first paragraphs...alot of young arms the Twins need to protect who DO have a chance to pitch for them in the future with better than average results. Would you rather see Enlow or Barnes or Strotman end up on another team, or any of the fringe min or league free agent signings that the Twins now have as roster placesetters?

Why do people believe in unproven player like Strotman? I would rather believe in Thielbar, Garza, Gant, Vincent and even Coulombe.

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7 hours ago, jun said:

Why do people believe in unproven player like Strotman? I would rather believe in Thielbar, Garza, Gant, Vincent and even Coulombe.

The above are you minor league filler.  Thielbar will be here, the rest may find opportunities with other or rebuilding clubs.  You must protect the future.  I know the Twins have several prospects injured, that is a bummer, but you have to deal with it and not give the future away.

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23 hours ago, stringer bell said:

Rooker hit nine homers in 213 plate appearances and somehow only drove in 16 runs. I know that RBI is an opportunity stat, but that number seems incredibly inefficient.

That's interesting. 8 of Rooker's 9 HR were of the solo variety. Here's the RBI breakdown from his B-Ref game log:

RBIs
in 213 PAs 16
Actual Runners on Base 110 (66-32-12)
Avg. MLBer w/ 213 PAs 25
Avg. Runners on Base 128 (65-42-21)

FWIW, the "average MLBer" (non-pitcher) also hit 7 HR per 213 PA, not far off from Rooker's 9.

Looks like Rooker didn't see quite as many runners in scoring position as the average hitter, but a .152/.263/.242 line (.506 OPS) with RISP didn't help either! Additionally, .133/220/.200 for a .420 OPS with runners on first.

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Always an interesting time of year.

I suspect the Twins are higher, much higher, on Jax than most of you here.  I also suspect that there is almost no likelihood that he would pass thru the Rule 5 draft.  A starting pitcher with big league experience and minimal experience leading up to this year.  That is the pitcher many clubs would be drooling over.

I suspect the only prospects that are added are the top 5 preferred prospects.  To open spots for them and the three or four free agent signings, several names are going to find themselves on the outside looking in.  I will be surprised if either Thorpe or Smeltzer are on the Twins 40-man come December 1.

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23 hours ago, Alex Schieferdecker said:

I'm pretty high on Jax as a reliever. He has been very good the first time through the order, and if only asked to pitch an inning at a time, I think his stuff would benefit from being dialed up a few degrees. I'd definitely keep him as a bullpen arm.

I think Jax made this impression in his first few starts, but I'm not sure that it held up as the season wore on.

Jax, 1st 5 MLB starts, first time through the order:
5 GS, 4 H, 0 XBH, 0 R, 3 BB, 0 HBP, 11 K

Jax, next 9 MLB starts, first time through the order:
9 GS, 12 H, 8 XBH (6 HR), 12 R, 6 BB, 2 HBP, 14 K

His 4 relief appearances don't help either, first time through the order:
4 G, 9 H, 3 XBH (2 HR), 5 R, 4 BB, 7 K

All told, he had a 5.39 FIP/xFIP the first time through the order this season, 5.10/5.36 after moving into the rotation.

Still a fairly small sample, and obviously it can't account for the potential of his stuff playing up in the pen, but it doesn't appear that he has shown any particular first time through the order ability thus far.

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31 minutes ago, roger said:

I suspect the Twins are higher, much higher, on Jax than most of you here.  I also suspect that there is almost no likelihood that he would pass thru the Rule 5 draft. 

Jax wouldn't be subject to the Rule 5 draft unless he cleared waivers and was outrighted off the 40-man roster. (But I agree, he'd almost certainly get claimed on waivers right now, if only to be waived again shortly thereafter by the claiming team.)

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14 hours ago, beckmt said:

The next CBA has a lot to do with this exercise.

The current CBA doesn't "expire" until Dec. 1st, so we'll have to set our 40-man for the Rule 5 draft by then anyway.

And that's not a hard expiration either -- the provisions of the current CBA stay in effect after its expiration as long as the parties are still bargaining toward the next one. I'd expect a new agreement sometime after the new year, before spring training begins.

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Mostly agree with the OP's projections, as things stand.

the adjustments are on the fringes: I think there's a real chance Javier & Vallimont get protected over Garza and Garlick. Garza at 27 as you note doesn't have a ton of upside and could sneak through waivers; he looks like one of those relievers that's pretty fungible from year to year. If he's hot, you can ride him for a while, but should also cut bait when he blows up. (which sucks for him to be so mercenary about it, but that's the reality with fringe bullpen guys). 

Javier plays SS at least adequately, so a rebuilding team might take a flyer on him in the Rule 5, whereas someone like Garlick is just a guy who could be re-signed to a minor league deal (and if not him, someone like him). Vallimont would probably get swept up by someone who would immediately put him in the 'pen and try and work on his command/control. Since I think he's almost a sure thing to get drafted in the Rule 5, I'd probably add him. That's where I see the "risk" on Rule V guys: upside arms with big K numbers that you could stash in a bullpen, and position players at a premium defensive spot: catcher, CF, and SS. A bad team could either run them out and hope they hit enough and a better team might just stash them on the bench for defense if it's good enough.

There's plenty of guys on the fringe though who could get dropped fairly painlessly when FA signings come flowing in.

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On 10/4/2021 at 10:09 AM, stringer bell said:

Garza's last outing was perhaps his worst as a Twin, but in his audition, he was pretty good, as well. He's under 30, but out of options.

Garza Jr. actually has 2 option years remaining. He wasn't added to a 40-man roster until May 2021, so this was his first option year. Not sure if that's enough to warrant sticking around on the 40-man roster, though. (He's gone unclaimed in the last three Rule 5 drafts.)

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