Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

With options limited, Vargas playing for future

Power hitter, who is enjoying a good spring, likely auditioning for opportunity elsewhere
MLB.com @RhettBollinger

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- While the addition of Logan Morrison should boost an already strong Twins lineup, it leaves the future of Kennys Vargas up in the air.

Vargas came into Spring Training with a strong shot to make the roster and split time at designated hitter with Robbie Grossman, while serving as Joe Mauer's backup at first base. But Morrison is now slated to be the club's everyday DH and the backup to Mauer, which means Vargas is expected to be the odd man out as the end of camp nears.

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- While the addition of Logan Morrison should boost an already strong Twins lineup, it leaves the future of Kennys Vargas up in the air.

Vargas came into Spring Training with a strong shot to make the roster and split time at designated hitter with Robbie Grossman, while serving as Joe Mauer's backup at first base. But Morrison is now slated to be the club's everyday DH and the backup to Mauer, which means Vargas is expected to be the odd man out as the end of camp nears.

Vargas, though, has taken it in stride and is performing well in Grapefruit League action, hitting .318/.444/.455 with three doubles and four walks in nine games.

"I worked a lot in the offseason [on] my approach and trying to be consistent hitting the ball," Vargas said. "I just had a plan since the first day of Spring Training to play hard and try to make the team. I just concentrate on every at-bat. I know everybody is watching, so I just try to put on a show."

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

As Vargas noted, he's not just playing for the Twins this spring -- he's essentially auditioning for the other 29 Major League clubs, as well. Vargas, who is out of Minor League options, is expected to placed on waivers at the end of camp. The Twins would love to see him clear waivers and keep him in the organization at Triple-A Rochester, but he could be claimed by a team looking for a power threat.

"I don't really think about it," Vargas said. "I just try to play hard and see what happens. I let my agent work."

Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey admitted the club has a roster crunch after the addition of Morrison. Twins manager Paul Molitor met individually with players such as Grossman, Eduardo Escobar and Vargas about how the signing of Morrison would affect their roles. Grossman is now competing for the fourth-outfielder position with Zack Granite, while Escobar will see fewer at-bats at DH.

Video: MIN@HOU: Vargas throws home to start inning-ending DP

"Those things we will have to address," Falvey said. "The fortunate part is that we don't have to write out the 25-man until the end of the month. We'll see where it goes. To have all of those fits, it's a challenge."

Vargas, 27, simply wants an opportunity to play every day in the Majors, which has eluded him so far, as he's mostly been a part-time player with the Twins. He's a career .252/.311/.437 hitter with 35 homers and 116 RBIs in 236 games over the last four seasons.

"He's had very few stretches where he's gotten consistent at-bats," Molitor said. "I know he's one of those guys who always talks about, that works better for him than it does for most people. It just isn't always easy to execute that. I do think that hurt him last year."

Vargas played in a career-high 78 games with the Twins in 2017 and hit .253/.314/.444 with 11 homers and 41 RBIs. The switch-hitter has been better against lefties throughout his big league career, but he believes his numbers would improve across the board with consistent playing time.

"That's what I want for my career, playing everyday and putting up good numbers," Vargas said. "I know I can do it. So I'm just going to keep hitting, play hard, play good defense and be a good teammate. And then we'll see what happens to me at the end of Spring Training."

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.

Minnesota Twins, Kennys Vargas