Winter Meetings Chat: Day 1 (7:00-9:00 pm)

As promised, we’re opening up our live Chat window for a couple of hours tonight (beginning at 7 pm CT) and plan to do the same throughout this week’s MLB Winter Meetings.

Everyone who’s anyone in professional baseball (and a few hundred people who, frankly, aren’t anyone in professional baseball, but would like to be) are buzzing around the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas this week and we’re going to try to keep up with whatever business gets accomplished (it has to be difficult to concentrate on work with a Medieval Times dinner tournament right next door, doesn’t it?).

When we’ve wrapped up our chat here, we suggest you move over to the podcast being broadcast by Seth Stohs and Jack Steal over at their Blogspot Radio site, beginning at 9 pm every night during the Winter Meetings.

Just to give us some ideas for discussion, here’s a brief rundown of some of the news items coming out of Dallas on Day 1:

  • Starting with the latest news first, it finally happened… after all the conjecture, the Twins did in fact come to an agreement to re-sign Matt Capps. Capps gets a one year deal with an option. I’m sure the details will be coming out soon. UPDATE: The deal is $4.5 million for 2012 and an option for $6 million in 2013 with a $250K buyout. Makes it a guarantee of one year and $4.75 million. That’s overpaying a little, but not worth all the crying about it going on elsewhere. If he performs at career averages, it’s fine… and better than shelling out $7-8 million for a “closer”.
  • The day started out with the bad news that both Jim Kaat and Tony Oliva failed to garner the necessary 12 votes to be elected to the Hall of Fame by the “golden era” veterans’ committee. Kaat was 2 votes short and Oliva fell 4 short. Only former Cub Ron Santo was elected. I suppose that was to be expected, but it’s disappointing, nonetheless.
  • It’s hard to tell information from misinformation during these meetings, since it’s become important for GMs and agents to use misdirection to keep other parties as uncertain as possible concerning their true intentions. That means that today’s “rumor” that the Twins may be likely to re-sign Michael Cuddyer for a more modest contract (in years, if not dollars) than previously assumed could be either an indication that Cuddy is on the verge of remaining a Twin or that someone is just trying to give that impression.
  • The Twins reportedly are one of nine teams that have “made a call” regarding OF Josh Willingham. Reports indicate the Twins have set up a meeting with his agent for Thursday, unless the Twins sign Cuddyer before then.
  • Conjecture is that the Twins are still interested in Edwin Jackson, however he’s not likely to sign until the market has been set by CJ Wilson and/or Mark Buehrle. Waiting is probably fine with the Twins, since they’re still waiting on a Cuddyer decision and whatever slim chance there is that they’d open the wallet for Jackson would disappear if Cuddyer is re-signed.
  • Parker Hageman, at Over The Baggy, does a good job of explaining why the Twins might be interested in pitcher Jeff Francis. That said, the Pirates and Mariners are now talking to Francis’ agent, as well, and I sure wouldn’t want to see the Twins get in a bidding war for him.
  • Another report has the Twins inquiring with the Rangers about the availability of OF David Murphy. He’s not a bad ballplayer but I’m just not sure that adding yet another left handed hitter is the best idea. If this deal happens, then I’ll be very surprised if it isn’t followed with another trade of either Revere or Span.
  • The Twins did claim shortstop Pedro Florimon from the Orioles. 24 yo switch-hitter hit with a little pop at AA Bowie but not much at all in a short cup of coffee with the O’s. The Twins added him to their Major League roster, filling the 39th spot and leaving one spot open for a Major Leaguer the Twins trade for (or player they pick up in the Rule V draft) before they would have to start making corresponding roster moves to clear spots for other acquisitions. Our friend Thrylos provides some details about Florimon over at The Tenth Inning Stretch.
  • ESPNDeportes reported that the Twins are one of five teams interested in Carlos Guillen. Going to have to take someone’s word for that since I don’t speak Spanish.
  • Later in the afternoon, we heard that the Twins, Nationals, Marlins and Rangers are “in on” Mark Buehrle, but that the Twins’ offer isn’t as strong as the offers from from the other three teams (now THERE’s a surprise, right?).
  • One interesting comment coming out of the Twins’ late afternoon session with the media came from ESPN1500’s Phil Mackey who Tweeted “I asked Terry how much #Twins consider draft compensation w/ FA decisions: “Not that much. We’ll take it. But we’d rather have the player.”

Considering how quiet the Twins usually are during the Winter Meetings, that’s an awful lot of stuff to chat about tonight!

– JC