Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Playing around with the playoff roster

Alexi Casilla shares it with the fans
Now that the party's over — watching the celebration on TV, I had the sense that the players wanted to pour the beer and sparkly and get the heck out — let's take a quick run at the 25-man roster for the playoffs.

The Twins have typically gone with 12 pitchers, during the regular season, but Ron Gardenhire appears to have it in mind to go with 11 in October. The sure-things (barring injury) will be in regular font; the italics are for the questionable choices

Starters (4): Francisco Liriano, Carl Pavano, Brian Duensing, Nick Blackburn

Relievers (7): Matt Capps, Jesse Crain, Matt Guerrier, Jon Rauch, Brian Fuentes, Jose Mijares, Scott Baker

(Outside looking in: Kevin Slowey, Jeff Manship, Glen Perkins, Randy Flores, Pat Neshek, Alex Burnett)

Comment: The conventional wisdom has Blackburn, Baker and Slowey splitting two roster spots. I suspect Perkins would be a better choice for the last bullpen spot. If the Twins face the Yankees, Perkins gives them another lefty; if it's the Rays, he's more likely to be able to give the catcher a chance to throw out a basestealer. He certainly getting opportuntiies to pitch of late, albeit in low-leverage situations.

Position players
Catchers (3): Joe Mauer, Drew Butera, Jose Morales

Infielders (6): Michael Cuddyer, Orlando Hudson, Danny Valencia, J.J. Hardy, Nick Punto, Alexi Casilla

Outfielders (4): Delmon Young, Denard Span, Jason Kubel, Jason Repko

Hitter (1): Jim Thome

(Outside looking in: Matt Tolbert, Ben Revere, Justin Morneau, Trevor Plouffe)

Comments: Should Morneau be ready to return — and I don't know enough to rule it out or in — Morales doesn't make it.

Punto, Tolbert and Casilla are all essentially the same player: switch-hitting middle infielders who can run. When all were healthy this year, Tolbert was the odd man out, if only because he had options left. That's not a factor in postseason. If all are healthy now, Tolbert still loses out because Casilla is a better pinch-running possibility and Punto is the best defensive infielder. I expect we'll see quite a bit of all three in the next few days to see if anybody plays his way on or off the roster.


  1. I hope you are right about going with only 11 pitchers.

  2. Chris, Gardy has already been quoted a couple times that the Twins will go with 11. It makes sense since you won't use five starters in the playoffs with so many off days.

  3. Personally, I think Mijares has pretty well pitched himself out of a job. Baker and Slowey are almost a toss-up. Which one do you want? I'd rather see Perkins replace Mijares. I also hate to see Punto and Casilla left out; Tolbert, too, but with so many good infielders what do you do? Gardy's task is one I do not envy!