Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The roster shuffle

No holiday in Twins transactions this past weekend.

I commented Monday on the Jepsen move. Let's sort through the rest ...

All told, the Twins have cut down from 13 pitchers to 12 on the active roster. That might suggest that they've grown comfortable with the starters' ability to go six-plus innings, but I suspect that this has at least as much to do with the All Start break coming in less than a week.

May: I suggested in the Monday print column that the Twins might be well advised to return May to the starting rotation. Right now they have every slot filled, and Jose Berrios is probably ahead of May if a rotation spot opens. May rehabbed for relief work, and that's the plan.

Supposedly May has shortened his stride during his delivery to reduce the strain on his back and hips. We'll see how well that works.

Plouffe: Out, they say, for three to four weeks with a cracked rib. In the short term, it opens third base for Miguel Sano, but it also probably keeps Plouffe from being traded this month. Which means that, when Plouffe is healthy again (or at least sound enough to play) there will be two third basemen on the roster.

At least this will give his wonky groin a chance to heal.

Mastroianni: It was easy to forget that Mastro was officially on the active roster, but he was hitless in nine official at-bats. He has the right to opt out of his contract, but he's expected to forgo that and remain in the organization.

Rosario: Optioned out because pitchers were exploiting his inability to gauge the strike zone, he hit .319 and slugged .538 in Triple A. He also drew just seven walks, which suggests that Triple A pitchers aren't good enough to exploit his free-swinging ways -- which further suggests that he's going to have to learn at the major league level.

Question: Where do his at-bats come from? He played left field on Sunday and Monday. Robbie Grossman was the DH in one game and sat the other. Presuming Byron Buxton and Max Kepler are to be in the lineup (and they should), Rosario and Grossman will be dueling for left field time.

Vargas:  The big switch-hitter was, according to the radio guys Sunday, leading the International League in RBIs when called up. Statistical luddite Dan Gladden finds that significant. Those of us with a better understanding of how to interpret the stat line don't.

This might be Vargas' last chance with the Twins. They have plenty of DH alternatives, and I have to believe Byung Ho Park still ranks ahead of Vargas in their long-range thinking. And the DH slot offers a chance to feed at-bats to one of the young outfielders, so his opportunities may be limited.

Boshers: Never thought I'd be irritated to see him sent down, but he has a 1.38 ERA in 13 innings with 14 strikeouts. His demotion flies in the face of the Greg McMichael Rule (If you get outs, they'll find a role for you.) He got outs, and he's going back to Rochester.

For now. He'll be back before August, whether to fill a gap created by a trade, an injury or because they need to go back to 13 pitchers. Boshers lost the job not because he failed, but because he was a spot with roster flexibility.

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