Monday, February 19, 2007

Job shortage

FORT TRAFFICJAMBURG, Fla. -- This is Gardy’s sixth spring training as manager. And he’s more than pleased to trumpet the fact that for the first time entering camp, he has all of his position players set. He’s particularly pleased to say he has a starting third baseman in Nick Punto. I’m not sure anyone was more frustrated with the Tony Batista signing last year than Gardy.

Nonetheless, there is a DH role still up for grabs and some backup jobs to be won. Newly acquired third baseman Jeff Cirillo and catcher Mike Redmond are locks for backup roles. Figuring none of the minor league free agent lefty relievers will make the club and the Twins will keep 11 pitchers, that leaves four open bench spots. Figure Lew Ford is a lock, since for some head-scratching reason the Twins tendered him a contract and are paying him almost $1 million this season. (WHY!? WHY!? WHY!?)

My predictions for the other spots: OF Jason Tyner, OF Jason Kubel and SS/2B Alejandro Machado.

Look for Cirillo and Kubel to split DH at-bats. Makes sense: Cirillo bats right handed; Kubel left handed. Minor league free agent Ken Harvey will get a look in camp as a potential DH.

As for the backup IF situation, the Twins are looking for someone who can backup shortstop Jason Bartlett and has speed. Rule 5er Machado has a vacuum glove and speed. Machado, 24, can play second base, too. Gardy still likes Luis Rodriguez, but his lack of speed and range at shortstop make him a long shot. Ideally, second baseman of the future Alexi Casilla will start the season in the minors.

1 comment:

Twins Territory said...

Yes!

Another blog from Spring Training. There are already two other blogs from Spring Training so it should be a fun pre-season.

I'll try to get the word out about your blog later today in my blog.