Bad news for pitchers Aaron Thompson, Tyler Robertson, Deolis Guerra, Lester Oliveros, and Scott Diamond and hitters Oswaldo Arcia, Steve Pearce, Danny Rams, and Darin Mastroianni. Those nine men will officially not make the Twins roster out of Spring Training, as they have been cut by the team. Arcia has been placed on the Fort Myers Miracle roster, Guerra, Oliveros, Diamond, and Robertson have been sent to AAA Rochester, and the others are going to the minor league camp to compete for positions.
Noted football coach Homer Simpson once said that cutting players is “the easiest part of any coach’s job,” but I’m sure it’s a little tougher for Ron Gardenhire and the rest of the Twins staff this year, since they have well over 60 players and can only take 25 north in April. On the plus side, after today’s 17-6 pounding at the hands of the Pirates, there are quite a few Twins pitchers who must be very grateful the team didn’t wait a few hours to make the cuts!
It’s a bit surprising that Oliveros was cut so early in the spring. I doubt that the cut was based on his performance in Fort Myers; he picked up the save yesterday, and he has given up just one run in three innings to go with four strikeouts. And it isn’t as the team thinks he lacks potential, since the 23 year old with a lively fastball was obviously high enough on the Twins radar to be worth trading Delmon Young for. Oliveros put up a respectable 4.05 ERA in 13.1 innings of work for the Twins late in 2011, long after Minnesota’s season was lost. Despite the cut, we have not seen the last of Oliveros. He is too talented, and the Twins’ bullpen situation is too weak, for him not to get a chance. Barring injury or an unexpected meltdown, Oliveros should get a call to the Show some time before early summer.
I also thought that Mastrioanni would get a longer look. Trevor Plouffe is not exactly an exciting option as the primary backup outfielder, and Mastrioanni’s ability to play center field should have kept him in the running a little longer. He’s basically a younger, more talented version of Jason Repko, and if Repko could stay on the Major League roster for two seasons, why not Mastroianni?
Arcia, Robertson, and Rams are still considered prospects, and none of them were a threat to make the Twins, so this is not really a setback for them. Guerra is also a prospect, one who thrived last summer after being switched to a relief role. Some might have considered him a darkhorse candidate to win a bullpen slot. He still may make an appearance with the Twins in 2012, but a poor showing this spring (15.00 ERA in three innings of work) did nothing to improve his chances.