June 24, 2024

The constraints imposed by options play a significant role in shaping roster decisions for the Twins this spring. They essentially act as the hidden force guiding the composition of the team’s Opening Day roster, and it’s crucial to take them into account when formulating your own projected roster.

Spring training often serves as a battleground where aspiring big-league players vie for coveted spots on the parent club. Positions such as the final bullpen slots, the fifth starter, the fourth outfielder, or utility roles are frequently up for grabs. At times, even starting roles are fiercely contested between seasoned veterans.

Over time, there has been a decline in the number of position battles during spring training, as teams gain a better understanding of each player’s capabilities, and less emphasis is placed on spring statistics. However, this year, the Twins’ flexibility for position battles is subject to debate, not solely because of discernibly superior or inferior players, but also due to roster regulations.

Enter the minor league option. Upon the arrival of Opening Day, a comprehensive overview of options and their implications for Twins players will be provided, akin to last year’s primer. However, it’s worth examining a few cases during spring training. Essentially, for a player to be eligible for inclusion on an MLB active roster, they must be listed on the team’s expanded 40-man roster. Any player on the 40-man roster can be assigned to either the majors or minors.

If a player is demoted to the minors while on the 40-man roster, they must have remaining option years. In the absence of option years, the player must be subjected to waivers before being sent down. During this process, any team willing to assume the player’s salary can claim them, with neither the player nor their original team able to impede the move.

This is significant because several players within the organization have reached a point where they are out of minor league options. Consequently, these players must either secure a roster spot with the Twins at the conclusion of spring training or risk being placed on waivers and potentially claimed by another team before being sent to Triple-A St. Paul.

However, it’s important to note that some of these players who lack options are already considered integral parts of the team and are not candidates for demotion regardless of previous considerations. Notable names like Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, Carlos Correa, Pablo López, Caleb Thielbar, and Brock Stewart fall into this category.

On the other hand, players who still have options available but are likely to make the Opening Day roster (health permitting) include Royce Lewis, Edouard Julien, Matt Wallner, Ryan Jeffers, Alex Kirilloff, Willi Castro, Joe Ryan, Bailey Ober, Jhoan Duran, Griffin Jax, and Justin Topa. While there may be some room for debate regarding a few of these players, it would be surprising to see them excluded from the team’s plans for the start of the season.

Considering the roster constraints, there are only a limited number of bench spots, rotation spots, and bullpen spots up for grabs during spring training, with some already potentially claimed by certain players.

Spring training presents an arena where aspiring major leaguers vie for coveted spots on the parent club, with competition particularly fierce for the last bullpen spots, the fifth starting role, the fourth outfielder position, or the utility infielder spot. Occasionally, even starting roles are contested between seasoned veterans.

Over time, the number of position battles during spring training has diminished as teams gain a better understanding of their roster’s capabilities, with less emphasis placed on spring statistics. However, this year, the Twins’ flexibility in these battles is subject to debate, not solely due to discernibly superior or inferior players but also owing to roster regulations.

Enter the concept of minor league options. A comprehensive guide on options and their implications for Twins players will be released upon the arrival of Opening Day. In essence, for a player to be eligible for inclusion on the MLB active roster, they must be listed on the team’s expanded 40-man roster. Any player on the 40-man roster can be assigned to either the majors or minors.

If a player is demoted to the minors while on the 40-man roster, they must have remaining option years. However, if a player has no option years remaining, they must be subjected to waivers before being sent down. During this process, any team willing to assume the player’s salary can claim them, with neither the player nor their original team able to impede the move.

This holds significance because several players within the organization have exhausted their minor league options and must secure a roster spot with the Twins or risk being placed on waivers and potentially claimed by another team before being sent to Triple-A St. Paul.

However, some players who lack options are already considered essential contributors to the team, such as Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, Carlos Correa, Pablo López, Caleb Thielbar, and Brock Stewart.

Furthermore, players who still have options available but are likely to make the Opening Day roster include Royce Lewis, Edouard Julien, Matt Wallner, Ryan Jeffers, Alex Kirilloff, Willi Castro, Joe Ryan, Bailey Ober, Jhoan Duran, Griffin Jax, and Justin Topa.

This leaves a limited number of bench spots, rotation spots, and bullpen spots up for grabs during spring training. For example, Kyle Farmer and Christian Vazquez, both without options remaining, are likely locks for the bench, alongside Manuel Margot, who is also out of options.

In terms of starting rotation spots, Chris Paddack and Anthony DeSclafani, both out of options, are effectively penciled into the fourth and fifth spots, potentially leaving young pitchers like Louie Varland, Simeon Woods Richardson, David Festa, or Randy Dobnak waiting for their chance to shine.

 

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