With Opening Day a week away and spring training winding down, the Twins face some tough decisions to get their 25-man roster finalized.
I'll get this out of the way, Willians Astudillo is making the roster. Book it. Ship it. It's happening and if it doesn't, I'm going to root for the White Sox or do something worse, move to Green Bay.
For a handful of players, it's not a guarantee.
Austin was acquired from the Yankees in the Lance Lynn trade last summer and the guy hits dingers. The 27 year old hit nine homers in 35 games for the Twins in 2018 and he's slugging .643 in spring training.
But he doesn't have great plate discipline and his lack of position versatility isn't helping his case.
C.J. Cron will likely be the everyday first baseman and Austin doesn't play in the outfield, where the starters are set (Eddie Rosario, Byron Buxton, Max Kepler). He could be expendable even though he's out of options.
Cave is another player the Twins acquired from the Yankees. He played admirably last season slashing .269/.316/.481.
He played mostly center field and that appears to be Buxton's position again. Not to say he couldn't play a corner outfield spot but center is where he made his home. Cave seemed to be a lock to be the fourth outfielder when spring began but he's being pushed by Michael Reed.
Reed, 26, was actually born in Maplewood, Minnesota, but played high school baseball in Texas. Minnesota acquired him shortly after the 2018 season ended.
Drafted in the fifth round of the 2011 MLB Draft, Reed hit the cover off the ball in the minors last year at both AA and AAA, slashing .342/.452/.520. He's played in just 22 MLB games since 2015, but he can play corner outfield spots.
In Fort Myers, he's collected five hits in 17 at-bats this spring. Reed also is out of options, where Cave is not. So he might end up being the fourth outfielder while Cave heads to Triple-A Rochester.
Between Austin, Cave and Reed, it's doesn't seem likely more than one will make the final roster.
Adrianza has been the Twins utility man since 2017 and he's been a serviceable player.
He primarily plays shortstop and third base but he can play the right side of the infield in a pinch.
During his time in Minnesota he's slashed .256/.309/.380, but in Fort Myers this spring he has shown a bit of a power stroke. In 33 at-bats, Adrianza has seven extra-base hits, three home runs and is slugging .818.
He's been battling with Ronald Torreyes for the utility spot and he likely has the leg up on him.
Torreyes – guess what? – used to play for the Yankees. He spent the last three seasons in New York and is a career .281 hitter.
In terms of his glove, Torreyes is a little more versatile than Adrianza.
- 92 career games at second base
- 74 career games at third base
- 60 career games at shortstop
He's gotten his fair share of plate appearances in Fort Myers this spring with his 43 at-bats the most on the team. Again, I think it would take a lot for Adrianza not to win the job but maybe the Twins' decision makers like what they've seen from Torreyes
The Twins have tried Romero as a reliever this spring and the results haven't been great.
In nine appearances, he's allowed nine runs and is battling control issues as he's walked more batters (9) than he's struck out (8). He's still in camp but he's kind of pitching his way out of a job even if spring training numbers are irrelevant. If the Twins feel his stuff is there, then he'll get a job.
At just 24 years old it's far too early to give up on him but maybe it's best for Romero to go to Rochester and get his groove back. Whether that's as a starter or reliever is up for debate.
Just like Romero, the Twins have been using Mejia as a reliever. His results have been better, but not eye-popping.
In six appearances (one start) Mejia has an ERA of 4.53 but opposing batting are hitting .353 against him. He has nine strikeouts to three walks so the peripherals have been decent.
Two things going in Mejia's favor is that he's out of options and he's a lefty.
After a disappointing first season with the Twins, things haven't gone well for Reed in spring training. He's been shelved with a thumb injury since March 14 and when he has pitched, the results have been awful.
- 16.88 ERA in 5 1/3 innings.
He's likely to open the season on the injured list and because he has a cap hit of $8.5 million, the Twins probably wont cut him. But Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey's comments to Dan Hayes of The Athletic (paywall) weren't exactly encouraging.
"We are trying to work with him around what those changes need to be and how we can help him. But he hasn’t quite hit his stride the way we hope he will," said Falvey.
If Reed isn't healthy or just isn't on the roster at all, it probably locks things up for Matt Magill to make the team. And if Romero doesn't make the roster, maybe the Twins acquire an arm from another team also making cuts.
Regardless, it'll be interesting to see how the Twins roster shakes out by next week.