In my post yesterday, I discussed changes that the Twins should make mainly to their major league team and the 25-man roster. Today, I will discuss what I think the Twins should do with some of their minor leaguers and the 40-man roster. The Twins have already started dropping some of the dead weight from the 40-man roster by jettisoning Luis Rodriguez, Lew Ford, Josh Rabe, and Tommy Watkins from it, but there are plenty of other changes that need to be made.
To start, there are still 6 other players who definitely need to be taken off the 40-man roster. Whether these players are released or they go play for Rochester or New Britain is inconsequential; the important thing is that room is made for other guys on the roster. These 6 players are: LHP Carmen Cali, LHP Errol Simonitsch, C Chris Heintz, C Matt LeCroy, IF Chris Basak, and OF Darnell McDonald. Cali will be 29 next month and, though he had a decent ERA, allowed 40 baserunners in just 21 innings for the Twins this season. Simonitsch pitched well this year, but it was as a 25-year old in Single A. As for Heintz and LeCroy, it is obvious that Jose Morales (25 in February) should be the third catcher and that neither one of these 30-something catchers can hit a lick or play defense. Basak, who was claimed off waivers from the Yankees during the season, is almost 29 and a career minor leaguer with a .722 OPS. Lastly, Darnell McDonald has looked bad in his 2 chances in the majors (.143/.200/.167 in 42 at-bats) and managed only a .417 slugging percentage this past season in Rochester.
After getting rid of Ford, L-Rod, Rabe, and Watkins, the Twins have 37 men on the 40-man roster, which means that outrighting or releasing these 6 guys whittles it down to 31. After Rondell White's retirement, the release of Torii Hunter and Carlos Silva, and the proposed signing of Sammy Sosa, the roster is down to 29. Following my proposed trade of Johan Santana, there would be a net gain of one player on the roster (Clayton Kershaw would not need to be added to it), making there a total of 30. The next change in the roster would be the addition of the players on the 60-day DL to the 40-man roster; currently there are 4 guys on the 60-day DL, and 15 days after the world series, they must be added to the 40-man roster or sent down to the minors. These 4 are: Francisco Liriano, Jesse Crain, Alejandro Machado, and Jose Morales. Morales, Liriano, and Crain will obviously be added to the roster, but I am not sure if Machado should be (more on him later). Crain could very well start next year on the 60-day DL, but he has to be taken off the DL during the offseason. These additions push the total number of players on the roster up to 33 (without Machado).
This is where the discussion of the 40-man roster actually turns to minor leaguers. The main reason for adding players to the 40-man roster in the offseason is to protect them from being taken by another team in the Rule 5 draft. For that reason, the Twins should add Matt Tolbert to the 40-man roster, as he is now eligible to be taken in the Rule 5 draft. In addition, though they were both eligible for the draft last season, I think Brock Peterson and Garrett Guzman should be added in order to protect them after they had good seasons at New Britain this past year. Finally, though he is not yet eligible to be taken in the Rule 5 draft, the Twins should add Brian Duensing to the roster, simply because there are some spots open and he (or Nick Blackburn) would be the first call-up should there be an injury to a pitcher (especially if Reyes, the only lefty in my proposed bullpen, goes down). These 4 additions push the roster total up to 37. If the Twins do not bring in anyone else who needs to be added to the 40-man roster, then one spot would be used for Alejandro Machado and the other 2 could be left open or used for Matt Moses and Doug Deeds. However, if the Twins need extra room on the 40-man roster, then they could remove Jose Mijares and Ricky Barrett from the roster and risk losing those two to free agency.
All these moves leave the 40-man roster looking like this:
Pitchers: Scott Baker, Ricky Barrett, Nick Blackburn, Boof Bonser, Jesse Crain, Julio DePaula, Brian Duensing, Matt Garza, Matt Guerrier, Francisco Liriano, Jose Mijares, Joe Nathan, Pat Neshek, Glen Perkins, Dennys Reyes, Juan Rincon, Kevin Slowey, Oswaldo Sosa.
Catchers: Joe Mauer, Jose Morales, Mike Redmond.
Infielders: Jason Bartlett, Brian Buscher, Alexi Casilla, Andy LaRoche, Justin Morneau, Brock Peterson, Nick Punto, Matt Tolbert.
Outfielders: Michael Cuddyer, Garrett Guzman, Garrett Jones, Matt Kemp, Jason Kubel, Sammy Sosa, Denard Span, Jason Tyner.
Next three on: Alejandro Machado, Doug Deeds, Matt Moses.
Next two off: Ricky Barrett, Jose Mijares.