The Twins have some difficult decisions coming up in the next week as they try to finalize who on their 40-man roster they are going to have playing in Twins uniforms this September.
Teams are allowed to have everyone on their 40-man roster playing in September but the Twins have historically limited these call-ups to seven or eight guys.
Since the team is four games below .500 and they are now sitting six games behind the Detroit Tigers in the AL Central race, the playoff hopes for the Twins are basically over. It's time for the Twins to think about the future of the club.
Allowing young players to get some experience in the Majors in low-leverage situations accelerates the learning curve and helps alleviate potential problems with nerves.
It also allows teams to get a better idea how good their younger players are to gauge their strategies going into the free agency season.
It's time for the Twins to start making preparations for 2010 and this needs to be addressed with their roster decisions for September.
Here are the players the Twins could bring up right now in September:
Pitchers: R.A. Dickey, Armando Gabino, and Kevin Mulvey.
Position players Drew Butera, Jose Morales, Wilson Ramos, Brian Buscher, Luke Hughes, Matt Macri, Trevor Plouffe, Deibinson Romero, Matt Tolbert, Steve Tolleson and Jason Pridie.
It's hard to say who exactly the Twins want to bring up, but it's likely the knuckleballer Dickey, catcher Jose Morales, infielder Brian Buscher and utility man Matt Tolbert are locks.
Ron Gardenhire likes these players and would want to reward their hard work with a few extra appearances on the Twins.
Since pitching is a weak spot for the Twins, it would not be a surprise to see Mulvey and Gabino up, too. Both players can start, and with a starting staff nearly falling apart, their presence will help keep the Twins competitive.
There are also some players the Twins should call up who are not on the 40-man roster. Relief pitchers Rob Delaney, Anthony Slama, and Juan Morillo should see some playing time, so the Twins know what their bullpen needs are coming into 2010.
This is a problem, as there are only two pitchers the Twins can comfortably drop from their roster without too much concern: Bobby Keppel and R.A. Dickey.
I would put Juan Morillo as the odd man out, but all indications from the Twins' front office shows that Anthony Slama is the pitcher from this group least likely to make it onto the Twins roster.
Danny Valencia, third baseman of the future, probably deserves a good look this September. Adding him to the roster should be easy. Matt Macri has struggled all year in AAA and appears his usefulness is at an end.
The Twins should also send up Luke Hughes, Trevor Plouffe and Steve Tolleson to get playing time at second base and shortstop.
These positions are weaknesses for the Twins and seeing the level of available talent will once again help the Twins understand their real strengths and weaknesses.
Finally, I would also call up catcher Drew Butera. He's on the roster, he's a catcher, he might as well spend some time up in the majors, if only to catch in the bullpen.
Calling people up in September can get expensive, and the Twins are notoriously miserly in their management habits.
However, the Twins are playing for the future and have to spend the money now to avoid overspending on unnecessary washed up veteran free agents in 2010.