Monday, March 21, 2011

COPOP III: Life after Neshek

To hear the Twins tell it, space on the 40-man roster was behind the decision to waive Pat Neshek.

Ron Gardenhire, quoted in the Star Tribune story:

"We need roster spots. That's why we were trying to clear one. We could have put [Neshek] back on if we needed. But we needed to [clear a] roster spot to have one available if we keep one of these guys who aren't on the roster."

Kyle Waldrop may
be the biggest
beneficiary of the
Neshek move.
One of these guys being Kyle Waldrop or (less likely) Carlos Gutierrez. The only problem with that rationalization is the math. As I explained in the previous post, any scenario that involves putting a non-roster guy such as Waldrop on the 25-man roster means either waiving Glen Perkins (out of options) or offering Scott Diamond (Rule V) back to Atlanta. Now, maybe there's a deal lined up that involves sending the Braves a non-roster player in exchange for their claim on Diamond, in which case, yeah, they needed a roster spot.That's certainly possible -- but if it's not the case, the public explanation for the move is really a way to avoid saying of Neshek: He's not what he was, and he's not going to be.

But the roster spot explanation casts a light on the Twins apparent thinking about the bullpen. It hints strongly that Waldrop is likely to land a berth. And LaVelle Neal said in his blog Sunday that Dusty Hughes (who had another scoreless inning Sunday) is "pretty much a lock."

So let's update COPOP (Current Outsider Projected Opening Pen):

Closer: Joe Nathan
Setup 1: Matt Capps
Lefty 1: Jose Mijares
Setup 2/Middle relief 1: Waldrop
Lefty2: Hughes
MR2: Perkins
Long Man: Kevin Slowey

This leaves Jeff Manship on the outside looking in. He could get the nod over Perkins, but I just can't see the Twins throwing Perkins away.

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