Saturday, December 1, 2012

Clearing room on the 40-man roster (updated)

Thomas Field's 2012 Topps card.

Last week, the Twins had 40 players on their roster. After a week of subtraction, they're now down to 37 36.

Wednesday: IF Thomas Field was lost on waivers to Anaheim
Thursday: CF Denard Span was traded to Washington; Alex Meyer, the pitcher they got back, isn't on the 40-man roster and probably won't be put on the 40 until he's put on the 25-man active roster.
Friday: RHP Deolis Guerra was outrighted to Rochester; RHP Lester Oliveros was nontendered.

The Span trade, of course, has gotten plenty of commentary, here and elsewhere. The other moves, not so much.

The Twins claimed Field on waivers from Colorado early in November. As I predicted when the Twins acquired him, the Twins tried to slip him through waivers themselves. On Wednesday we learned that Anaheim claimed him. So he's gone.

Deolis Guerra has
been in the Twins
organization since
2008, but is only 23.
The Twins probably picked Field up with the intent of making him the shortstop at Rochester. Now the organization has a bit of a hole to plug there. Last year the Red Wings used Brian Dozier or Pedro Florimon at short (Dozier to open and close the season, Florimon while Dozier was in Minnesota), with Tsuyoshi Nishioka at second base. Nishi won't be back, of course, and Dozier, Florimon and Eduardo Escobar are all in the mix for jobs at the big league level. I expect another infield addition in the Twins future.

Guerra, the last remaining piece from the Johan Santana trade, cleared waivers, which means nobody else wanted to give him a spot on their 40-man roster. He remains in the organization and will be in major league camp this spring. He was out of options anyway, so had he not cleared waivers now and didn't make the team the Twins would have had to waive him in the spring. Guerra had had a good start to his 2012 season and seemed likely to get a call-up, but tailed off and missed a good bit of time to injury.

Oliveros' nontender took me by surprise. Friday's deadline for making "qualifying offers" generally focuses on the arbitration-eligible players -- in the Twins case, Drew Butera, Jared Burton and Brian Duensing. All three were retained. Oliveros, a hard-thrower acquired in 2011's Delmon Young trade, will miss 2013 after having Tommy John surgery, and the Twins apparently decided it wasn't worth keeping him on the 40-man roster. (Update: The Twins have re-signed him to a minor league deal.)

All this frees up plenty of space for either free agent signings or activity in the Rule V draft. The word from Twins execs after the Span trade was that their focus at the winter meetings next week would be on talking to agents rather than trades, so making room was necessary.

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