Sep 14, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Minnesota Twins relief pitcherGlen Perkins
(15) delivers against the Chicago White Sox in the ninth inning at U.S Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
If there’s a spot on the Twins roster that could cause more scrutiny, you’d be hard pressed to find it. Just looking at the seven options above, there are clearly some big omissions when it comes to pitching options.
Obviously Perkins and Fien are locks for the pen, both of them are integral to the Twins late inning success as the closer and setup-man respectively. Perkins dealt with injuries down the stretch last season, but should be all systems go in 2015. Fien has performed well in his setup role, and will look to provide even more value in high leverage situations for the Twins.
The Twins tendered Duensing this offseason and he will be a part of their immediate plans in 2015 because of that fact alone. He provides a reliable left-handed option for the Twins, and could be a trade piece over the summer if the Twins find themselves out of it. Caleb Thielbar compiled a 3.40 ERA for the Twins across 54 games in 2014 and proved he has the ability to compete at the big league level. A season ago he found himself at a 1.76 ERA across 49 games, and he will look to get back closer to that mark in 2015.
After the Twins offered a contract to former Padres pitcher, Stauffer, I think he finds his way into their plans. Although Terry Ryan has mentioned he will be given a chance to start, the likeliest opportunity still comes in the bullpen. I am not sure his former teammate Blaine Boyer makes it with the Twins, but Stauffer can probably be counted in.
While the Twins did select J.R. Graham in the Rule 5 Draft, it appears the deck may be stacked against him. The Twins have kept Rule 5 guys around previously (Ryan Pressly comes to mind), but there may just be too much competition. A strong spring may be the only thing that keeps Graham in the conversation.
At this point, I think the Twins are probably determined to include Alex Meyer on the 25 man roster in some form or another. I have him making the club in the bullpen, but that may be in name alone. The Twins could slide him into the rotation as early as April, and his spot may be flip-flopped with Milone in the rotation. There’s little benefit in sending Meyer back to Rochester, and having him up early appears to make a lot of sense.
As spring training rolls around, the Twins roster shuffle will be a very heated competition and it will be interesting to see what of these projections come to fruition. Make sure to keep locked into Puckett’s Pond for the latest Minnesota Twins news.