As the Minnesota Twins ended their 2022 season with a disappointing September whimper, injuries forced the Twins to expand their 40 man roster well beyond the group that they started the year with. By the time November is coming to an end that number will have to be down to at least 40.
As the Twins start crafting their 2023 roster, there’s a lot of garbage that needs to be cleaned out and a lot of questions that need to be answered before the 40-man roster is finalized. With this in mind, I dug into what next year’s group would look like.
Who’s in and who’s out for the 2023 Minnesota Twins 40-Man roster?
When taking a look at which players might return, I focused on upside, talent, and value to the organization, but I’ll get started with the players who are almost foregone conclusions to be gone in 2023.
Players Guaranteed to be off the Minnesota Twins 40-Man in 2023
This first group is guys who will not be on the forty-man roster to start 2023, players who aren’t key options or are looking to hit free agency. Several (like Jake Cave) might be back in the organization, but they won’t be protected to start the season.
Chris Archer: Flashes of past brilliance are fewer and farther between for the former Tampa Bay Rays, so might be near the end of the road. His $10 million team option wouldn’t make sense for the Twins, but maybe someone else will take another flyer on him.
Dylan Bundy: A free agent who will likely get a spring training invite or minimum deal somewhere, his $11 million option doesn’t make sense for what he brings to the table as a back end guy. The Twins have much better options.
Jake Cave: A good teammate and a great hustle guy, Jake Cave may be back as a spring training invitee, but is likely on the outside looking in again in the outfield group. The Twins love him and he seems to like it here, so he likely lands back in the organization.
Carlos Correa: Who’s the highest bidder? Carlos Correa is almost certain to test the market, and while there’s a chance the Twins will remain the best bid, I have my strong doubts. He’s a great player, but I don’t see him returning.
Michael Fulmer: Fulmer is certain to hit the free agent market and see where it takes him. After he posted a 4.14 FIP and a 1.562 WHIP, it seems unlikely that he’ll wind up back in Minnesota.
Kyle Garlick: Garlick ay be back as another spring training invitee, but in the outfield group he falls victim as one of the odd men out with so many options. The Twins might keep him for his lefty-prowess, but it seems unlikely to me.
Billy Hamilton: The free agent veteran journeyman with electric speed will continue his journey somewhere else. He was always going to be a member of the Minnesota Twins for a short period of time.
Sandy Leon: Sandy Leon is a good guy who plays solid defense, but he has no bat whatsoever. As a free agent, the Twins will definitely look elsewhere at catcher.
Gary Sanchez: His defensive skills are below average, and while he does have some power, he and the Twins will test the free agent market before any decisions are made. It would be a big surprise to see him in a Minnesota uniform next year.
Miguel Sano: Sano needs a fresh start with someone other than Minnesota (who will almost certainly decline their option on him). He still has legit power, but with enormous strikeout numbers and struggles with contact, he’s not the answer. I do wish him the best on finding a home and revitalizing his career
Devin Smeltzer: The last member of this group that’s unlikely to remain on the roster, Smeltzer could back as a spring training invitee if he goes unclaimed. He served the Twins well as a minor league depth option.
Caleb Hamilton: Hamilton showed some promise at catcher and offered slight improvement with his perennially weak bat, but was is it enough to protect him? I’d be surprised.
Aaron Sanchez: A journeyman starter who can fill in as depth starter in the minors, I don’t see the Twins protecting him if they pick anyone up or keep some prospects who are Rule 5 draft eligible.
Minnesota Twins who the Team needs to Make a Decision on
The next players on this list have shown or contributed to the Twins. These players are in baseball purgatory, as they still have skills that are MLB potential, but there’s a question mark. It could be as an up-and-coming prospect, a veteran who still gas left in tank, or a player who’s dealing with an injury.
Danny Coulombe: Started hot before his injury but will be looking for an opportunity somewhere else. which could be back with the Twins but didn’t show enough for me to think he’s protectable after an injury set back.
Jordan Balazovic: A brutal setback season for him saw him beset with injuries. He’s most likely back, as he was a Top 100 prospect just a year ago, but it becomes a numbers game if an attractive waiver wire appears
Gilberto Celestino: Celestino has a lot of skill and has learned on the job, but patience on his baseball IQ may be wearing thin as he makes basic fundamental mistakes in a competitive, yet murky, outfield group.
Mark Contreras: Flashed some nice outfield speed and defense with some quality at-bats. Unfortunately, Mark Contreras also produced some very poor at-bats. In a crowded outfield, do the Twins protect him?
Ronny Henriquez: A young arm with a nice slider and a low 90’s fastball acquired in the Mitch Garver trade. He impressed in his first few MLB games, but wasn’t great in AAA. How much confidence does the team have in him and where do the Twins project him to pitch in the bigs?
Trevor Megill: Throws absolute gas, command is an issue, but it’d be hard to give up on his power arm at an affordable price.
Chris Paddack: The Twins could offer him an affordable arbitration contract, but coming off his 2nd Tommy John surgery it may be too much of a risk as he’s not back until at least August of 2023
Emillo Pagan: It’s hard to believe he’d be protected after a season like this year, but the Twins kept him this long. He’s certainly not a fan favorite.
Jermaine Palacios: Palacios didn’t show well in his MLB opportunities, but looked good at AAA. His spot will all come down to who the Minnesota Twins want to protect in the upcoming Rule 5 Draft.
Jhon Romero: Looked good in a very brief flash, but disappeared after that due to injuries. Was there enough good to justify him sticking around?
Cole Sands: Twins have been patient in Sands’ development and he had some positive stretches. The team’s patience will likely continue.
Cody Stashak: 2022 was the second year in row that was cut short by injury for Cody Stashak. He’s extremely talented with good numbers, but perhaps it’s time to move on and give the spot to a more healthy player.
Gio Urshela: Urshela is an interesting case as to what do the Twins do at 1B and 3B in 2023. He’s a nice veteran player with arbitration eligibility that could offer insurance to Miranda and Kiriloff, but do the Twins want to pay him?
Blayne Enlow: Top flight prospect who sputtered a bit, next year is huge for him. They protected him before, so i’d be surprised if they didn’t again.
Minnesota Twins who need Protection and will almost certainly be back
Tyler Mahle: It’d seem foolish to not offer a contract via arbitration, but his injured arm/shoulder (despite no structural damage) is a pause for concern on his durability. Still, the team gave up too much to not have him come back.
Caleb Thielbar: Another solid year for the lefty was likely enough for the Twins to offer him another arbitrated contract at 36, even with a slight raise. With the lack of lefties in the pen, it’s necessary.
Jorge Alcala: Alcala is power arm with great upside. He has to be protected, despite injury.
Luis Arraez: Wouldn’t back to back batting titles be cool? A career year means he’s guaranteed to return.
Byron Buxton: Buxton is still so talented. We have to take what we can get when we get it with him. Occasionally healthy Buxton is better than no Buxton.
Jhoan Duran: After an incredible rookie year, make him the closer!
Nick Gordon: Gordon had a very solid year in a utility role and has earned another year on the MLB minimum salary in that role.
Sonny Gray: Sonny Gray had a very solid first year in Minnesota, so I can’t imagine the Twins not exercising their option on him.
Griffin Jax: Breakout season in the new relief role, hopefully he can follow it up
Ryan Jeffers: Best remaining catcher currently in the system, he’ll have to take a step forward but he’ll be back for now.
Max Kepler: Kepler has another year remaining on his contract, and it’s possible the new shift rules will make it less painful to watch him ground out to 2nd base. He shouldn’t start, but he should be back.
Alex Kirilloff: The wrist injury is concerning but it’s not time to give up on him yet.
Trevor Larnach: Next year is time for Trevor to get it done after two injury-plagued seasons. Similar to Kirilloff, he’s not a question mark for now now.
Royce Lewis: After another year lost to injury, the Minnesota Twins top prospect will start 2023 on the injury list, but he’ll undoubtedly remain with this team.
Jorge Lopez: Lopez is arbitration eligible and he didn’t light it up post-trade, but with so many questions in the bullpen, he’ll be counted on in the late innings holder or closer role again.
Kenta Maeda: Fingers crossed Kenta is healthy and productive in 2023, but his deal is cheap enough that he’s a guarantee.
Jose Miranda: A slow start, followed by a fantastic August, and a middling September has certainly earned another year (possibly more).
Jovani Moran: Moran has worked his way up nicely through the minors and looks ready for a bullpen role next year to start the season.
Bailey Ober: Ober looked great when healthy and definitely will compete for a rotation spot.
Jorge Polanco: Hopefully gets healthy for a full season 2023 work load, but he can be a difference maker when he’s going good. The Minnesota Twins’ longest tenured player will be back next year.
Joe Ryan: Took a huge step forward this season and will look to solidify himself as a top of the rotation guy in 2023.
Louie Varland: A feel good story for the born and bred Minnesotan. Hopefully can keep the upward momentum and be a back end starter next season, even if he misses out on the initial Minnesota Twins roster.
Matt Wallner: Another Minnesotan who lit up 2022 is coming off Minor League Player of the Year Award from the Twins. He’ll be competing for an outfield spot (and a possible starting job.
Josh Winder: I liked his arm in the relief role, so perhaps he’s found a home there? Either way, he’ll be back for 2023.
Simeon Woods Richardson: Another live young arm. It could be getting close to time for the Twins to make a youth movement to anchor the rotation with him and Varland.
There you have it, it’s a crowded house that will develop in the upcoming weeks. Where and how and the Twins shape their roster for 2023 will be fodder in the near future. Hopefully they add some pitching help to boost this roster further!