Saturday, November 4, 2017

Reducing the 40

Five Twins became free agents Friday. Later the Twins announced that three others had been removed from the 40-man roster.

There will be more deletions, and additions, to come.

The free agents are pitchers Matt Belisle, Bartolo Colon, Dillon Gee, Glen Perkins and Hector Santiago. Multi-position guy Niko Goodrum cleared waivers and was outrighted; I think he's been in the organization long enough to opt for free agency. Pitcher Randy Rosario was claimed by the Cubs, outfielder Daniel Palka by the White Sox.

If there is any surprise here, it's that this wave of 40-man roster deletions wasn't more extensive. Somehow the ax missed Buddy Boshers, Michael Tonkin and Nik Turley; I can't imagine they will make it through the winter unscathed.

I don't think Chris Gimenez has ever gone through a winter on a 40-man roster. And I expect that at some point Kennys Vargas will wind up with a deal to play in Korea or Japan.

My count has 18 pitchers, three catchers, six infielders, six oufielders and one designated hitter remaining on the 40 as of this morning -- plus four pitchers on the 60-day disabled list who must either be returned to the 40 or cut loose (J.T. Chargois, Phil Hughes, Trevor May and Ryan ORourke). Add those four back, and it's at 38. That's too tight for all the prospects who must either be added to the 40 or exposed to the Rule 5 draft next month.

For me, Rosario was the most interesting loss. I saw him pitch in Cedar Rapids in 2015 and thought he had Perkins-like stuff -- mid 90s fastball and a quality slider. It was easy to envision him as a bullpen piece. And he still has an option left.

But he had a down year in Double A this year and did nothing useful in a brief callup in midsummer. Gabriel Moya has certainly passed him as a lefty bullpen option.

Still, the raw material is there. The Cubs claimed him on waivers, which is interesting. Rosario isn't good enough for the Twins 40-man roster, but he is for the Cubs. At least until they try to sneak him through waivers themselves.

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