Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Twins Roster Moves

The Twins moved three players off their roster, losing two of them in the process. This is in addition to trading a fourth player and adding a guy from the rule 5 draft. How does all this add up and where do the Twins go in the future?

Lets start with the players who are gone. Kevin Slowey and Jose Mijares were both candidates for non-tender. The Twins had decided they were not worth the money they would have to be paid as a result of arbitration. Slowey was traded for a minor league relief pitcher. They couldn't even get that much for Mijares and they finally just made him a free agent. You can call these salary dumps and that would be partially true. But the other reality, I think, is that nothing either one did in spring training was going to relieve the manager's doubts about them based on the last couple years. They needed to go somewhere else if they were going to have a chance to make a major league roster next season.

Jim Hoey came over in a similar deal last year for JJ Hardy. Hardy was a non-tender candidate and the Twins got a couple relievers from Baltimore for him. Hoey's value was he threw hard. His problem was that he didn't throw over the plate often enough. The Twins tried to send him through waivers and the Blue Jays, probably seduced by that fastball, decided he was worth the waiver cost and a roster spot.

The Twins had earlier this fall claimed Pedro Florimon on waivers. They put him back out on the waiver wire and every other team passed on him so they were able to assign him to Rochester. He will probably be invited to spring training. He looks like minor league middle infield depth, something the Twins lack.

Terry Doyle was claimed from the White Sox in the rule 5 draft. Doyle is 26 years old and looks like either a back of the rotation starter or a swing man in the bullpen. There are reports, rumors really, that his fastball was in the mid-90's in the AFL last fall. There are reasons to doubt that, since it has topped out around 90 for most of his career. But the fact that he was still throwing hard after a full minor league season is probably part of his appeal. A big, durable pitcher who can pitch deep into games or pitch out of the bullpens on consecutive days. Either way, he will keep the pressure off the bullpen by pitching a lot of innings. Unlike many rule 5 drafts, this is not a guy they are going to try to hide on the roster for the future. He needs to win a spot.

The result of all these machinations is that that Twins now have three spots open on their roster. One of those is set aside for Michael Cuddyer or someone else to play right field. I suspect the Twins are still looking for another starting pitcher. Terry Ryan said he was going to be looking carefully at players other teams non-tendered. What's a bit of a puzzle is why they needed that third roster spot. The most likely target would be another bullpen pitcher. With a new group of non-tendered free agents available, the rumor mill will be grinding out a lot of flour the next few days.

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