Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Spring training trip: A day off

The wife and I take one day of our biannual spring training trip to go to Sanibel, and Monday was the day for that.

Really, the Twins highlight for the day for me came in the evening, when my wife was checking out at the Publix on Six Mile Cypress and Tony Oliva strolled by.

While I was off on my island jaunt, the Twins were making the Lance Lynn signing official. On Sunday, with the deal not yet official, the Twins released Anibal Sanchez, which created room on the 40-man roster for Lynn.

Lynn will start today as the Twins try to ramp him up for the opening rotation.

Paul Molitor hasn't named his opening day starter, much less the rotation, but he has said that it's more important to have Jose Berrios lined up to pitch in the Puerto Rico series than in the opener. My guess, therefore, is that the rotation will go Jake Odorizzi, Kyle Gibson, Berrios and Lynn. As I understand it, Berrios in game three sets him up not only to pitch in Puerto Rico but in the home opener. And pushing Lynn back to the fourth game will give him the opportunity to work in one more tune-up start in Florida.

Meanwhile, Phil Hughes had a pretty solid outing Monday night. He's probably Plan B for the rotation if -- let's make that when -- somebody gets hurt; in the meantime, he will be in the bullpen. Sanchez is already released.  The third member of what I called the Tier One candidates for the rotation, Aldaberto Mejia, will likely be sent to Triple A.

And that will probably have a domino effect on the prospect crew that made up Tiers Two and Three (Aaron Slegers, Stephen Gonsalves, Fernando Romero, Felix Jorge, Zack Littell, Dietrich Enns). At least one of those six was going to be in Double A; now it's likely two of them will.

One point Derek Falvey made about the Lynn signing is that adding him doesn't really block the prospects. Both Lynn and Ervin Santana will be free agents after 2018; Odorizzi, Gibson and Hughes after 2019. The Twins will be quite happy if the prospects get to spend this season marinating in Triple A, and wait to step into the rotation plans in 2019.

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