Out of Options

Today, MLB Trade Rumors posted a list of all players that are heading into the 2010 season that have less than 5 years of service time and are also out of options. The Twins currently have 5 players that must make the 25-man roster or risk being claimed off waivers by another team, although it appears that only one is actually in danger of leaving the team. Can you guess which one, considering the options are Scott Baker, Clay Condrey, Alexi Casilla, Brendan Harris, and Delmon Young?

First up, Scott Baker. It’s safe to say that he won’t be worried about his roster spot, considering that he was named the Opening Day pitcher by Rick Anderson a few days ago. I surely cannot name any time in history that a guaranteed #1 starter was cut from the team before the season started.

Second, Clay Condrey. Yes, he’s a cheap option (1 year, $900,000 contract) but even so, the fact that he has a major league contract suggests that he’s practically guaranteed of starting the season with the Twins. I know the Twins have a surplus of pitching options, but I think his job is safe.

Third, Alexi Casilla. Oh, Alexi Casilla. I’m not sure whether to say that he or Matt Tolbert was hurt more by the signing of Orlando Hudson. In the case of Tolbert, the Twins could just send him to Rochester if there isn’t room for him. But for Casilla, he’d either need to make the team or get placed on waivers. He might not receive a lot of interest, yet far more interesting decisions have been made before (think of the White Sox claiming Alex Rios last year). Of these 5 players that are out of options, I feel that Casilla is the most likely to not start 2010 on the Twins’ big league roster.

Fourth, Brendan Harris. He’s similar to Clay Condrey, except his contract has him staying in Minnesota for 2 years rather than one. For a guy that’s bounced around as much as he has, having some job security must be a welcome feeling. Plus, he provides a little bit of righthanded pop, which the Twins currently lack.

Lastly, there’s Delmon Young. I’m sure many people would like to see the Twins just cut their losses on the Tampa Bay trade and get rid of Young, but the allure of his potential, the fact that he’s only 24, and his production in the second half of the past 2 seasons keeps the front office from giving up on him just yet. Plus, the Twins are already lacking outfielders on both the 25- and 40-man rosters, so I doubt that we would see one of them get removed just to allow a different player to stick on the roster.

One additional point that I would like to make is that Glen Perkins is distinctly missing from this list. The consensus appears that the Twins would trade him once he shows that he’s healthy in spring training, but there’s always the possibility that he gets sent to Rochester to start the season. I’m sure Perkins and his agent wouldn’t approve though, but it’s still an option.

My plan right now would have Glen Perkins and Alexi Casilla removed from the major league roster. In addition to clearing space on the 40-man roster as well, it would give a chance for someone like Matt Tolbert and Brian Duensing to make the team out of spring training. I view Duensing as being a better pitcher than Perkins, and Tolbert as essentially the same as Casilla. Another option would be if Pat Neshek is deemed healthy by the start of the season, he could take the place of Duensing in the bullpen, who then gets sent to Triple-A Rochester. If Neshek is indeed healthy and shows no issues from recovering from Tommy John surgery, then I would think that the substitution of him for Duensing would be the best case scenario.

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