Wednesday, February 8, 2017
Twins In The Business Of Sending Messages
As I alluded to not too long ago, this Twins club is no longer in rebuilding mode. Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton, and Jose Berrios need to be the workhorses they have been touted as for the club to take the next step. Instead, the organization finds itself in a place of supplementation. That is, to push the envelope by adding from outside of the organization. In a piece over at Twins Daily, Nick Nelson did a great job highlighting the focus on defense, and the effect that should have in the wins column for Paul Molitor's club.
In bringing on defensive talent, and really other veteran options as a whole, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have signified they are done playing the waiting game. No longer is standing idly by and hoping that up and coming youth plays out looking like it's going to fly with this front office.
With some real question marks to round out the 25 man roster, veteran options such as J.B. Shuck, Drew Stubbs, Ryan Vogelsong, Nick Tepesch, and Chris Gimenez find themselves in big league camp pushing for a job. For those holdovers in the Twins organization, they can bet each of those guys is coming to Fort Myers with the intention of taking their job.
Most notably however, it appears that the Twins are sending pointed messages to players such as Danny Santana and Eddie Rosario. Santana is a guy that really has no position, and doesn't do much of anything with the bat. His lone perceived value is that he can occupy space all over the field, but that comes with the caveat that it's below average no matter where he stands. With the acquisition of Adrianza, it would certainly appear that Minnesota is willing to move on from that perception for the added value of a defensive wizard.
A guy like Adrianza isn't going to be pushing for MVP votes any time soon, but bringing in a glove first bench player suggests that Minnesota may be done allowing Santana to skate by. Having not made adjustments since an inflated rookie campaign, the former shortstop prospect has continued to stumble down the reliability meter. Although Santana would need to be DFA'd and clear waivers, I'm not certain the Twins care too much at this point.
Too a lesser extent, Rosario appears to be in the crosshairs as well. He too had a very strong rookie season and has taken significant steps backwards since. Bolstered by 15 triples, and held up by outfield assists, both offensively and defensively Rosario left plenty to be desired in his second season. He continues to have a lopsided strikeout to walk ratio, and effort concerns have always loomed close to the young Puerto Rican.
At this point, I'd guess Rosario remains safe with Robbie Grossman and a host of other vets vying for that filler outfield spot. That being said, a poor performance process wise, as well as on the field, this spring could spell his demise. Along the same vein as Santana, Minnesota appears to want to see each of their roster spots earned, and the competition isn't simply has-been reunion stories.
Minor league deals have virtually no downside given the lack of promise they uphold. For a team like the Twins trying to stretch extra wins out of anywhere possible, bringing win competition to either take over or motivate those that end up on their Opening Day roster is far from a bad move. If I were Danny Santana or Eddie Rosario, I'd be treating Fort Myers like it's October baseball from the get go.