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With Buxton in center and Kepler in right, the Twins are set at two of the three outfield positions, Behind them, however, there is a notable gap, both offensively and defensively. Among the guys that manned the outfield last year are Nick Gordon, Kyle Garlick, Brent Rooker, Alex Kirilloff, Jake Cave and Trevor Larnach. Gordon is an infielder who was pressed into emergency service in the outfield. His defensive marks are so-so and offensively he was not great in about 200 plate appearances. Garlick logged about 100 plate appearances and did well against left handed pitching, his defense was satisfactory but uninspiring, and he even played center field a couple of games before going down with injury. Rooker got over 200 PAs and hit nine homers, but was brutal in the outfield and disappointing at the plate, although he did rake in AAA. Kirilloff was hampered by injury but showed enough to certainly be part of the Twins' plans for 2022, although his best defensive position is definitely first base. Larnach started well, got beat up and slumped at the plate. and finally was sent back to St. Paul. Cave is the most experienced of the candidates, but has struggled mightily the last two seasons after being a valuable fill-in and fourth outfielder in 2018-19. Cave also grades well in left field, but is stretched a bit in center.All but Garlick and Cave are high draft choices by the Twins. Gordon is out of options and Garlick and Cave are not on the 40-man roster. I really don't dislike Nick Gordon or Brent Rooker but I see no role for either of them on a 2022 Twins team that now looks like they want to wrest away the Central title from the White Sox or at least make the expanded playoffs. Among the right handed hitters, Garlick is a better fit for a contending team because he has favorable splits against left handed pitching and is acceptable as a corner outfielder. I'm pulling for Larnach to seize left field. He has good power and a hitting profile that suggests that he could develop into a solid hitter despite last year's slide. As a seldom-used fourth or fifth outfielder, Cave would be okay in that he has lots of center field experience and is a defensive asset in left and he runs better than average. Gordon has very good wheels, but hasn't hit much and additionally with all of the second basemen in the Twins' system, it looks like his chance to be an every day player is non-existent, especially if he's #4 on the depth chart at shortstop. My opinion is that Kirilloff should play first base a majority of the time. He should hit enough to get time in left, but moving him there hurts the team defense at both first and left field. What would be ideal is to have a player with good defense and good speed who hits right handed who can fill left field and cover center in Buxton's absence. The only possibility of that in the organization who could help the club this year is Austin Martin, who does seem a ways away yet and who has played as much shortstop as center field. I am looking for others' opinions on this and checking to see if I'm missing something. What is the opinion of the Twins Daily faithful? Let's hear from you.
The Opener is on the horizon! The Twins and all teams need to cut their roster down to 28 players. At the fringe of all rosters are players on minor league contracts. Most have big league experience, but aren’t on the 40-man roster. Many of these players will be added to active rosters before Opening Day, necessitating someone being dropped from the 40-man roster. The Twins are no exception. Pitchers Deven Smeltzer and Danny Coulombe and an outfielder (Cave or Garlick) could be added, but someone would have to be dropped from the 40-man roster and exposed to be claimed by any team. In the Twins case, who would be let go? It is a dangerous proposition. One has to weigh the value of the player, their chance to contribute both short term and long term and the chances another team will pick them up. Another factor is minor league options. If a player can be freely sent to the minors or recalled from the minors, it is a huge managerial factor. I think there are five possibilities for DFA now and when rosters are reduced to 26. 1) Jharel Cotton. Cotton was claimed from Texas and has no options. He’s looked decent in camp, but he was made available by the pitching-poor Rangers. 2) Similarly, John Romero was claimed by the Twins this spring. Any player that was exposed once is somewhat suspect, so Romero could be DFAed. 3) Cory Stashak. He was a find in 2019, but since has had injuries and when not injured, hasn’t been nearly as effective. 4)Nick Gordon. The speedy Gordon improved his stock last year by avoiding injury and playing acceptable center field. His problem is he wasn’t very good offensively and sits as no better than a third option at the three up-the-middle positions he’s played. He is out of options, so he can’t go back and forth from Triple A. 5) Brent Rooker. His skill set has been much debated on TD. He is the third or fourth option at DH and has poor defensive marks. Rooker has two options remaining, but he’s 27 and moving closer to suspect than prospect. Are the Twins forced to DFA any of these player in the next week or on May 1? Are there other players who could be moved off the 40-man roster? Please discuss.
So we whiffed in FA and now we have the feeling that we never really had a chance and no one wants to come here! Boo hoo! People say trade the prospects. Wait a minute - they have to come here. They have no choice. For six years they are ours. So lets play them. Cleveland where our FO was trained moved their prospects up to their team and have had a good winning record for a few years now. Forget where they were in the minors - many teams are now running players out at a much younger age - see Acuna (22), Soto (19), Tatis 20, Jimenez (23), Lindor (22), Corey Seager (21), Corea (21), Gleyber Torres (22)... Forget the lets play keep them in the minors for years and push them forward. Noah Syndergaard is one of our targets and he is 26 and came in to the league at 22. Many players have started young and succeeded: Vada Pinson, RF: 19 years, 247 days in 1958 (Reds) ... Sibby Sisti, 2B: 19 years, 265 days in 1940 (Bees) ... Brooks Robinson, 3B: 19 years, 332 days in 1957 (Orioles) ... Rogers Hornsby, SS: 19 years, 351 days in 1916 (Cardinals) ... Adrian Beltre, 3B: 19 years, 363 days in 1999 (Dodgers) Lewis is still our number one rated player - put him at 3B if you want to put Sano at 1B. If he is not ready put Kiriloff, Rooker, or Raley at 1B. If Wade or Kiriloff is better than Cave then replace cave. Put Kiriloff or Larnach in LF since people complain about Eddie Rosario. If Lewis is going to take Marwin's place give him time at all the positions. Then package Gonzales, Rosario, and Cave and instead of trading prospects trade these players for Boyd or some other starter. I want to see the team start to push the envelop and get away from scraping up the crumbs at the end of FA. In other words, what is the plan?