Saturday, March 26, 2016

Whittling the outfielders

Ryan Sweeney was
a second-round pick out
of Cedar Rapids, Iowa,
by the White Sox in

The Twins trimmed their camp roster to 35 Friday by optioning out Max Kepler and releasing Ryan Sweeney, both left-handed hitting outfielders.

These are two players at opposites in their careers. The much-anticipated Kepler is a future regular, if not a future star; he was never going to make this team as a bench piece. The graceful German did well to last this deeply into camp. Next year, he sticks. (He'll be out of options.)

Sweeney is about eight years older than Kepler, and his days as a regular are in the past. His goal is to be a bench piece, and he appears to have a grasp of reality; he sounded grateful to be cut loose at this point because he has 10 days to find another team before the start of the season. The Twins simply have too many outfielders who are younger, stronger and faster than Sweeney.

Sweeney would have had a better chance 30 years ago, when teams carried just 10 pitchers. The Twins are likely to have just one full-time outfielder on their bench. I figure the four extra position players will be John Ryan Murphy (catcher), Eduardo Nunez (infielder), Oswaldo Arcia (outfielder) and Danny Santana (infielder-outfielder).

That would also leave Darin Mastroianni and Carlos Quentin off the roster. While I could make a case for Mastroianni as a defensive specialist, I have a difficult time seeing how Quentin fits on the current roster. He can hit, but that's all he can do to help, and the DH slot is well-occupied.

1 comment:

  1. I would hope in the next round of collective bargaining, the players negotiate for a 26th man with a pitcher maximum of 13. I honestly wish teams could only have a maximum of 12 because I miss pinch hitting, platoons, and late inning defensive replacements.