Minnesota Twins Cuts Round 2: Berrios Among 9 Players

Minnesota Twins prospect, Jose Berrios, among latest round of cuts

The Minnesota Twins cut 9 more players from their Spring Training roster this morning, including promising pitcher, Jose Berrios. Cutting Berrios was expected for service time reasons, and by doing so, the Twins have whittled the battle for the starting rotation to just six pitchers. With two weeks to go until Opening Day, Twins’ management wants to get as many at-bats and innings for those strongly in the mix for the final 25 man roster.

Those optioned to AAA Rochester:

Pitcher: Alex Meyer

1B/DH: Kennys Vargas

Infielder: Jorge Polanco

Players who were reassigned to the minor league complex:

Outfielder: Joe Benson

Infielder: Jorge Polanco

Pitchers: Jose Berrios

Nick Burdi

Catchers: Mitch Garver

Stuart Turner

By optioning Berrios, and keeping him in the minors for roughly two weeks after the start of the season, the Minnesota Twins will maintain contract control until after 2022, versus 2021 if they do not. Berrios excelled early in camp, but struggled during an intra-squad game earlier this week. Sending him down will help him fine tune everything before his eventual call-up.

By then, the Twins will have a handle on their starting five…maybe. Tommy Milone and Ricky Nolasco are now battling head-to-head for the last spot. Milone has clearly outperformed Nolasco so far this spring. Nolasco’s agent last week said that Ricky would not be happy in a relief role, asking instead for the Twins to explore other options for him.

Cutting infielder Jorge Polanco was expected. Even though Polanco continues to hit, his throwing remains an issue. Twins coaches have praised Polanco for the extra work he has put in on the back fields with his fielding, but he hasn’t found consistency yet. His bat has already garnered him call-ups in each of the last two seasons, and an injury to a middle infielder (or backup Eduardo Nunez), could result in another promotion.

Nick Burdi was a somewhat surprising cut as Michael Tonkin’s struggles have widened the competition for one of the open bullpen roles.

The other cuts were expected, though many had hoped Alex Meyer would have made a bigger push to make the bullpen. While possessing a major league arm, his control problems doomed him once again. His 2.36 WHIP was second-worst on the team this spring. Kennys Vargas will return to Rochester, his path at the major-league level now blocked by Byung-ho Park. An injury to either Park or Joe Mauer would likely result in a Vargas promotion.

Twins (8-7 in Grapefruit League) will once again take on the Boston Red Sox (6-10) this afternoon at 12:05 (CDT) at JetBlue Park. Tyler Duffey will start for the Twins, going up against Rick Porcello. The Twins have also called over some extra bodies from the minor league complex for today’s game, including another look at pitcher Jake Reed.