This spring feels a lot different from last year, when COPOP changed frequently, in no small part because many of the roles had no obvious fit. Today, four of the seven slots are certain (short of calamity) and two others have what appear from this distance to have clear front-runners.
|Matt Capps is one|
a secure role.
Closer: Matt Capps
Setup 1: Glen Perkins
Setup 2/MR 1: Jared Burton (Alex Burnett, Casey Fein)
LOOGY 1/MR2?: Brian Duensing
MR 3: (Jeff Manship, Kyle Waldrop, Burnett)
MR 4/L2: Matt Maloney (Terry Doyle, Phil Dumatrait)
Long man: Anthony Swarzak
I fully expect the Setup 2 role to go to a right-handed power arm. Burton's been the best of that collection. I would prefer to see the MR3 job go to a righty with a different out pitch, whether that be Manship's curve or Waldrop's sinker. The MR4 job may depend on how Ron Gardenhire and Rick Anderson want to use that pitcher, but at this point Maloney looks like the most effective of the candidates, and I was intrigued by him from the time the Twins picked him up in October.