Thursday, March 22, 2018

Tyler Kinley and the roster

A recent rash of stories out of Fort Myers have focused on Tyler Kinley, a big-armed Rule 5 pick who has opened eyes in training camp.

Rule 5 means "use him or lose him." The Twins have to either find a way to fit him on the 25-man active roster all season or return him to the Miami Marlins. (A trade for his rights is theoretically possible, but the Marlins would probably set a high price for him at this point.)

The rule of thumb is that teams with playoff ambitions -- and the Twins are definitely that -- have difficulty fitting a a Rule 5 guy on their roster. Kinley, remember, was only available because the Marlins -- a sub-.500 team getting weaker -- didn't think he was worth putting on their 40-man roster in November.

Kinley isn't the only bullpen candidate who will be an uncomfortable cut; Gabriel Moya, a lefty with outlandish numbers last season in Double A (0.77 ERA), has been outstanding as well. But the Twins can option Moya out. They can't option Kinley.

I've gone though this exercise a time or two already, but ...project the bullpen:

Closer: Fernando Rodney
RH Setup 1: Addison Reed
LH Setup 1: Zach Duke
RH Setup 2: Trevor Hildenberger
LH Setup 2: Taylor Rogers
Middle relief (power arm): Ryan Pressly
Long/spot starter: Phil Hughes
Long/spot starter: Tyler Duffey

That's an eight-man bullpen, and it assumes that the early chatter of a four-man rotation for April holds. If Paul Molitor switches back to five, either Hughes or Duffey moves from the pen to that fifth spot, at least until Ervin Santana returns, and it's the same 12-man staff.

Hildenberger and Rogers, key cogs last season, have had rough springs, but I doubt that either is in serious risk yet. (If they keep getting hammered in April, that's another thing.) I'm less enthused about Pressly than some, but he's been pretty good this spring, and I suspect he's out of options.

Upshot: For Kinley to make the team, I think it's in Pressly's stead. And I think this front office, and this field staff, is too risk-adverse to discard Pressly for an unproven Rule 5 flier. Personally, I wouldn't mind going with Kinley (especially if they can trade Pressly for somebody who doesn't have to go on the 40), but I'm overly fascinated by the guys who haven't failed yet.

1 comment:

  1. And now reported this morning, Duffy to Rochester.

    Back to the drawing board ...