Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Inbox: Who gets final roster spots?

Twins beat reporter Rhett Bollinger answers fans' questions
March 28, 2017

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- With Opening Day less than a week away, the Twins' roster is starting to take shape.There are still questions about the last few roster spots, specifically the fifth starter, the final two spots in the bullpen and the backup catcher role. Otherwise, injuries to players such

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- With Opening Day less than a week away, the Twins' roster is starting to take shape.
There are still questions about the last few roster spots, specifically the fifth starter, the final two spots in the bullpen and the backup catcher role. Otherwise, injuries to players such as Kennys Vargas and Ehire Adrianza have offered clarity, essentially meaning ByungHo Park, Eduardo Escobar and Danny Santana are expected to head north.
:: Submit a question to the Twins Inbox ::
But other questions remain about this roster, and with that in mind, here's the final Inbox of the spring heading into Opening Day on April 3 against the Royals at Target Field:

The competition is still not over, but it does appear that Chris Gimenez is the favorite to be the backup catcher over John Ryan Murphy. The new Twins front office is familiar with Gimenez from his time with the Rangers and Indians, and they value his leadership and ability behind the plate. Plus, he hits lefties well, which makes him a good pairing with the left-handed hitting Jason Castro.
The Twins still like Murphy, who is on the 40-man roster unlike Gimenez, but he's had trouble offensively since being acquired from the Yankees. The issue is what the Twins will do with their 40-man roster to make room for Gimenez, which leads to the next question.

Park seems like a lock to make the roster, and an easy way to get him on the 40-man roster is to put closer Glen Perkins on the 60-day disabled list, as Perkins still has a ways to go coming back from his labrum surgery. But if Gimenez is added, too, the Twins will have to remove someone, and they're still discussing that internally.
It essentially depends on the back of the bullpen with players such as Rule 5 pick Justin Haley and right-hander Michael Tonkin, who is out of options. If either doesn't make the team, they would be removed from the 40-man. But if they both make it, they'd have to designate a player for assignment. Player Page for Buddy Boshers could be a candidate, as he's struggled this spring, but did have a surprisingly solid year last season.

Jose Berrios was sent down because he couldn't get stretched out in time for the start of the season after being used sparingly in the World Baseball Classic, but he still has elite stuff and simply needs to put it together with better command. His electric inning against Team USA with three strikeouts showcased his ability and why the Twins are still high on him despite a rookie season that saw him post an unsightly 8.02 ERA. He's likely to be the first starter called up if anything happens to anyone in the rotation.

Miguel Sano changed his mechanics slightly at the plate, bringing his hands lower and closer to his body, but has still had trouble making contact this spring, striking out 20 times in 41 at-bats. Strikeouts remain his biggest issue, as he's struck 297 times in 830 career plate appearances.
The Twins, though, aren't panicking just yet, as it's only Spring Training, and he still possesses incredible power. His defense has been mostly adequate at third this spring, as he's surprisingly athletic and has a strong arm, but still has occasional issues with routine plays.

That's certainly the hope for the Twins, as they're looking for a year like 2015, when they contended until the last weekend of the season and finished with a winning record. But much of it'll depend on how the young players fare and if the rotation can be competent. Despite losing 103 games last year, the clubhouse remains upbeat and positive, but now they'll have to prove it over 162 games. 

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Read his blog, **Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter [@RhettBollinger](https://twitter.com/RhettBollinger)** and listen to his podcast.