With only a few days left of spring the Twins only have a few final roster decisions to make before heading to Maryland to face Baltimore in their opening series beginning April 6th. The Twins announced via Twitter on Friday that Drew Butera was being optioned to AAA Rochester opening the door for former Astros prospect J.R Towles to travel with the team as their third catcher. Aside from the celebratory fist pumps at reading this news and all jokes aside, this does leave the Twins brass with some interesting decision still to make and potentially a more fluid roster than expected.
It would seem that there are two positional roster spots up for grabs and the Twins are choosing between Chris Parmelee, Sean, Burroughs, Brian Dozier and Brian Dinkleman for those final two spots. My contention would be that Dinkleman is out and Ron Gardenhire as much as admitted Parmelee made this roster in comments to the press on Saturday. Parmelee certainly deserves his shot following up his excellent September call up with a .288 spring average, while launching 4 HR, collecting 11 RBI and getting on base at a tidy .382. Parmelee will likely serve as relief for Morneau at 1B but also creates an interesting dynamic in the outfield. It seems the Ben Revere’s spot in right field is no sure thing and Parmelee will be amassing some ABs there, with Denard Span and Josh Willingham filling out the rest of the outfield.
The battle between Dozier and Burroughs for the last roster spot is a fascinating one. Ron Gardenhire suggested in comments lat week that if Dozier was to make the lineup is would be as the clubs’ starting SS, whereas Burroughs would likely fill more of a platoon and utility roll, given his infield versatility. Both have had solid spring, with Burroughs currently possessing a .444 spring OBP. Dozier, while a little less consistent at the plate, has also been solid, sporting a .277 average to go along with 3 spring HR and 9 RBI. Personally I would like to see Dozier start the year at AAA and build on his momentum from last year, where he had an outstanding minor league season. Burroughs offers versatility, a little more experience and a solid pinch hitting option off the bench for Ron Gardenhire. If nothing else Twins fans should be excited about their team’s prospects in the infield, where names such as Parmelee, Dozier, Miguel Sano, Eddie Rosario and Levi Michael suggest that the Twins may be two or three years away from turning around an area of their team that has always been a significant weakness, into a dependable strength.