In case you hadn’t heard, the Twins are getting the band back together. This offseason, it was already announced that Jason Bartlett and Jason Kubel were returning to Minnesota, and just yesterday, the Twins announced the return of reliever Matt Guerrier. Many people seem to believe all three of these players will be joining the major league roster. Even though the Twins were pretty miserable, I think this is fairly unlikely.
Jason Bartlett seems the least likely to make the team or even see Target Field this year. He was out of baseball last year and already seemed to be falling apart before he was hurt, garnering most of his value on defense. Coming off of lower body injuries, I don’t trust him to continue to be a strong defender, and his offense was based on a lot of luck. I can’t imagine he will even be with the organization in June.
Jason Kubel stands to break camp with the team, or so it seems. Many projections have him as the designated hitter when the season begins, but I wonder how long that will last. He simply stopped hitting last year, and I don’t think there is a good reason that he will turn it around in 2014 playing in a tougher ball park. His bad statistics aren’t a fluke. He wasn’t getting robbed, he was striking out and he wasn’t hitting the ball as hard. I think there is a decent chance that Miguel Sano makes it to the Majors this year. Trevor Plouffe, at this point, is a better hitter than Kubel, and I find it hard to believe the team would elect Kubel over Plouffe.
Matt Guerrier, on the other hand, has a chance. He had a bit of an elbow injury last year, which drove his cost down. The Twins aren’t hurting in the bullpen right now, but inevitably, they will be later in the season. Matt Guerrier will be able to find his arm and confidence in Rochester, without hurting the team through the first month or so, until someone in the Major League bullpen gets injured or starts to underperform. His time in Los Angeles was similar to his time with the Twins. The only concern should be his recent injury history, but he hasn’t shown a tendency towards significant decline yet, and he will bolster the depth of a unit that can always use more depth. The other former Twin signings were lottery tickets, but the Guerrier deal just makes sense.