JUPITER, Fla. -- Major League front offices have many factors to take into account when deciding on Opening Day roster spots, and the result isn't always a strict meritocracy.
One such factor weighing on the Twins this spring is the option system. Several Minnesota players battling for jobs -- including three (Samuel Deduno, Vance Worley and Scott Diamond) of the four candidates for the fifth-starter spot -- are out of options, meaning they can't be sent to the Minor Leagues without first passing through waivers and giving every other organization a chance to claim them.
This can create differences of opinion between a front office trying to protect assets and a manager who wants the best 25 players right now. Twins skipper Ron Gardenhire is in that category, although he said Wednesday that he does understand the other factors involved.
"Yeah, but do I have to agree with it? No," Gardenhire said.
"Sometimes when you run out of options, you've had plenty of chances here to figure the thing out. So they're deceiving. Don't let them deceive you. They don't deceive me. They are in my way."
Assistant general manager Rob Antony pointed out that many good players use up their three option years because it takes them that long to adjust and get settled at the Major League level. Some players get rushed or have their development delayed by injuries or other issues.
"You have to deal with what makes sense," Antony said. "The manager's job is to win ballgames every day, and their vision is, 'What can I do? How can I have the best team right now?'
"It's our job to balance and look down the road a little bit, not just tomorrow. As we've talked about a lot this spring, who you break with is not necessarily what you have two weeks or a month into the season. Things can change, but sometimes you make decisions for the best of the organization. We're going to try to give [Gardenhire] the best team possible and the team he's most comfortable with."
Has Gardenhire, entering his 13th season at the helm in Minnesota, ever started a year with the exact 25-man roster he wanted?
"In this lifetime?" he quipped.
On the other hand, Gardenhire said he has a "good relationship" with the entire front office.
"They see what I see," he said. "They know."