Thursday, August 30, 2007
So... Now What?
40 Man Roster Thoughts
Good morning! Well, it is back to baseball as the headliner today. Although it has been the case for a month, last night's loss to Cleveland essentially put the final nail in the Twins postseason coffin (or some saying like that). They came into the series 5 1/2 games behind Cleveland. They leave the series 8 1/2 games back, and seven games behind in the Wild Card Race. With four weeks to go, hope is all but gone for the Twins to make the playoffs. Aaron agrees. Today, I don't have it in me to discuss the game itself. I only want to look forward at this time. I will, of course, continue to follow and cheer for the Twins the rest of the way out. By the way, you'll definitely want to check out On the Road with Pat Neshek today! Very interesting posting! Nick N is not happy with Gardy! And yes, there are minor league updates down below.
The Twins have a day off today. The August 31st deadline is tomorrow. I would say that Terry Ryan should be very busy in the next 48 hours doing whatever he can in an attempt to help the Twins compete for a division title in 2008. Obviously they won't be able to do everything in the next 48 hours, but they should be at least setting the table.
Normally I wait with my "So... Now What?" posting until a day or two after the Twins lose their playoff series. But, I think it is OK to start thinking about this now. I won't go into the full-fledged outline of what should be done, but for today, I am going to take a look at the Twins forty man roster and give a few thoughts on how the team should address that player in the offseason and in the 2008 Twins and beyond. Right now, the Twins have 42 players on their 40 man roster. Four players are on the 60 Day Disabled List, so the Twins could actually add two players to the 40 man roster now. However, at the end of the season, the four guys on the 60 Day DL will have to be included in the forty-man limitations. Of course, Free Agents will also be able to be taken off. We must remember though that there are a lot of quality minor leaguers that the team will have to protect from the Rule V draft, so some of the guys currently on the 40 man roster will be dropped. Some of those will be resigned to minor league deals. Others will be allowed to leave.
So, let's review the Twins current 40 man roster, but remember that the Twins will be able to make several changes in preparation for September call-ups, so I will also try to address that. In summary, this could come across as a bit of a rambling, and that's exactly what it could be, but there are a bunch of thoughts on these players, options and several other ideas. I hope that you enjoy this information and please feel free to let me know what you agree or disagree with. E-mail me, or leave Comments below.
Scott Baker - 25 - He was again at the brink of being sent back to Rochester and essentially given up on by the Twins, but somehow, he turned it around and has been very good the past two months. He has started to show us what he must have been showing International League hitters the last couple of years. Baker absolutely stays on the roster and has to be in the Twins plans for 2008 and beyond.
Ricky Barrett - 26 - The power lefty certainly has the stuff to be a big league LOOGY. However, he just can not stay healthy. Although he has two more options remaining, I think that his roster spot is definitely at risk.
Boof Bonser - 25 - Bonser has been this year, what we should have projected of him this year. What he did in September last year was far above what his minor league record would have told us. He has been a league average pitcher, and Aaron Gleeman's chart showing where his numbers this year compare to some much higher profile pitchers was very interesting. The team has asked him to lose weight in the offseason which tells me that they intend to keep him in the starting rotation in 2008, which makes sense.
Carmen Cali - 28 - The minor league journeyman lefty reliever got his chance with the Twins a few times this year because of injury. He has not been bad at all in his chances with the Twins. However, there really is no reason for the Twins to keep him on the 40 man roster. If he is selected in the Rule V draft, he is very replaceable. If he is not, he may stay with the Twins knowing that if he performs, he will keep getting chances.
Jesse Crain - 26 - The Twins signed Crain to a three year deal before the season. It was a smart signing as Crain has pitched well most of the previous two seasons. He really struggled, but it turns out that the struggles were likely caused by major arm problems that meant shoulder surgery earlier in the season. He is on the 60 Day DL but will certainly be retained. Hopefully his rehab goes well and he comes back as good as he was before.
Julio DePaula - 24 - In Rochester this year, he certainly showed why the Twins put him on the 40 man roster last December. Sure, he struggled in his early season call up, but went back to Rochester and dominated again. The groundball pitcher certainly has a future in the Twins bullpen and should be kept on the 40 man roster.
Matt Garza - 23 - Of course he stays on the roster. His ceiling is potential Ace. He's already the Twins third best pitcher and will only get better. He should be around for a long time.
Matt Guerrier - 29 - Despite two very good seasons in the Twins bullpen, there were many Twins fans that felt Guerrier should be let go so that they could keep JD Durbin. That's just silly, and Guerrier earned his higher leverage role and has been terrific in it. He's safe, and arbitration-eligible. He will get a nice raise.
Francisco Liriano - 23 - Missed the whole 2007 season and we and he knew that would be the case from the start. I am glad they didn't rush him back and are giving him the full 18 months of rehab. Obviously we all want Liriano to come back and be the same as he was pre-surgery, but please remember to be patient. Maybe he will get there. His spot on the 40 man roster is very secure.
Jose Mijares - 22 - The hard-throwing lefty has been very up and down throughout his minor league season, but you would expect that from someone so young. His future ceiling is top level, long time lefty reliever, but again, consistency is the key. He's very young and has an option year left. He should be safe.
Jason Miller - 25 - I thought it was unfortunate that Miller was sent back to Rochester after his one brutal outing. He was very impressive in the first two appearances and the Angels are good. I don't think Miller will be an All-Star, but I do think that he can be a solid long-reliever type who could also be a LOOGY when necessary. That said, he is another guy who is replaceable by other left-handed relievers on this list if he were taken by another team. I would take him off of the 40 man roster and hope that he would resign with the Twins to a minor league contract.
Joe Nathan - 32 - One of the game's best closers over the past three years, Joe Nathan has a team-option for $6 million for 2008. The Twins would be crazy not to pick that option up. If they keep him, they get a top closer for well below market value. If they keep him only to trade him, his salary makes him very appealing to other teams. I personally would just keep him. I would offer him a two year, $15-17 million contract extension to stay with the Twins through the 2010 season, but he would be 35 years old at that time so I would not go longer in years or higher in dollar value. It would probably be silly for Nathan to accept that deal when he could become a free agent at the end of the 2008 season and get a four year deal probably in the neighborhood of $12-15 million a year. He stays on the 40 man roster after the team picks up his option.
Pat Neshek - 26 - Another easy non-decision. Of course you keep him on the 40 man roster. First, he's one of baseball's top set up relievers right now. Second, as a second year guy, he's not even arbitration-eligible for another two years. If the Twins do deal Nathan, Neshek should become the team's next closer.
Glen Perkins - 24 - Spent most of the season on the disabled list. He may be back with the Twins in September although his rehab appearances have not been good. I personally would rather that the team shut him down for the season and make the goal to be 100% by Spring Training. Very talented lefty who could be a starter or a reliever for the team. He definitely stays on the forty man roster.
Dennys Reyes - 30 - Terry Ryan bought into Dennys Reyes's miracle 2006 season in which he has a 0.90 ERA. In the season, he rewarded him with a two year, $2 million contract. At the time, it made some sense. Reyes was a solid lefty reliever and the team locked him up for two seasons below market value. The problem was that he was still Dennys Reyes, a pitcher who was horrible in his 10 big league seasons prior to 2006, and in 2007, the old Dennys Reyes, not surprisingly, came back. I think he will stay on the forty man roster for a couple of reasons. The million dollar price tag is pretty minimal in the overall scheme, so there is little risk. I would love to see the Twins trade him for a Low A prospect, but I don't see other teams wanting him, so I think he'll be back. Whether or not he makes the team is another story.
Juan Rincon - 28 - Dominant set up man in 2004. One of the best in 2005. In 2006, he was OK, but certainly no longer dominant. His success and tenure made him worth of a contract this year approaching $2 million. As horrific as he has been in 2007, he would likely be in line for a raise. This decision may be as difficult as any Terry Ryan must make. Does he offer him arbitration in his final arbitration-eligible season and likely settle for a contract around $2.5 million. If so, the hope would be that he return to a shadow of his former self. He is just 28 years old after all. I would certainly put him on waivers today, if he hasn't already gone through that process, and just see who might claim him. After the season, I would likely determine a value that I would be willing to pay him, probably a copy of his 2007 contract, and if he is willing to sign it, I would resign him. If he doesn't, I think I would non-tender him.
Johan Santana - 28 - Santana has a year left on his four year, $40 million contract. The Twins need to go our of their way to try to lock him up for a few more years... at less than market value. If he is going to ask for an need full market value, I think that I would try to trade him in the offseason when the team can get the most value for him in return. Of course, Santana has the full no trade clause, so he would have to OK any deal. I want to keep him around. I would want to go to Carl Pohlad and request that the contract for Santana be in addition to the salary cap limit that he imposes. Santana has a lot of value, even beyond the whole two-time Cy Young Award, Best Pitcher in the Game, on field side. Oh yeah... he stays on the roster.
Carlos Silva - 28 - Again, I would put him through waivers today and find out who is interested and what the return could be. There is no way that he is a Type A free agent, but since he was a little better than average two of the last three years, he should be a Type B meaning an extra draft pick. So, they should get what they feel fair value for him if they do complete a trade. If he remains, no problem. However, he becomes a free agent and the team will not have to put him on the 40 man roster unless they work out a deal with him. He will be one of the top two or three free agent pitchers on the market. He certainly has done more at this stage in his career than Gil Meche did, so he could be in line for a four or five year deal at $10 million or more a season. Twins should say No, but thank you!
Errol Simonitsch - 25 - He is definitely on the bubble. His 2007 has been injury-filled and after his rehab, he was sent back to Ft. Myers which is not good considering that he has spent parts of the past two years in New Britain. What makes it worse is that he hasn't been good there either. How much of that is health-related? Probably some. I would love to give him time to find out. The other side though is that his ceiling may be Dave Gassner, so is that worth a 40 man roster spot... especially if the Twins really need to get another prospect on the roster? I don't think so. I think I would take him off the forty man roster, and if he will stay with the team, that would be fine with me.
Kevin Slowey - 23 - Like Garza, this is an easy choice too. Of course he stays on the 40 man roster. He has been incredible since the Twins drafted him. He got to the big leagues quickly and earned every promotion. His struggles during his month in the big leagues earlier this year in no way diminishes Slowey's potential and future.
Oswaldo Sosa - 21 - The Venezuelan was added to the roster last year after a very good season at Beloit and Ft. Myers. He started this season playing for the Miracle and earned a midseason promotion to New Britain. He has struggled some, but he does remain a quality prospect and should be kept on the roster. He is so young and has much room for growth.
Chris Heintz - 33 - This is one that I don't understand. Heintz has been said to be very important as the Twins #3 catcher. I think his story is great and he has earned is promotions. However, I don't understand why they kept him on the 40 man roster last winter. With the emergence of Jose Morales, who has to be added to the 40 man roster after his season, there is even less reason to keep Heintz on there again this offseason. He doesn't even catch when he is playing in Rochester. He plays DH, 1B and some 3B. When he comes up to the Twins, Gardy refuses to play him anyway, so why worry about losing him? He should come off the 40 man roster after the season, but I do say that the Twins should consider trying to keep him around for depth at Rochester.
Joe Mauer - 24 - My choice for the Twins Face of the Franchise, he is under contract for three more years after this year. Of course he stays on the 40 man roster and there is little reason to even type any more words thinking about it.
Mike Redmond - 36 - As with Dennys Reyes, Terry Ryan signed Redmond last year, during the season, to a two year, $2 million contract. That was a great signing by Ryan as Redmond continues to be a very solid backup to Mauer. Getting Morales some more playing time will be important because the Twins need to figure out what to do at backup catcher following the 2008 season.
Jason Bartlett - 27 - Bartlett's recent hot streak has put his numbers back up to where we would have expected them all season long. Of course he remains on the 40 man roster, and his job is very much safe. At least until Trevor Plouffe gets to training camp in 2009!
Brian Buscher - 26 - This is another tough decision in my mind. If the Twins took him off the 40 man roster, would he be taken in the Rule V draft? How many other teams would have interest in him? Yes, he's had a great season from AA to AAA and is showing some decent skills at the big league level, but I don't think any of us see him as a long-term answer at 3B. However, without him, who would be ready to be the Twins 3B in 2008 (assuming that the Twins would not go out and get a decent 3B in the free agent market)? Another year of Nick Punto would be unbearable. If it came down to keeping Brian Buscher, David Winfree or Matt Moses, who would you want on your 40 man roster?
Alexi Casilla - 23 - Casilla has shown signs, albeit inconsistent so far. He is the future at 2B and should be. Easy choice, he stays.
Alexandro Machado - 25 - Another interesting decision. A good glove, good on-base percentage guy who is no more than a utility infielder at the big league level. The Twins didn't have a chance to evaluate their Rule V pick this year as he was hurt since spring training, so I would assume that they plan on evaluating him next spring. Otherwise, they might as well send him back now. The other option would be to make a trade with the team Machado was drafted from to be able to keep him.
Justin Morneau - 26 - The '06 AL MVP is in a prolonged slump right now, but the goal for this offseason, as it should have been last offseason, is locking him up to a four year contract. I'd start with a four year, $42 million with his 2008 salary at $9 million and increasing a million dollars a year. 40 man roster spot? No question.
Nick Punto - 29 - What to do? What to do? Terry Ryan is at fault for not realizing that 2006 was an aberration for Punto and giving him a 2 year, $4+ million deal. Ron Gardenhire is at fault because he continues to play him every day. This is not Nick Punto's fault at all. He's going out there and trying hard and being the player that he can be. Is Punto tradeable? I can't imagine anyone having interest in him at $2.2 million for 2008. Maybe they should call Wayne Krivsky. Because I think that he can be a good utility infielder, if that's the role that he is used in, I think that the Twins can get some value from him. Unless they just release him, which I can't see them doing, he will stay on the 40 man roster and unfortunately, Gardy will play him too much.
Luis Rodriguez - 27 - As you all know, I like Luis(!) and think that he can have some value to a team. I know that most disagree with me. So, you may be surprised when I say that Luis Rodriguez should be dropped from the 40 man roster, as he was last year. I would give him the opportunity next spring to make the team, if he chooses to stay in the organization, but his 40 man roster spot should be opened up for Matt Tolbert or others.
Tommy Watkins - 27 - Another utility infielder on the 40 man roster. I love the Tommy Watkins story and hope he stays in the organization through his playing career and become the next manager for the Ft. Myers Miracle (With hitting coach Matthew Lecroy). I am glad he got this chance. That said, I don't believe that he would be claimed by another team and the Twins should resign him to a minor league contract as well.
Michael Cuddyer - 28 - Although he has missed time because of injury and hasn't been as consistent in 2007, the goal with Cuddyer should still be to sign him to an extension. I would start with a three year, $22.5 million offer. That would probably be deemed low, but a fair starting point. The Twins only have so many bats and fewer of them are right handed. Cuddyer should be retained beyond 2008.
Lew Ford - 31 - Ford was nearly an All-Star in 2004 after a great first half. Since that time, he has been a solid fourth outfielder. Two knee surgeries in the past offseason cost him valuable time in spring training and into April, and it seemed as though he never caught up. It always seemed as though he was in the doghouse for various things. He may be recalled for September, but I can't imagine the Twins offering him arbitration again this year, and he will be looking for another team. I think it is a good thing for Lew Ford who deserves another shot.
Torii Hunter - 32 - He won't be on the forty man roster because he will be a free agent. Torii certainly is making it sound as though he will take full advantage of his opportunity to cash in on his excellent 2007 season. The Twins should make an offer. Maybe they even increase the rumored contract offer from four years, $56 million to four years, $60 million. Personally, I would prefer the contract be limited to three years, but Torii wouldn't and shouldn't accept that. In either case, his roster spot will be opened unless the two sides reach an agreement beforehand.
Garrett Jones - 26 - I know most think that Jones should be let go. He is a guy that would be claimed by another team. In reality, for Garrett Jones, that is probably for the best. He will be out of options anyway. For a big guy who strikes out a lot, he just has not shown the power to make it worthwhile. I can't see a scenario in which he would make the roster in 2008, so I would probably let him go now.
Jason Kubel - 25 - Of course he stays on the 40 man roster. He will be arbitration-eligible in the offseason (I believe). After two years of injury, Kubel has shown flashes of what he can be, and maybe a full offseason of rest and working out rather than rehabbing will be good for him. I had high hopes for Kubel heading into the season, and that probably wasn't fair, but I guarantee that I will have the same expectations of him in 2008.
Darnell McDonald - 28 - He should not be kept on the 40 man roster. He will be a six year free agent so he could then sign with any team, but the Twins have certainly shown a willingness to bring up veteran minor leagues if they earn it. Also, if Hunter is gone, McDonald should be given a shot to be the stop gap to Denard Span or whoever the next CF will be.
Josh Rabe - 28 - Like Luis Rodriguez, Rabe was taken off the 40 man roster last year and resigned. That should happen again this year although I don't know that resigning him is a necessary thing for the Twins because that Rochester outfield should include Denard Span, Trent Oeltjen, Doug Deeds, Brandon Roberts and Garrett Guzman.
Denard Span - 23 - Span has been better in the second half of the AAA season, but in my mind, he just isn't ready for the big leagues yet. But he was only added to the Twins 40 man roster a year ago. He has two years worth of options left to figure it out and he would still be young, so giving him another year is anything but a crime.
Jason Tyner - 30 - Tyner is what he is. He's a guy who doesn't walk and has no power. He's a decent hitter, can run a little bit and isn't a horrible outfielder who can play all three positions. That is fine as a 4th outfielder, a guy who plays once or twice a week. I actually wouldn't have a problem with the Twins keeping Tyner even if he is arbitration-eligible. I would hope that he wouldn't cost more than about $750,000 anyway. But again, if it means potentially losing a Brock Peterson or Garrett Guzman, taking him off the 40 man roster just makes sense.
Rondell White - Will be a free agent. The Twins will hopefully have no interest in bringing him back, no matter how great of a guy he is. Gone from the 40 man roster, and probably will retire.
So... based on my thoughts above, I have trimmed the Twins 40 man roster down to 27 by taking the following players off the 40 man roster. (Ricky Barrett, Carmen Cali, Jason Miller, Errol Simonitsch, Chris Heintz, Brian Buscher, Luis Rodriguez, Tommy Watkins, Lew Ford, Garrett Jones, Josh Rabe and Darnell McDonald. Also, Carlos Silva, Torii Hunter and Rondell White will be off as free agents). So the subsequent question becomes who gets added to the forty man roster? I have created room for up to 13 additions, but I would only add 11 or 12 so that the Twins can again use the Rule V draft on a player or two.
So, who are some of the guys the need to be considered for the 40 man roster, guys who could be taken in the Rule V draft if not protected? First, college players drafted in 2004. Those players include Matt Fox, Jay Sawatski, JP Martinez, Kyle Aselton, Matt Tolbert, Tim Lahey and Matt Macri. Second, high school players draft in the 2003 draft. That list includes Matt Moses, Johnny Woodard, David Shinskie, David Winfree, Danny Vais, Eli Tintor and Adam Hawes (JC). Also, players from previous drafts like Doug Deeds, Kyle Geiger, Bobby Korecky and Brock Peterson from the 2002 draft. Jose Morales, Angel Garcia, Garrett Guzman and Nick Blackburn were selected by the Twins in the 2001 draft. Finally, International players signed in 2003 and earlier such as Yohan Pino, Tristan Crawford, Armando Gabino, Luke Hughes and Frank Mata.
If I had to select which of these players that I would protect, I would go with: Jay Sawatski, Matt Tolbert, Tim Lahey, Matt Macri, Matt Moses, David Winfree, Brock Peterson, Jose Morales, Garrett Guzman, Nick Blackburn, Yohan Pino and Armando Gabino. By adding twelve new players to the list, that would leave the Twins at 39 players on the 40 man roster. That way, the Twins can still make a Rule V selection.
Of course, so much could still happen between now and the date that the 40 man roster needs to be set. Some of these moves could be made as early as September 1st. There could be a trade, or a re-signing of one of the Twins potential free agents. I know that the playoffs are great to watch, even better to watch when the Twins are involved. But I have a strong feeling that the Twins' offseason will be very interesting in its own right.
Please feel free to discuss anything I have mentioned above. Please feel free to disagree with me on the guys I would remove from the 40 man roster, or who I would add to it. Send me an e-mail or leave Comments below.
Twins Minor League Updates
Here are the game reports of the Twins and their minor league affiliates. Check out Josh's Thoughts for his GCL Twins Review.
Wednesday SethSpeaks Player of the Day – Matt Moses, New Britain Rockcats
Wednesday SethSpeaks Pitcher of the Day – Jose Castillo, Elizabethton Twins
Wednesday - Red Wings/Ottawa – Postponed by Rain.
All-Stars - Kevin Slowey and Jose
Morales were named the International League post season All Star
Wednesday - Game 1 - Rockcats 0, Binghamton 3 – Ryan Mullins started and went all six innings. He gave up three runs on six hits and two walks. He struck out seven. The Rockcats managed just three hits. Brock Peterson went 1-2 with a walk. Matt Moses went 1-1 with two walks.
Wednesday - Game 2 - Rockcats 3, Binghamton 2 – Josh Hill started the second game. In five innings, he allowed two runs (1 earned) on three hits. He walked none and struck out three. Armando Gabino threw another two shutout innings for his second Rockcats save. Drew Butera went 3-3. David Winfree went 2-3. Rashad Eldridge hit two doubles in his three at bats. Matt Moses went 2-4.
All-Star - Garrett Guzman was named to the Eastern League postseason All-Star team.
FT MYERS MEMOS
Wednesday - Miracle 2, Sarasota 14 – Zach Ward fell to 5-17 with a 4.08 ERA after giving up seven runs (6 earned) in just 3.1 innings. He allowed nine hits, walked three and struck out four. Adam Hawes then gave up five runs on five hits and two walks in 1.1 innings. Danny Powers then gave up two runs (1 earned) on a hit and four walks in 3.1 innings. Robert Delaney threw a shutout inning. Jeff Christy went 2-3. Dwayne White was 1-2 with a walk and his second triple.
All-Star - Erik Lis was named to the All-Florida State League team.
Wednesday - Snappers 4, Cedar Rapids 8 – Matt Fox got another start and in five innings, he gave up three runs. He allowed five hits, walked two and struck out six. Jose Lugo gave up two runs on a hit and three walks in two innings. Dan Leatherman gave up three runs on two hits and two walks in 1.2 innings. Matt Williams gave up a hit, then got the final out. Matt Betsill went 2-4 with a walk and his eighth double. Chris Parmelee was 1-3 with a walk and his 22nd double.
All-Stars - Jeff Manship and Robert Delaney were named Midwest League All-Stars.
Wednesday - E-Twins 5, Bluefield 1 – Rene Leveret led the offense by going 3-4 with his eighth homer. Rene Tosoni went 2-5 with his 13th double. Wesley Connor was 2-4 with his 11th double and eighth stolen base. Jose Castillo improved to 5-1 by giving up just one run on four hits and two walks in six innings. He struck out seven. Dan Latham gave up two hits in a scoreless inning. Curtis Leavitt again struck out the side in one inning. Caleb Moore pitched a scoreless ninth.
All-Stars - Seven E-Twins were named to the post season All-Star squad. Ozzie Lewis was the Player of the Year. David Bromberg was named Pitcher of the Year. Rene Leveret, Rene Tosoni, Deibinson Romero, Estarlin De Los Santos and Greg Yersich were the others named to the team.
That is it for today. Have a great day! Any further thoughts? Let me know!|
Back to Archives Home