I was saddened to learn of the passing of Twins bench coach Mike Bell on Friday. I am certainly no insider with baseball or the Twins organization, but descriptions of the quality of Bell’s character make me regret not having the opportunity to have met him. My heart goes out to those who will miss him most. RIP
I’ve written a couple of pieces this spring that seem to have been upended by news that the Twins were going to start the season with Alex Kirilloff left off the roster. First, there was the idea that this was the year for rookies, and then also that this was a drama free year at spring training.
Brett Rooker looks to be a prime candidate to start the season in left, the presumed spot that Kirilloff was to take on this roster. Kirilloff isn’t being sent down because he is a rookie. One could reasonably presume that if service time was the sole factor, his spot wouldn’t be claimed by another first year player.
If not Rooker, the spot will go to Kyle Garlick, who has been sensational this spring, clubbing 5 home runs in 39 plate appearances, leading to an OPS of 1.014. By comparison, Kirilloff had an OPS of .440. Kirilloff was terrible this spring, and Garlick was not. It’s hard to think it’s a terribly dramatic decision to let the young budding superstar fix his swing while the hot hand plays on the Major League roster.
It’s not the plan that the Twins went into spring with, but the back up solutions aren’t that terrible, particularly since this will only be a temporary set back for Kirilloff, and gives Rooker or Garlick a chance to show their worth.