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  • The Calm before the Storm

    What you are about to read, should you choose to continue, is in a bit of a stream of consciousness style of writing. However, that is arguably the most accurate style in describing what the Winter Meetings are all about. A little chaos. A lot of rumors. Some with basis in truth, some just for fun. If nothing else, it's fun speculation and hopefully it gives you some topics to discuss while we wait for another big Twins news story...

    Wednesday was a seemingly very quiet day in terms of Minnesota Twins news from baseball's Winter Meetings in Orlando. There were a few notes that certainly garner the term "interesting" but little really happened. I mean, the Twins signing of C.J. Ziegler, Baseball America's Independent League 2013 Player of the Year, was the biggest move of the day for our home team.

    Despite that fact, it still feels like the Twins will make another flurry of moves. I don't know why. I mean, the Winter Meetings are generally a time when front offices meet with agents and other teams to understand parameters for potential deals, free agent signings or trades.

    But just one year ago, on the eve of the Rule 5 draft and the final day of the Winter Meetings, news came very late that the Twins and Phillies were discussing Ben Revere. It seemed to come out of nowhere, and with Denard Span having been traded a week earlier, we made little of it. By about noon, an hour or two after the Rule 5 draft, Ben Revere had been traded to the Phillies for Vance Worley and Trevor May.

    My point is that it is clear Terry Ryan has had many discussions this week. So has assistant GM Rob Antony and the rest of the Twins front office.

    Maybe it is because of the early signings of right-handed pitchers Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes. It just feels like the Twins have a lot of things going on. That's probably good since the Twins will not be making a Rule 5 selection in the Major League portion of the draft. It will still be interesting to see if the they lose anyone though! The Twins should be active in the minor league portion.

    Because of the Nolasco and Hughes signings, the Matt Garza rumors don't see quite so outlandish. There were rumors on Wednesday that he could sign by the end of the week. Could the Twins be a leading candidate for bringing him back?

    The Mike Pelfrey rumors simply are not going away. It is clear that there is an offer on the table to Pelfrey. A two year, $10 million deal was said to be on the table a week or more ago, but it sounds like the Twins may have gone up to $12 or $13 million. If that's the case, could the Twins really bring back Pelfrey?

    And even with that, the Bronson Arroyo rumors continue to swirl. Ken Rosenthal even tweeted on Wednesday that signing one may not mean they won't sign the other.

    Wow!! After being inactive in the free agent pitching market most of the last decade (or last 50 years?), can you imagine a Twins' Opening Day rotation of Matt Garza, Ricky Nolasco, Bronson Arroyo, Phil Hughes and Mike Pelfrey? Considering Kyle Gibson, Alex Meyer and Trevor May could all be ready to contribute by early-to-mid summer, the Twins would have incredible depth.

    Now, like everyone reading this, I don't expect the Twins to sign all three. In fact, I don't think they sign two of them. However, I fully expect them to sign one of them, and probably soon.

    Likewise, the Stephen Drew/Twins rumors haven't gone completely away. As a Boras client (like Pelfrey), he may not sign real quickly. He certainly is an intriguing name. He is better than Pedro Florimon. No question. But if you look at WAR or other stats, is Drew really worth $12+ million per year more than Florimon?

    Of course, as much as we like to guess who the Twins may or may not be interested in as free agents, it's often the names that you would never guess in a million years that wind up with the team. In fact, Matt Guerrier's name came up as someone in whom the Twins had shown interest and had discussions with.

    Why do I mention that? Well, consider this. The Twins have a strong bullpen and have several needs, mostly starting pitching and offense. The Twins also have several players who are either out of position or find themselves with a questionable role with the organization.

    For instance, Liam Hendriks remains in DFA (Designated for Assignment) Limbo. The Twins have until Sunday to trade him or place him on waivers. Could he be traded? Could he be packaged with someone like Chris Parmelee who is also young and has shown flashes of potential? However, he is out of options, and with Joe Mauer now at first base, he suddenly has to try to fit into the right field situation. He is certainly a trade candidate. Finally, bullpen guys such as Jared Burton, Casey Fien and Brian Duensing could also be available.

    Now, the Twins are not going to get David Price for a package of Liam Hendriks, Chris Parmelee and Jared Burton, but could that get Jeremy Hellickson or another similar pitcher? Consider the Rays have gone with Casey Kotchman and James Loney as their first basemen the last two seasons. Parmelee could come in for league minimum and put up solid numbers for them. Burton is a cost-effective late inning bullpen arm and Hendriks is still young.

    It just feels like a trade could happen at any time.

    The Braves were interested in Brian Duensing in July. They are said to be looking for a left-handed reliever. It has been reported that Duensing is not currently on the Braves radar. How many times this winter have we already heard that a player is not on a radar, or that talks have broken down, etc.? Remember last week when it came out that talks between Robinson Cano and the Mariners were off? Was it two hours later they announced a deal?

    Wednesday was relatively quiet in terms of Twins news. But I just can't get past the feeling that there are a couple other moves in the works. That's not to say they will happen Thursday or Friday, but I tend to think that Nolasco and Hughes are not the final "big" names the Twins will acquire.

    Maybe I'm wrong, but the more I type in this stream of consciousness style, the more I tend to believe the Twins will continue to be aggressive and make moves. Where there is smoke, there is generally fire. In the past with the Twins, when there was smoke, it didn't mean a whole lot. This year, there is reason for optimism.

    Frankly, the Twins have already made two really good, big, aggressive, somewhat risky moves. That has set the tone, and if that is all they did, it would be an improvement. But the talk is there is still a lot to do and it will get done.

    Maybe I'm drinking, and now delivering the Kool-Aid, but if nothing else, it is going to be an entertaining offseason!
    Comments 42 Comments
    1. AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS's Avatar
      AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS -
      Great article, very interesting to read. Im with you on thinking the twins have atleast 1 or 2 major moves on the way. I would have been all for signing Drew last year as I said multiple times last offseason but I firmly believe that his asking Price is a little to much. So I dont see that happening. I expect by friday night that the Twins will have signed either Garza or Arroyo. Im hoping we did not go an extra couple million on Pelfrey...There are other people who deserve his spot in the starting rotation I dont care if he is coming back from injury or not.
    1. Trevor0333's Avatar
      Trevor0333 -
      Good summation of the climate so far, it really is suprising & you can't help but feel something big is building. If the Twins can sign Garza, this rotation is easily the 2nd best in the division. If the Tigers lose Sherzer next year, maybe even best in the Central. With all these pitching options coming to fruition the lack of offense is really becoming appearent.

      If you take on Papelbons contract, Dominic Brown is clearly available for young controllable pitching. They need a #5 SP & a closer and don't have payroll available to even sign mid tier players.

      A Corriea, May, Hicks, & Burton trade for Dominic Brown & Jonathon Papelbon makes a lot of sense for both teams. Heck they can have Worley &or Diamond if wanted as far as I'm concerned. Corriea & Burton are basically a wash salary wise for Papelbons contract in 2014. Also giving Philly a stop gap #5 & closer in Corriea & Burton with May back as a potential rotation option in 2015.

      Browns power would be welcome in the lineup & come 2015 could rotate RF/DH with Arcia limiting both players defense while keeping both in the lineup. Buxton/Mauer/Brown/Sano/Arcia is quite the formidible top of the order. Follow that up with a Garza/Nolasco/Hughes/Meyer/Gibson potential rotation, the future would be very bright.
    1. ND-Fan's Avatar
      ND-Fan -
      You could be right and the Twins go out and sign whole starting pitching rotation this year. Its sounds incredible but then again some of Terry Ryans quotes of saying that pitching has to be dealt with and improved is priority and at the cost of others may be telling tale. I also don't think Twins want to go into all star game out of contention and not spent money on this team. I also think that cost of loosing is showing up in their financial projections and hurting the value of the brand.
      I think the Twins want to get this team to 76 to 82 win team and the improvements they have made so far are only get them 68 to 72 win team. If they can get pitching to 76 to 82 win team with this offense they will have this year it means when these young prospects arrive and learn to produce this team could shoot to 87 to 92 win team in real hurry. It will also mean that they won't loose first couple of years when these kids are cheap and very good because the pitching talent isn't here to help them win. It looks to me the pitching talent is couple years behind the offense talent coming. So locking up pitching for next 3 years is priority if they are going to get extended run with these highly valued prospects.
    1. jwb1226's Avatar
      jwb1226 -
      Why are we not making a selection in the rule 5 draft?
    1. drock2190's Avatar
      drock2190 -
      Quote Originally Posted by jwb1226 View Post
      Why are we not making a selection in the rule 5 draft?
      Full 40 man roster
    1. SgtSchmidt11's Avatar
      SgtSchmidt11 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Trevor0333 View Post
      Good summation of the climate so far, it really is suprising & you can't help but feel something big is building. If the Twins can sign Garza, this rotation is easily the 2nd best in the division. If the Tigers lose Sherzer next year, maybe even best in the Central. With all these pitching options coming to fruition the lack of offense is really becoming appearent.

      If you take on Papelbons contract, Dominic Brown is clearly available for young controllable pitching. They need a #5 SP & a closer and don't have payroll available to even sign mid tier players.

      A Corriea, May, Hicks, & Burton trade for Dominic Brown & Jonathon Papelbon makes a lot of sense for both teams. Heck they can have Worley &or Diamond if wanted as far as I'm concerned. Corriea & Burton are basically a wash salary wise for Papelbons contract in 2014. Also giving Philly a stop gap #5 & closer in Corriea & Burton with May back as a potential rotation option in 2015.

      Browns power would be welcome in the lineup & come 2015 could rotate RF/DH with Arcia limiting both players defense while keeping both in the lineup. Buxton/Mauer/Brown/Sano/Arcia is quite the formidible top of the order. Follow that up with a Garza/Nolasco/Hughes/Meyer/Gibson potential rotation, the future would be very bright.
      Except it is a terrible deal for the Twins. Dominic Brown's second half #'s are .270/.333/.390. He hit 4 HR's in the second half compared to 23 in the first. In matter of fact the only month he did anything in was May. If the Twins needed a streaky power hitting righty, they already got it. They just need to stick him in the outfield. http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/what-...wn-do-for-you/
    1. Marta Shearing's Avatar
      Marta Shearing -
      If they signed garza, arroyo, and pelfrey, I'll run down the street naked.
    1. AM.'s Avatar
      AM. -
      I'm more inclined to believe it is the calm before the calm.

      However, I would be ok being wrong and see the Twins spend exactly $100 million today on Garza (4/64) and Drew (3/36). Just for the record.
    1. jwb1226's Avatar
      jwb1226 -
      Quote Originally Posted by drock2190 View Post
      Full 40 man roster
      Are there any good players out there? Probably not but I think we have a lot of dead weight on the 40
    1. Twins Twerp's Avatar
      Twins Twerp -
      My gut says Arroyo for a 3rd a year. I hope I'm wrong.

      Also, could the Twins waive someone from the 40 if they decide to take someone in the rule 5?
    1. beckmt's Avatar
      beckmt -
      If you want to go a different direction, how about a contract for Brian Roberts and move Dozier to SS. Really help the offense, Roberts was a plus defender and leadoff hitter when healthy. Also maybe Grady Sizemore. That would help the outfield if he is healthy.
    1. Winston Smith's Avatar
      Winston Smith -
      I don't get the Ryan love for Pelfrey. At his best he is a mediocre pitcher, at his best. Shouldn't we be spending the money on guys that may end up being good?
    1. Jim Crikket's Avatar
      Jim Crikket -
      Quote Originally Posted by Winston Smith View Post
      I don't get the Ryan love for Pelfrey. At his best he is a mediocre pitcher, at his best. Shouldn't we be spending the money on guys that may end up being good?
      I'm ambivalent about Pelfrey. I probably wouldn't do that deal if I'm the GM, but I'm not going to have a fit if TR does bring him back.

      But if you do think he could be a mediocre pitcher, then 2 yrs/$12 mil is not an unfair price. That's kind of the going rate for mediocre pitchers and mediocre is better than most of the pitchers that have started for the Twins recently (including Pelfrey, who fell short of mediocre last season).

      I'm encouraged, though, that the Twins are engaging in conversations with Boras about his clients. It's about time they put an end to the "Twins won't sign Boras clients" BS.

      I always felt that was more a matter of Boras wouldn't bother shopping his clients to the tight-fisted Twins than the other way around and if it takes giving Pelfrey another shot to convince Boras the Twins are worth talking to about his higher-profile clients, too, that's ok with me.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      I don't really like Pelfrey back, but of he and Arroyo, at least Pelfrey won't cost three years, and he won't be nearly 40 when the contract expires.
    1. JB_Iowa's Avatar
      JB_Iowa -
      • Rhett Bollinger ‏@RhettBollinger 59s
        Ryan said he's not disappointed he didn't make a deal here at the Winter Meetings. Laid some groundwork. "I'm open for business," he said.





        7:11 AM - 12 Dec 13


        Basically what Seth said.

        There'll be more to shake out. It was, however, nice to see the Twins make some moves before January (before December, actually). And a Christmas present or two would be good, too, Terry.



    1. JB_Iowa's Avatar
      JB_Iowa -
      • Mike Berardino ‏@MikeBerardino 2m
        I asked Terry Ryan if he'd be fine to open 2014 w/current roster. "No," he said. "We still have a lot of work to do." #MNTwins




        7:37 AM - 12 Dec 13


        Tag on this one should have been #goodnews



    1. BigTrane's Avatar
      BigTrane -
      Great article, and this Hotstove certainly feels 'through the looking glass' time.

      Want speculation? How 'bout this:
      1) The recent feeding frenzy has everything to do with the free TV money coming, but I wonder if Uncle Bud sent a message that that extra loot had to show up on the field. Burnishing legacy? Would make a nice final chapter in his memoirs... sorry, kinda crypto-conspiracy there, but hey- you wanted speculation!

      2) In a pre-hotstove post, I hoped that the prospect of the MLB/media spotlight during the All-Star game would motivate the ownership to, just maybe, try to avoid star turn in the spotlight wind up with the Twins as national laughingstock. If Pohlad likes to see himself as a successful businessman, then how can he square the idea of a losing team becoming a winning brand? Just toss this out since Mr. 'FA is not the way' TR has done a complete 180. Or, his Evil Twin (read: good) has taken his place. Again: 'Suzy Creamcheese, what's got into you'? Inquiring minds want to know...

      3) What I'm reading form Japan indicates that Tanaka has been called to a meeting with Rakuten's Club Pres. next week. Certainly just a friendly chat, right? Fishing, how's the Missus... I strongly feel that he will not be posted, and if that's the case (and if the Twins has the same take) then making moves for more realistic SPs now makes a ton of sense. If Tanaka is not posted, then the sky's the limit for all remaining FA Sps. Kiss our hopes goodbye.

      4) If we can get a couple of deals done in the next 1-2 days, then we're dealing from strength. Plenty of guys can be packaged in trades (Hendriks, for example) along with all those newly-2nd-rate arms.

      5) The overall level of activity this offseason is unusual, if not unprecedented, especially for what was a basically thin market. With FAs being locked up for often too-long deals, upcoming FA markets won't be much better. Twins may be wise to put the money down now (which we actually have, for once) and repackage FA signings before they lapse with up-and-comers from the farm. Just because we sign a Hughes for 3 doesn't mean we have to keep him for 3, but it sure seems like have to be in the game now to get deals done in the future.

      We'll see what pans out; the next week will be key. We've all felt let down before, but this (moment?) is very exciting.
    1. minn55441's Avatar
      minn55441 -
      Quote Originally Posted by JB_Iowa View Post


      I like the sound of message. It would be really nice to start next season with last years starters in Rochester, with the idea that they only get a chance in Minnesota when and if someone goes on the DL.

      I'll be happy if he signs one more starter and an outfielder. Even if that starter turns out to be Pelfrey.
    1. cmb0252's Avatar
      cmb0252 -
      Some notes that suggest Seth is on to something:

      Darren Wolfson:
      Just spike w/ Jim Pohlad. I said hypothetically, can Terry add a player at $15M/year. He said yes. Some concern is years, not $$.

      Nmike Berardino:
      I asked Terry Ryan if he'd be fine to open 2014 w/current roster. "No," he said. "We still have a lot of work to do."
    1. Winston Smith's Avatar
      Winston Smith -
      I think Paul Maholm is still out there. He is left handed, which would be a plus, and is likely to get the same kind of contract that the Twins appear to have offered Pelfrey.

      Pelfrey: 55-67, 4.48 era, whip 1.472 and an ERA+ of 90.
      Maholm: 76-95, 4.28 era, whip 1.397 and an ERA+ of 96.
      yes i know these stats aren't perfect!

      IMO, Maholm would make more sense if he is still available. Having at least one LH starter would seem like a good idea.
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