Friday, March 16, 2012

The first cuts (are the shallowest)

Outfield prospect
Oswaldo Arcia was
optioned to High-A
Fort Myers rather
than Triple-A
Rochester, as the
other 40-man roster
demotees were.
The Twins on Thursday sent nine players to their minor-league camp. Add in the earlier season-ending injury to Joel Zumaya, and the major-league camp is down to 57 players -- a mere 32 more cuts to come.

The song says the first cut is the deepest, but that's not the case here. The deeper cuts are still to come.

Most of the Thursday cuts were pretty routine. Three were non-roster guys, one of whom (Steve Pearce) is out for the coming week anyway, another of whom (Danny Rams) is a catcher not needed with fewer pitchers in camp, and a third (Aaron Thompson) who is probably going to start in the minors and needs to be stretched out.

LaVelle Neal called the quick demotion of Scott Diamond a surprise. I don't see it that way. Diamond, like Thompson, figures to be a starter at Triple A. He had little chance to make the major league club --  the five projected starters, plus Anthony Swarzak, Matt Maloney, Terry Doyle and Liam Hendriks, are all ahead of him in the starter/long man pecking order as I see it.

That Darin Mastroanni
was among the first cuts
suggests that the
Twins are confident
that Denard Span
is sound.
I'm more surprised that Hendriks wasn't among the cuts. He too will be a starter, probably at Rochester, and needs the innings. Obviously they figure they can still get him the innings he needs for now.

What did come as a surprise were the demotions of Lester Oliveros and Deolis Guerra. Those two, as I saw it, entered camp as bona fide bullpen candidates. Instead, they're the first ones out.

Which hardly dooms their chances for Minnesota. Last spring Alex Burnett was among the first cuts. He was the first guy recalled once the season began stuck the rest of the way.

So the bullpen field thins a bit. We still can't declare anybody a clear favorite for one of the openings, however. 


  1. Buster Olney of reports that "multiple talent evaluators" have said Tsuyoshi Nishioka "just looks really lost this spring, in his hitting and in his defense."

  2. Guerra was not a surprise to me as he was not pitching very well and there are too many other options. Oliveros was a bit of a surprise, but he may get an opportunity later in the year. I'm wondering if Liam Hendriks is still there until more is known about Scott Baker. If Baker is injured and starts the season on the DL, Hendriks may get the nod for a few starts.