Monday, December 21, 2015

A rough draft of the bullpen

The Twins have discarded, at least presumably, a few arms from the 2015 bullpen. There appears to be little interest in bringing back Brian Duensing and Blaine Boyer, although neither has signed elsewhere. They supposedly have some interest in Neal Cotts, not that I could explain why he rates higher with them than does Duensing (perceived salary might be part of it).

And the word last week what that, while Trevor May is supposed to prepare for spring training as if he's a rotation candidate, the bullpen is a likely destination. This dismays some; I see it as the inevitable result of (a) all the mid-to-back-of-the-rotation veterans clogging the roster and (b) May's own inability as a rookie to get through the sixth inning.

Assume that May's in the bullpen, Further assume good health. Further assume that the Twins open with a six-man bullpen (although they likely will expand that to seven before June). What's the 2016 bullpen look like as matters stand?

Closer: Glen Perkins
Setup 1:Kevin Jepsen
Set up 2: Trevor May
MR1: Casey Fien
MR 2/LOOGY: open
Long man: Ricky Nolasco

Nolasco in the pen presumes a rotation (listed alphabetically) of Tyler Duffey, Kyle Gibson, Phil Hughes, Tommy Milone and Ervin Santana. It also appears to squeeze out J.R. Graham and Ryan Pressly, among others.

If this is the case, there's only one bullpen job open, which would presumably go to a lefty, be he veteran or prospect. Terry Ryan has said repeatedly that he's not after a specialist, that he wants someone who can face right-handers as well.

Which, for all the rumors about veteran free agents Matt Thornton and Craig Breslow, suggests to me that the flock of left-handed pitchers the Twins added to their 40-man roster last month will get a serious examination in Fort Myers. Logan Darnell, Pat Dean, Tyler Rogers, even Randy Rosario (who spent 2015 in low A ball) all started in the minors. If the Twins are serious about wanting that pitcher to be able to do more than get one left-handed hitter out with men on base, a minor league starter might be the way to go.

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