Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Making roster room

Wilkin Ramirez accepts dugout high-fives after scoring a run
last week in an exhibition game.
Two more non-roster pitchers, Sam Deduno and P.J. Walters, were reassigned to the minor-league complex Tuesday. This boiled the major-league side to 26 healthy players and, at least as reported by the various beat guys, left the roster competition down to three arms for two bullpen jobs (Alex Burnett, Tyler Robertson and Josh Roenicke).

If so, the Twins are opening with 12 pitchers and will carry outfielder Wilkin Ramirez as a bench bat. I'm not sold on Ramirez for that job, but that's a minor issue. The Opening Day roster will not last long, and I fully expect that by the time Anthony Swarzak and/or Scott Diamond are ready to come off the disabled list the Twins will have decided they need a 13th pitcher.

And when they get to that point, whose roster spot will he take? Probably Ramirez's.

Keeping Ramirez will make this an aspirational roster. The Twins want to have a 12-man staff, not a 13-man staff, so they'll open with 12 and hope that the rotation doesn't immediately become a train wreck. If — when — it does, they'll deal with the fallout then.

There's a price to pay for that aspiration. The Twins will have to open a spot on their 40-man roster  for Ramirez, a non-roster invitee. The 40 has been full all spring, and the injuries that sidelined Swarzak and Tim Wood — plus the fact that Rule 5 pick Ryan Pressly earned a roster spot — have allowed the Twins to avoid having to cut any of the bullpen use-or-lose guys (the other being Roenicke) for now.

Somebody will have to outrighted, released, traded, sold — removed from the roster — to make room for Ramirez. It probably won't be a significant loss of talent, but the gain — a week or two of Ramirez — seems marginal at best.

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