Tagged: Winter Meetings

Winter Meetings: Third Base Talks

There is still no action on the Minnesota Twins’ front, but there have been several rumblings in the past day regarding the team and several players. There has been no talk of starting pitchers or second baseman, just third basemen. 

With just three days to go by, indications are that the club is looking at third base as the position of choice to upgrade. Currently it seems that they’ll go in-house to fill the second base void and sign a free agent or make a trade to finish off the left side of the infield. 
So who have the names been?
Mark DeRosa 
The Twins apparently have “strong” interest in DeRosa. The veteran apparently is looking for a three-year, $27 million deal. That won’t happen in Minnesota, but if the price drops, he could be a fit. 
So far it seems, there have been only preliminary talks:

Just spoke with Mark DeRosa’s agent, Keith Grunewald, and he confirmed that he’s talked with the Twins about the free agent third baseman. They haven’t talked much and it’s just been preliminary. Grunewald said there’s a great deal of interest in DeRosa and called him one of the best commodities in the third base market.

Pedro Feliz
While FoxSports reported yesterday that Pedro Feliz was interested in Minnesota and the Twins were potentially interested in him, that doesn’t seem to be the case. It seems the Twins especially haven’t been looking in his direction:

…The agents for Feliz have not heard from the Twins. 

…Indications are that the Twins just aren’t feeling Pedro Feliz.

Kevin Kouzmanoff
The Twins seem to have the most interest in Mark DeRosa as far as free agents are concerned, but the name Kevin Kouzmanoff has been a popular one recently. There were several indications Wednesday that there is mutual interest between the Twins and Padres. 
The talks were first reported on Tuesday night when it was learned that the Twins had offered the Padres Glen Perkins and were rejected with San Diego asking for another player. Wednesday talks apparently continued:

The Twins and Padres have had several discussions about Kevin Kouzmanoff, perhaps a better (cheaper) fit for Twins than other 3B options.

Later in the day the Padres heated talks and continued to talk with the Twins:

Padres now “aggressively” trying to move Kevin Kouzmanoff, says one source who spoke with them. Hear Twins & Giants have been most interested. 

Hearing that Padres offered Kouzmanoff to Giants for Fred Lewis & Kevin Fransden. Asked Twins for Glen Perkins & 2nd player.

With all of those talks, the general feeling is that nothing will happen at least until the non-tender deadline passes Saturday. Several infielders are expected to be let go by their teams rather than offered contracts, with Garrett Atkins being one potential player. 
The Twins are apparently not keen on giving up more than Glen Perkins in a Kouzmanoff deal, but he’s cheap with pretty good production, and if other options don’t become available, something could happen. 

Winter Meetings: Day Two Rumblings

The Minnesota Twins are traditionally a quiet team at the Winter Meetings, and halfway through the 2009 session they’ve maintained that quietness. The Twins have locked up Carl Pavano for next season, but no other moves have been made with one full day remaining in Indianapolis.

No moves doesn’t mean no news however. The Winter Meetings are a time for many talks and many rumors, and the Twins can be found sparingly in the Tuesday rumblings.

Perkins Trade? Kouzmanoff Coming?
When Carl Pavano was signed it secured four of five rotation spots for next season. Only one spot now remains, and several pitchers including Francisco Liriano and Brian Duensing will likely compete next spring to fill it. 
A fallout between the organization and lefty Glen Perkins along with a crammed roster has many believing Perkins may be traded rather than tendered a contract by this Saturday’s deadline. 
Tuesday afternoon reports broke that the San Diego Padres were interested in talking with the Twins regarding third basemen Kevin Kouzmanoff. Late Tuesday evening it was reported by USA Today sportswriter Bob Nightengale that the Twins had made an offer:

“The Minnesota Twins are offering pitcher Glenn Perkins for Padres 3B Kevin Kouzmanoff, but the Padres are seeking more.”

How much more the Padres want, and how interested the Twins truly are remains to be seen. But for the first time at the 2009 Winter Meetings, Minnesota seems to be active. 
Third Base Options
Outside of Kevin Kouzmanoff third base options remain on the free agent market. FoxSports.com says the Twins have interest in four players thus far:

The Twins are sifting through a number of free agent options at third base, including Adrian Beltre, Pedro Feliz, Mark DeRosa and Juan Uribe, according to a major league source. 

Beltre will probably be out of the team’s price range. DeRosa might be, too. But Feliz and Uribe could fit.

Bonser Designated

With the 40-man roster full and no room for Carl Pavano, the Twins were faced with a decision Monday night. On Tuesday they announced that Boof Bonser had been designated for release or assignment.
The Twins now have until Saturday to non-tender him (release him) or trade him according to the Pioneer Press

Blockbuster in Detroit
Finally, the Detroit Tigers may have moved on to the future after trading away both Edwin Jackson and Curtis Granderson. They received a pretty good package, but it seems as though they’re now looking past the 2010 season. 

Pavano Picks Minnesota

It was an uneventful start to the 2009 Winter Meetings, but the Minnesota Twins did make the news when day one was all said and done. A week after offering starting pitcher Carl Pavano arbitration, he officially became a part of next season’s roster when he accepted the offer late Monday night.

Pavano came over from the Cleveland Indians last season and played a major role in a September run that put the Twins in the playoffs for the fifth time in eight seasons. As a member of the Twins, Pavano made 12 starts posting a 5-4 record and a 4.64 ERA.
The righty is expected to agree to terms on a contract and avoid an arbitration hearing. Reports believe Pavano will make around $7 million next season.
With Pavano locked up, the Twins now have four of five starting rotation spots filled. Scott Baker, Nick Blackburn, and Kevin Slowey will join Pavano in the rotation, and the fifth spot will likely be decided with a spring competition. 
Dave Cameron/FanGraphs likes the move:

“So, in all likelihood, the Twins will end up paying Pavano something between $6 and $8 million next year. Even with a market that looks to be paying a depressed rate for wins, that’s still valuing him as a two win pitcher. Even with the health concerns, he’s got a good chance of besting that.”

“…Having Pavano back at a reasonable salary, along with the acquisition of J.J. Hardy, will strengthen the Twins significantly next year. Without expending much money, they’ve made a couple of moves with legitimate upside and minimal risk. It’s been a good off-season for Twins fans so far.”

Joe Christensen/Star Tribune looks at the updated 2010 payroll:

When Carl Pavano accepted the Twins’ salary arbitration offer Monday, it pushed the team’s 2010 projected Opening Day payroll close to $90 million, based on salary estimates for those players currently in the fold.

Estimate to date – $89.8 million

La Velle/Star Tribune has quotes from Pavano’s agent:

Twins players and pitching coach Rick Anderson remained in contact with pitcher Carl Pavano in recent days, reminding him constantly how much they wanted him to be a part of the 2010 team. 

“He feels tremendously comfortable in Minnesota,” Pavano’s agent, Tom O’Connell said. “He has tremendous respect for his teammates and thinks they are united in trying to win. 

“We had to explore free agency, no doubt. But, at the end of the day this was a very easy decision because has made a lot of money in his career and its important to win a championship and the Twins give him the best opportunity to win.”

Winter Meetings Primer

The Minnesota Twins have been relatively quiet since shoring up the shortstop position with the acquisition of J.J. Hardy one month ago. As December begins and the year winds to an end, the hot stove is heating up, and this week transactions will begin to come one after another.

Baseball officials began arriving in Indianapolis for the 2009 Winter Meetings on Sunday, and the event will run through Thursday when it concludes with the Rule Five Draft. As Bill Smith and company settle in, they’ll begin work on a roster that has questions remaining at second base, third base, and in the rotation. 
Over the next four days rumors will run rampant; some will be legitimate while others will be blown out of proportion or possibly completely fabricated. Here are some players and teams to watch as possible connections this week.
Second Base
Second base and the second spot in the lineup are a huge hole for the Twins. Both Nick Punto and Matt Tolbert are capable of filling the hole, but neither will upgrade it to the level that several potential targets might.
Felipe Lopez and Orlando Hudson are the two premium second basemen remaining on the market after Placido Polanco signed last week, and they may be the team’s key chances to upgrade plate production in the infield.
Third Base
Chone Figgins is gone, but the Twins never likely had interest anyways. Mark DeRosa and Pedro Feliz remain available, and the Twins could potentially talk with both of their agents this week.
While the team has had interest in free agent Adrian Beltre, unless his reported demand of $10 million annually drops, he won’t be signing in Minnesota anytime soon. 
The best solution for the infield seems to be to fill second base and then look toward third base when that task is completed. The third base options are less desirable than Hudson and Lopez.
Starting Pitchers
Four starting pitchers should be watched this week: Carl Pavano, Jarrod Washburn, Ben Sheets and Rich Harden
Unless Pavano accepts the team’s arbitration offer by the Monday deadline, he’ll be on the free agent market. The Twins are expected to continue work on a potential multi-year deal, and there seems to be a decent chance he stays in the Twin Cities.
If not, the Wisconsin native Washburn and the Twins seem to have mutual interest. After the two veterans, formerly injured starters Sheets and Harden have both reportedly drawn some level of interest from the team as well. 
The Florida Marlins are one key team to keep an eye on. Starter and Minneapolis native Josh Johnson isn’t likely going anywhere, but second basemen Dan Uggla may. If the Twins are unable to sign a free agent there may at least be some talks.
Another team with a second basemen is the Cincinnati Reds. As they cut payroll this off-season, one player reportedly available is Brandon Phillips. If the Twins run out of options elsewhere, he too may be talked about. 
Dark Horse Names 
Ronnie Belliard, 2B – Playing in favor of Orlando Hudson at times last season, Belliard did a decent job. He hit .277 with 10 homeruns and 39 RBI in 110 games.
Robb Quinlan, OF/1B – The utility man has reportedly had talks with the team thus far and could join the roster as the backup outfielder and first basemen. 
Joe Crede, 3B – If the Twins decide the third base options aren’t worth the price, it remains very possible that Crede could be re-signed late this off-season. 
Glen Perkins, SP – While Perkins is on the Twins roster, he is a potential trade target to watch. Eligible for arbitration and a raise, if the Twins don’t feel they have room in the rotation or bullpen, he could be moved.