What to do with Kurt Suzuki?

Kurt Suzuki is out producing the expectations of even the most optimistic Twins fan.  He’s 30 years old and coming in to 2014 had a career line of .253/.309/.375, and even that is rosy considering what he’s done the past two seasons, .234/.282/.332 (for reference, Talk to Contact favorite, Drew “Boat Anchor” Butera, is hitting .231/.300/.385 in 2014).  So the Twins bought low on a guy and brought him in with the hopes that he could help out Josmil Pinto, and because Suzuki is seen as a good “clubhouse guy.”

Minnesota Twins catcher Kurt  Suzuki (8) hits a two-run single against the Chicago White Sox in the third inning of an opening day baseball game at U.S Cellular Field in Chicago on March 31, 2014. (Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports)

Minnesota Twins catcher Kurt Suzuki (8) hits a two-run single against the Chicago White Sox in the third inning of an opening day baseball game at U.S Cellular Field in Chicago on March 31, 2014. (Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports)

Through his first 34 games of the year, Suzuki is hitting .332/.388/.430.  He has an OBP north of .380 against both left and right handed pitchers. The Twins like what he’s doing with the bat so much they have stuck him in the lineup four times as the starting designated hitter.

Maybe just a hot start, right?  He’s actually been better in May than he was in March and April.  He started hot, and now he is getting hotter. Over his entire career, Suzuki has played better in the first month of the year than any other month, exactly what you might expect from a catcher that the Oakland Athletics ran out as their everyday catcher at least 117 times for five straight years (he caught his fewest games since his rookie season last year, 93).

Kurt Suzuki is doing all of this on a one-year, $2.75 million dollar contract.  the Twins bought low and now they are in a great position to turn Suzuki into some surplus value via trade.  Or, because he is only 30 years old, the Twins might consider signing him to a modest contract extension, just as they did with Ryan Doumit.*

*Ryan Doumit hit .275/.320/.461 in 2012 in his first year (age 31 season) with the Twins.  The Twins extended him for two additional years with an extra $7 million dollars in late June 2012, making his total deal with the Twins three years/$10 million.  With Doumit, the Twins were basically getting output from Doumit in line with his career numbers, so there was a little less risk, but in two of the three seasons prior to coming to Minnesota, Doumit either hit poorly or was injured (or both), so they were able to sign (what looks like now) such a team friendly deal.  The Twins ultimately flipped Doumit to Atlanta** following a poor 2013 season which saw Doumit struggle at the plate and with concussion issues.  He’s hitting .200/.217/.222 for the Braves.  

**The Twins received LHP Sean Gilmartin in return for Doumit, a former first round draft pick (2011), who is currently performing well at AA New Britain (3-2, 3.63 ERA 39.2 IP, 12 BB, 37K) and if the Twins raid the AAA roster for pitching prospects Trevor May and Alex Meyer this summer, Gilmartin should be one of the logical selections to move up to AAA, where he pitched for parts of 2012 and 2013 in the Braves Org.  

I would guess that the Twins do not expect Kurt Suzuki to continue avoiding outs in almost 40% of his plate appearances, but ZiPS projects the 30 year old catcher to produce as a MLB regular the rest of the way.  Combined with with he’s already done in 2014, he’ll end up with a nice 2014 line.  If Suzuki keeps up his current pace into the All-Star break, or even just keeps his line to something like .300/.350/.400, which would represent some fairly significant regression over the next month plus, there will be a handful of teams calling Terry Ryan/Rob Antony looking to acquire the veteran catcher for a post season run.  Because the Twins have Josmil Pinto (even with his raw defensive skills), and because they are not in a win-now situation, the Twins could feel relatively comfortable flipping Suzuki.

In a trade scenario, the Twins would probably hope to fetch an intriguing Minor League player, as well as some MLB outfield depth, maybe a fourth outfielder capabale of playing center field and aleviating some of the Twins’ current outfield issues (especially if Sam Fuld experiences setbacks returning from the concussion disabled list).  Of course, what the Twins ultimately receive for Suzuki will depend on who their trading partner is, and where the Twins think they can add the most value.

If the Twins look to extend Suzuki, I think that something similar to the Ryan Doumit deal is realistic, but with a slightly higher annual value.  I would not be surprised if he received two additional years for $10 million dollars, bringing his total package in Minnesota to three years and just under $13 million.  He’s younger than Doumit, and he is a much more complete player, providing value on both sides of the ball.

If I am the Twins, I would attempt to extend Suzuki.  The extension would not keep the Twins from trading Suzuki in a year or two, and if Josmil Pinto cannot live up to the hype from his 2013 call up when he hit .342/.398/.566, then the Twins have some hope of a bridge to the arrival of their next young catcher (who might be 2013 third-rounder Stuart Turner).  If the Twins can make the extension team friendly then there is not a lot of risk in a deal like that, but if Suzuki and his agent (MVP Sports Group) are looking for a larger deal coming off of a big 2014, then the Twins should feel comfortable walking away.

What would you do?

Episode 64: Twins Trade Ryan Doumit

Episode 64 of the Twins baseball podcast, Talk To Contact (@TalkToContact), is now available for download via iTunes or by clicking here.

The Twins are wearing this patch on their hat and jersey every single day next season.

The Twins are wearing this patch on their hat and jersey every single day next season.

Paul is away celebrating his birthday but this week on the podcast, Cody and Eric spend 60+ minutes talking about the Ryan Doumit trade, if Josmil Pinto needs a real backup, what to do with all of the Twins’ mediocre pitching, and the awful All-Star Game Logos that the Twins are putting all over everything.

Down on the Pond we take a look at the 2014 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook and the profile of Bryan Haar. They also talk beer, and baseball news.

A fun podcast from two 29-year-old morons.

Enjoy the show.

 

You can follow Cody on Twitter (@NoDakTwinsFan) or read his writing at NoDakTwinsFan, and you can find Paul on Twitter (@BaseballPirate) and read his writing at PuckettsPond.com!

If you enjoy our podcast, please take a couple extra minutes and rate and review us on iTunes. Ratings and reviews have magical iTunes powers, which are probably useless.

Talk to Contact – Episode 52 – The Ryan Doumit Lovefest

Episode 52 of the Twins baseball podcast, Talk To Contact (@TalkToContact), is now available for download via iTunes or by clicking here.

Ryan Doumit Pumpkin

Eric spends most of this episode belittling Ryan Doumit and then trying to convince me that Doumit should play more often than I think is reasonable. We talk about Twins prospect Tyler Jones and wonder aloud what the roles will be for players like Doumit, Josh Willingham, Trevor Plouffe and Chris Parmelee. Summer is officially over and pumpkin beers have arrived across America. Tune in to find out about Paul’s favorite pumpkin beer and a bunch of Twins talk.


 

You can follow Cody on Twitter (@NoDakTwinsFan) or read his writing at NoDakTwinsFan, and you can find Paul on Twitter (@BaseballPirate) and read his writing at PuckettsPond.com!

If you enjoy our podcast, please take a couple extra minutes and rate and review us on iTunes(ratings and reviews have magical iTunes powers).

.

GameChat – White Sox @ Twins, 7:10

The Bitch Sox come to town for a three game series starting tonight and it gives the Twins an opportunity to start reversing the recent trend that’s seen the South Siders winning a heck of a lot more games at Target Field than they should be allowed to win. Oh and it’s also a chance to put a little distance between the Twins and the Sox, who are the only AL Central team the Twins can currently look down at in the standings.

WHITE SOX

@

TWINS
De Aza, CF Thomas, C, CF
Ramirez, Al, SS Mauer, 1B
Rios, RF Doumit, C
Dunn, A, 1B Willingham, LF
Konerko, DH Morneau, DH
Gillaspie, 3B Arcia, RF
Viciedo, LF Plouffe, 3B
Beckham, G, 2B Dozier, 2B
Flowers, C Florimon, SS
  _Axelrod, P   _Pelfrey, P
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Chi White Sox 0 2 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 5 11 1
Minnesota 4 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 x 7 13 1

So many potential heroes to choose from tonight. Joe Mauer with a first inning home run. Trevor Plouffe with a couple of ribbies. Mike Pelfrey with a Quality Start.

But when you come through in a tie game with a 2-RBI double with two out in the bottom of the eighth inning, that’s BOD material in my book. Ryan Doumit strikes again!

Ryan Doumit

Ryan Doumit

GameChat – Seattle @ Minnesota #2, 12:10pm

Sorry for the late start folks – my computer was not cooperating today so it took far longer than I thought to get this going.

Quick note about the lineup today: Morneau arrived to the park with flu-like symptoms so we get to see Colabello at 1B. I have to admit that while I am going to be listening to this game rather than watching for the most part, I will definitely have to take the opportunity to see how he does for at least a portion of the game.

Seattle

@

Minnesota
Chavez, En, RF Escobar, E, 3B
Bay, LF Mauer, DH
Seager, 3B Willingham, LF
Morales, K, 1B Doumit, C
Ibanez, DH Parmelee, RF
Franklin, 2B Colabello, 1B
Saunders, M, CF Dozier, 2B
Shoppach, C Hicks, CF
Ryan, SS Florimon, SS
  Harang, P   Correia, P

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

R

H

E

Seattle

2

0

0

0

0

0

2

0

0

4

10

2

Minnesota

0

1

0

0

0

1

0

0

3

5

7

1

So I spent the majority of the game cleaning out my car and listening on the radio – because yes, I can actually GET the Twins station in my car, just not in the house and yes, it did take well over 2 hours to clean out my car…

Fortunately, most of the game wasn’t worth paying my full attention to anyway so I could work away and not worry about missing anything.

But! I finished just before the 9th inning and came in to sit and watch the last inning on the TV.. HOLY CRAP AM I GLAD I DID!!!

Who knew that their closer would absolutely fall apart and WALK 3 consecutive batters (Florimon, Escobar and Mauer) and just set up the bases loaded for the heart of our hitting order. Florimon scored on a sac fly from Willingham who still practically scuffed the dirt with his shoes because he really really really wanted that sucker to go out of the park and it almost did but not quite. And then Doumit… runners at first and second and Doumit up hitting lefty against the right-hander who couldn’t keep balls where he wanted them.. Doing a little math for myself and realizing just a good liner ties up the game and a solid double wins it since Mauer isn’t the FASTEST guy on the team but he can move and score from 1st if necessary. And that is exactly how it played out.. Accordingly, Doumit was the team hero AND got himself shaving creamed during the post game interview.. he deserved it I’m sure and he deserves today’s BOD! Congrats!

Ryan Doumit

Ryan Doumit

GameChat – Twins @ Red Sox, 6:05 pm

Programming note: Tonight’s game is on ESPN!

Today’s entertainment revolved around the whole Gardy vs Hicks confrontation from last night. The Twitterverse was apparently alive with comments about an incident that probably would have gone totally unnoticed outside of Minnesota and surrounding states if not for the fact that it occurred in Boston, where everything is magnified 100 times.

Hicks is back in the starting line up tonight and playing center field, so apparently his sins weren’t fatal.

Hopefully, the Twins will do something tonight that will make everyone forget about the other nonsense (and hopefully whatever that something is will be a good something).

 

TWINS

@

RED SOX
Carroll, 2B Ellsbury, CF
Mauer, C Victorino, RF
Willingham, LF Pedroia, 2B
Morneau, 1B Ortiz, D, DH
Plouffe, 3B Napoli, 1B
Doumit, DH Gomes, J, LF
Arcia, RF Saltalamacchia, C
Hicks, CF Drew, SS
Florimon, SS Ciriaco, 3B
  _Hernandez, P, P   _Webster, P

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

R

H

E

Minnesota

4

7

0

1

2

0

0

0

1

15

20

0

Boston

5

1

0

0

0

0

1

1

0

8

12

1

Seriously.

I have no words to describe this game accurately.

It was just ridiculous and I don’t care who was scoring along at home, I don’t think ANYONE has a matching sheet. In case you were wondering, here’s what the OFFICIAL MLB Play by Play has listed for the top of the 7th inning:

TOP OF THE 7th

 

 
AB# Play String Play Play by Play
68     Defensive Substitution: Daniel Nava replaces right fielder Shane Victorino, batting 2nd, playing right field.
68 ..BFD E5/TH/G Josh Willingham reaches on a throwing error by third baseman Pedro Ciriaco.
69 .BFBFFX 8/F Justin Morneau flies out to center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury.
70 .CD S7/L.1-2 Trevor Plouffe singles on a line drive to left fielder Jonny Gomes. Josh Willingham to 2nd.
71 .FX S8/FDP.2-3;1X3(3);BX2(8643) Ryan Doumit singles on a fly ball to center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury. Double play, first baseman Mike Napoli to center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury to shortstop Stephen Drew to second baseman Dustin Pedroia to first baseman Mike Napoli. Trevor Plouffe out at 3rd. Ryan Doumit out at 2nd.

Despite more officiating miscues than I can count and a strike zone that traveled more than Santa Claus, the Twins were able to make significant use of the Fenway’s historic nature – and goofy field proportions! The whole team gets a beer – or two (or as many as they need to recover) courtesy of Knuckleballs. It was a lot of fun to watch the whole lineup get a hit tonight! And our sincerest congratulations to Ryan Pressley for getting the Win tonight – it was his first MLB Win and he worked hard for it tonight.

The official vote for BOD was a landslide – for the Green Monster.

green monster

 

But if you’re a stickler for having a person as your boyfriend of the day, second place went to Ryan Doumit – who has basically kicked ass this whole series. He kept it up tonight too so we’ll toss the alternative acknowledgement his way.

Ryan Doumit

Ryan Doumit

That being said, let’s hope this officiating crew gets their heads screwed back on before tomorrow’s series finale.

 

GameChat – Twins @ White Sox, 2:05pm, FOX

It took me a minute to find the game on the schedule – oh yeah, Fox Saturday..

So let’s see what the weather is like in Chicago today – it’s cool but SUNNY in Minnesota. I would totally take an afternoon game in MN right now.. wonder if they are as lucky at US Cellular.

Minnesota

@

Chi White Sox
Dozier, 2B De Aza, LF
Mauer, C Keppinger, 2B
Willingham, LF Rios, RF
Morneau, 1B Dunn, A, DH
Parmelee, RF Konerko, 1B
Plouffe, 3B Gillaspie, 3B
Arcia, DH Ramirez, Al, SS
Hicks, CF Danks, Jd, CF
Florimon, SS Flowers, C
  Worley, P   Peavy, P

 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 R H E
Minnesota 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 8 0
Chi White Sox 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 6 1

Well that was a cold day and I’ll give it to all the pitchers who did well with cold hands but I’ll still say this, it was better than it was in Minnesota so it does make me wonder what the weather was like last night for the game they postponed… but anyway, it was still a cold day to play all the pitchers get Hand-warmers as congratulatory gifts for the Win.

But today’s BOD goes to Ryan Doumit for the heads up play in the 10th that finally broke the tie and gave us the win!

Ryan Doumit

Ryan Doumit

Roster Deconstruction

The 25-man roster is not yet set in stone, but if we take a look at the 40-man roster we can get some kind of idea about where the Twins players closest to the Major Leagues come from.

Drafted out of High School (12, 5 pitchers, 7 position players)

Alex Burnett, 12th round 2005 (375 overall); B.J. Hermsen, 6th round 2008 (186); Tyler Robertson, 3rd round 2006 (96); Anthony Swarzak, 2nd round 2004 (61); Michael Tonkin, 30th round 2008 (906); Joe Mauer, 1st round 2001 (1); Brian Dozier, 8th round 2009 (252); Justin Morneau, 3rd round 1999 (89); Chris Parmelee, 1st round 2006 (20); Trevor Plouffe, 1st round 2004 (20); Joe Benson, 2nd round 2006 (64); Aaron Hicks, 1st round 2008 (14)

Unsurprisingly the Twins largest group of players on the 40-man roster come as high school draftees.  There is a fairly good mix of position players and pitchers, though of the pitchers on the list none of them were drafted in the first round, compared to 4 first round position players*.  This makes sense as the arms on this list are all bullpen guys, not a single player there with really dominant stuff.

*Byron Buxton, the Twins most recent 1st round draft pick was just 5 years old when the Twins drafted Justin Morneau in 1999.  Morny has been with the team a long time, it will be interesting to see if the Twins look to move him later this year.

 

Free Agent (10, 7 pitchers, 3 position players)

Jared Burton, 2011; Kevin Correia, 2012; Cole De Vries, 2006 (undrafted out of University of Minnesota); Casey Fien, 2012; Mike Pelfrey, 2012; Caleb Thielbar, 2011; Tim Wood, 2012; Ryan Doumit, 2011; Jamey Carroll, 2011; Josh Willingham, 2011

Likely because the Twins spent so many high draft picks on position players, the Twins have struggled to develop their own pitching and have turned to the free agent market to balance their roster.  As with the high school draftees, none of the arms on this list are particularly dominant, though Burton was a pleasant surprise in 2012.

Trade (6, 4 pitchers, 2 position players)

Scott Diamond, 2011 (Billy Bullock); Pedro Hernandez, 2012 (Francisco Liriano); Eduardo Escobar, 2012 (Liriano); Trevor May, 2012 (Ben Revere); Vance Worley, 2012 (Revere); Drew Butera, 2007 (Luis Castillo)

I listed Scott Diamond as a player acquired via trade, but he originally joined the Twins through the 2010 Rule 5 draft, but when he failed to make the roster out of Spring Training the Twins completed a trade with the Atlanta Braves in order to keep him with the organization.  Of the other names here, only Butera sticks out, only because with his ties to the organization (his father Sal Butera was with the Twins for parts of 6 Minor League and 4 Major League seasons) I often forget that he was not originally drafted by the Twins.

Drafted out of College (4, 3 pitchers, 1 position player)

Brian Duensing, 3rd round 2005 (84); Kyle Gibson, 1st round 2009 (22); Glen Perkins, 1st round 2004 (22); Chris Herrmann, 6th round 2009 (192)

Again, because the Twins were not drafting and developing high school pitching they have used several early round picks on college pitchers in an effort to balance the system.  Of the two 1st rounders here, only Gibson was the Twins 1st overall pick of the draft, Perkins was selected after Trevor Plouffe, with a compensation pick from the Mariners when they signed Eddie Guardado.  In fact, in the 2004 draft the Twins had 3 first round picks and 2 more supplemental round picks, giving them 5 of the first 39 draft picks and 7 of the first 100.  Of those seven picks, Plouffe, Perkins and Anthony Swarzak are all still with the Twins, 9 years later.

International Free Agent (4, 1 pitcher, 3 position players)

Liam Hendriks, 2007; Josmil Pinto, 2006; Daniel Santana, 2008; Oswaldo Arcia, 2008

Pretty young group of players here, but lots of upside with Santana and Arcia cracking MLB’s list of Top 20 Twins prospects.

Waiver (3, 1 pitcher, 2 position players)

Josh Roenicke, 2012 (Rockies); Pedro Florimon, 2011 (Orioles); Darin Mastroianni, 2012 (Blue Jays)

As you’d expect, no superstars in this trio, but two of these guys could be in the starting lineup on Opening Day.

Rule 5 Draft (1, 1 pitcher, 0 position players)

Ryan Pressly, 2012 (Red Sox)

It remains to be seen if Pressly will make the 25-man roster out of Spring Training, though the cards are certainly stacked against him.  If the Twins are going to keep him long term, they’ll need to work out a trade with the Boston Red Sox to keep him in the organization if he is not on the big league roster.

So there you have it, 40 players and their origins within the Twins organization.  With high school draft picks making up the lion’s share of the roster, the Twins amateur scouts seem to know what they’re doing.   That bodes well for the future and  Byron Buxton, Jose Berrios, Travis Harrison and Hudson Boyd, the Twins’ highest drafted high school players in the past two drafts.

-ERolfPleiss

All player information obtained from Baseball-Reference.  If I’ve listed any player origins incorrectly, please let me know.

Quick Hit: Drew Butera and Twins Catchnig

Drew Butera loves puppies, is indifferent to hitting.

This past Friday was the deadline for teams to tender contracts to arbitration eligible players (also for non-arbitration eligible players, as Twins declined to offer a contract to Lester Oliveros, effectively removing him from the 40-man roster). The Twins had three arbitration eligible players and offered contracts to all three, including catcher Drew Butera. That means that all five catchers currently on the 40-man roster are likely to remain with the Twins heading into 2013.  What else does this move say about the Twins 25-man roster (We already know that Josmil Pinto is not a viable candidate to make the 25-man roster, so we’ll omit him from the discussion going forward)?

  1. The Twins are NOT going to carry four catchers on the 25-man roster. With Mauer and Doumit locks to make the 25-man roster, and the Twins unlikely to carry FOUR catchers in 2013, when the Twins tendered a contract to Butera that puts Chris Herrmann on the outside looking in.
  2. The Twins like having a defensive specialist as their third catcher. Chris Herrmann would give the Twins a third catcher that has the ability to play multiple positions and pinch hit if needed, but he hasn’t yet developed into a great defensive backstop.  Butera, on the other hand, is a defense first catcher.  Butera’s BEST offensive season was 2012, and he hit just .198/.270/.279.  Pitchers rave about Butera’s ability to call a game and he has had success throwing out runners (33% career caught stealing rate).  Having a defensive, likable   third catcher probably also helps the team between games when pitchers are throwing bullpens or side sesssions, but on a game to game basis, Butera is only called into action about once every four games.
  3. The Twins do not believe that Chris Herrmann is ready to compete for a Major League job. Herrmann played briefly with the Twins after a September call-up in 2012, but otherwise has yet to play above AA.  Herrmann could be the heir to Joe Mauer‘s throne if/when Mauer is eventually forced to move to 1B or DH full time.  The Twins will likely give Herrmann development time in Rochester in 2013.
  4. Drew Butera will continue stealing a roster spot, despite playing only occasionally, and having value ONLY as defensive specialist.  Drew Butera cannot hit, so he has no value as a pinch hitter.  He doesn’t play any other defensive positions (even as a Minor Leaguer Butera only played 3/450 games away from catcher), so he provides no additional roster flexibility when he isn’t catching, even if the Twins wanted to put him into the lineup.  Even for catchers, he isn’t fast, so he can’t be used as a pinch runner (Butera has never attempted a stolen base in the Big Leagues, and has been thrown out 3 times in 5 attempts in the Minors). So he can’t hit, he can only catch (where he’s 3rd in line behind Joe Mauer and Ryan Doumit), he isn’t fast, and only gets into games about 1/4 of the time.  And yet the Twins want to keep him on the 25-man roster.

I’m not sure that another team could have claimed Butera if the removed him from the 40-man roster.  Which means that the Twins could easily sign him to a Minor League contract and stash him at Rochester.  Then, if the Twins needed an emergency catcher they could add him back to the 40-man roster and call him up AND he’d be available at Triple-A to help mentor and teach Chris Herrmann.

It was just a simple transaction, handing a 2013 contact to Drew Butera, but it has an impact on the upcoming season and gives fans a little more insight into the line up the Twins are likely to use to start the season.

-ERolfPleiss

Winter Meetings Day 1: Twins News & Rumors

Day one of baseball’s Winter Meetings in Nashville is drawing to a close and while the Twins rotation still sucks, there wasn’t a complete lack of Twins-related news coming out of the Gaylord Opryland Resort. OK, calling it Twins “news” might be a stretch, but at least the Twins were mentioned here and there among all the rumors floating out of Nashville.

The Grand Ole Opry… Nashville’s second biggest attraction this week.

I spent the better part of my day refreshing various web sites that track the latest rumors and reading Twitter messages being posted by all of the Twins beat reporters representing  various media outlets. After all, I had to make sure I didn’t miss anything interesting. I was keeping up pretty well, too, at least until someone with a pretty screwed up set of priorities scheduled me in to back-to-back conference calls starting at 3:00 pm.

Speaking of those hard-working reporters down in Nashville, you really should be following them on Twitter, if you aren’t already: Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com (@RhettBollinger), Phil Mackey of 1500ESPN (@PMac21), Ben Goessling of the Pioneer-Press (@BenGoesslingPP) and LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star-Tribune (@LaVelleNeal). Of course, MLBTradeRumors.com is a must-follow this week (and most weeks), as well.

Anyway, here’s a rundown of what I saw and heard around this here interweb thingy today:

  • Terry Ryan stated that the Twins have checked in on every available free agent pitcher, but that some are more realistic than others. (Yeah… I bet.)
  • Ryan also indicated the Twins would almost certainly participate in Thursday’s Rule 5 draft. They have the 4th pick so not participating would be pretty stupid.
  • The Twins remain interested in right-hander Brett Myers. They may or may not have competition for Myers from the Orioles, depending on whose rumor you believe.
  • Other lesser (and in some cases, much lesser) pitchers that the Twins have been linked to include: Joe Blanton, Kevin Correia, Mike Pelfrey, John Lannan. Mike Pelfrey and Vicente Padilla. Blanton and Lannan, in particular, are reportedly high on the Twins’ list.
  • Ryan Dempster is the only pitcher remotely close to being considered a top-half-of-the-rotation option that I’ve seen even mentioned in connection with the Twins today.
  • While the Twins have indicated they’re likely to be focused on free agents during the winter meetings, other teams have continued to check in with them about the availability of both Ben Revere and Josh Willingham.
  • Terry Ryan stated that Joe Mauer will not be traded.
  • In addition to pitching, the Twins are likely to acquire a third baseman to provide competition for Trevor Plouffe during Spring Training. However, it’s unlikely they’ll add more middle infielders, which means Brian Dozier, Pedro Florimon, Jamey Carroll and Eduardo Escobar are most likely going to be manning SS and 2B, for better or… you know… worse.
  • Pitcher Liam Hendriks had some elbow surgery to remove bone chips and won’t pitch for Australia during the World Baseball Classic. Nick Blackburn had a similar procedure done at about the same time. Both should be ready to go by Spring Training.
  • Joe Mauer (USA) and Justin Morneau (Canada) do plan to participate in the WBC for their respective home countries.
  • Manager Ron Gardenhire commented to media about his time in the Twins’ “War Room” at the hotel: “I’m listening to them all and they’re trading my whole darn team!” He was kidding. (We think.)
  • Chris Parmelee may be the early contender for the Twins’ RF job, but Darin Mastroianni and Ryan Doumit could compete for the job.

I’m posting this a bit before 8:00 pm CT Monday night and suffice to say I’m pretty disappointed in Day 1, so far. Joe Blanton is the top pitcher the Twins have been connected to in any manner more than just having “checked in on.”

Newsflash for Terry Ryan: Joe Blanton will not solve your problems, sir. Nor will additions of that caliber bring fans back to Target Field. You can do better.

You must do better.

– JC