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  • Rumor Mill Round-Up: 12/18

    After adding Mike Pelfrey over the weekend, the Twins have now signed three free agent starters to join Kevin Correia in the rotation, adding around $25 million to the 2014 payroll in the process. At this point, one would figure that Terry Ryan is done investing in the rotation and is ready to turn his attention to the offense.

    And yet, the pitching rumors persist. Here's a quick glance at the latest offseason rumblings involving the local club:

    * I felt that the chances of the Twins signing Bronson Arroyo went from slim to nil after Pelfrey was locked in, but Mike Berardino cites a source with direct knowledge as saying that the team still has "strong interest" in the veteran right-hander.

    With four starting spots essentially claimed and with Samuel Deduno, Scott Diamond and Vance Worley all remaining to compete for that final job, I am extremely skeptical that Ryan is serious about spending big on another multi-year contract. This could hamper the flexibility of a rotation that should be setting up to usher in some young homegrown talent over the next few years.

    I could see the Twins signing a guy like Arroyo if he was available at a price they viewed as a bargain. But Arroyo -- along with the rest of the remaining free agent crop -- isn't waiting around this long to sign for a discount, especially with a non-contender.

    Steam Rating: 2/5

    * Darren Wolfson of ESPN 1500 reports the Twins are maintaining a dialogue with Johan Santana and that the former Cy Young winner is "very open to a return."

    Santana seems like a more sensible target than Arroyo. He won't require an expensive long-term deal (more like a minor-league pact with incentives) and I see no way he'd be a consideration to open the season in the rotation. Coming off his second major shoulder surgery since leaving Minnesota, Santana did not pitch at all in 2013 and -- last I heard -- hasn't even thrown off a mound yet.

    If he were to come aboard, it would likely be in the same capacity as Rich Harden last year. He'd spend the early part of the season rehabbing and building strength, and would hopefully be able to join up and make an impact at some point down the line.

    Even with the Twins' rotation becoming somewhat crowded, Santana would still stand a good chance of earning an opportunity here, and it's a place where he's comfortable. I could see it.

    Steam Rating: 3/5

    * Prior to the Pelfrey signing, ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick mentioned the Twins were monitoring free agent lefty Paul Maholm.

    Whether or not that interest remains is unclear, but Maholm is a logical target for the back end of the rotation. He'll be relatively inexpensive and has posted a solid 3.89 ERA while averaging 168 innings over the past three years. Most notably, Maholm is a left-hander, and the Twins currently have no southpaws slotted into the starting corps.

    Steam Rating: 2/5

    * Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle named the Twins as one team with interest in catcher Kurt Suzuki.

    Suzuki is intriguing. He emerged as a fairly solid player early on in Oakland, but has really fallen off over the past few years, with a .237/.294/.357 hitting line since 2010.

    He's still only 30, he'll be cheap and he's got a good defensive reputation. Seems like a logical fit as a backup. I still think John Buck or another more well-traveled veteran is likelier, though.

    Steam Rating: 3/5

    * On Tuesday, Jon Heyman tweeted that the Twins are among the teams looking at slugger Mark Reynolds.

    It's tough to make much sense of this one, because Reynolds is coming off an ugly season and really doesn't profile as a third baseman anymore, though that used to be his primary position. He's more of a 1B/DH type and the Twins already have an abundance of those with Joe Mauer, Ryan Doumit, Jason Kubel and Chris Parmelee.

    More than anything, Reynolds seems redundant with Trevor Plouffe already on the team; the two share a decidedly similar skill set. Both are substandard corner infield defenders who strike out a lot, hit for low averages and mostly just offer pop from the right side. I'm still a believer in Plouffe, at least as a part-time asset, but if the Twins are actually making a push for Reynolds it's probably not a good sign for the third base incumbent.

    In combination with the Kubel signing, the Reynolds whispers indicate the Twins are looking for cheap power bats they can buy low. For all his flaws, Reynolds has cranked 202 homers in seven MLB seasons.

    Steam Rating: 2/5
    This article was originally published in blog: Rumor Mill Round-Up: 12/17 started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 13 Comments
    1. Otwins's Avatar
      Otwins -
      Would love to see Santana back. Seems like both sides parted ways on good terms. I have read repeatedly that players speak highly of playing for the Twins. Bartlett, Kubel, Pelfrey resigning shows this is more than just talk. This is the left hander that I want to see. I am sure he is not what he was but am also sure that he is better than some that we have.
    1. tobi0040's Avatar
      tobi0040 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Otwins View Post
      Would love to see Santana back. Seems like both sides parted ways on good terms. I have read repeatedly that players speak highly of playing for the Twins. Bartlett, Kubel, Pelfrey resigning shows this is more than just talk. This is the left hander that I want to see. I am sure he is not what he was but am also sure that he is better than some that we have.
      I would welcome a minor league deal with Johan. It is tough to expect a viable comeback, but would be a very low cost move. If the worst thing that can happen is you pay him a few hundred thousand dollars to be around and mentor guys like !Meyer and Gibson it seems like that would not be the end of the world .

      I hope nothing comes of this mark reynolds chatter. That guy is a total hack
    1. orangevening's Avatar
      orangevening -
      How about Matty G.? It's still on the reunion theme
    1. Brandon's Avatar
      Brandon -
      I am surprised there isn't any Michael Young chatter. His main goal is playing time so he wouldn't be expensive or require a long term commitment. He doesn't strike out but 15-16% of the time or half the team rate of last year. Hits for solid average good for hit and run, plays multiple positions though not a great defender.
    1. cmathewson's Avatar
      cmathewson -
      Reynolds makes no sense. If they want another 3B option, Chavez makes more sense. But my understanding is they want to give Plouffe every opportunity to put up or shut up. Reynolds complicates that.
    1. Winston Smith's Avatar
      Winston Smith -
      Reynolds might improve team speed and his K rate would fit in! From the piranhas to the whales.
    1. jmlease1's Avatar
      jmlease1 -
      A minor league deal on Santana seems about right and it wouldn't be a bad fit. Let him get rehabbed without pressure and see if he has anything left. I'd think he'd be a good guy to have around as a role model for younger pitchers, especially those needing to learn how to throw a change-up. It wouldn't hurt the team's reputation around the league either, looking out for someone who was one of their guys.

      I'm not interested in any of the other pitching options at this point, since it looks like Garza isn't an option. I'd rather go with Gibson/Deduno/Diamond for a 5th starter and see if any of them are viable options after this season.

      If the Twins are going to spend some more real money this off-season (and they still should have some money to spend) I'd much rather see them get another bat; the offense still has a lot of "ifs" in it, outside of Mauer: can Willingham get and stay healthy, was Dozier's second half for real, can Arcia avoid a sophomore slump and cut down the Ks, how far will Pinto drop back when his BABIP goes down to a sustainable rate, can Hicks be an acceptable MLB hitter, can Plouffe show some consistency...I mean, that's a LOT of questions for the offense. Reminds me of the pitching staff going into last season where there was some opportunity, but the only certainty was Perkins in the bullpen.

      I like Suzuki as a catching option. Either him or Buck would be reasonable backups for Pinto and would be good bench options.

      Here's a question: with the Twins investing heavily in starting pitching that should (should!) give them significantly more innings from their rotation this season...will they finally go away from a 12-man staff and put together a bench with more options? Because if the starters perform as expected, you shouldn't need more than a 6 man bullpen: closer, 2 setup men, 2 middle relievers, 1 long man. Hopefully your middle guys have enough juice to occasionally set things up and/or go 2-3 innings on occasion...but you're not going to pitch that extra guy if your starters are throwing reasonably well more than 1-2 times a month otherwise. So hopefully that creates room for a platoon?
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Quote Originally Posted by orangevening View Post
      How about Matty G.? It's still on the reunion theme
      LEN3 has a bunch of stuff on him today. Here.
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      The item on MLBTR about Santana doesn't discuss contract terms. It worries me if they are thinking about a guaranteed major league contract. A minor league deal, as mentioned here, would of course be fine. And if some other team wants to snatch him away by guaranteeing a contract, well, good for them I guess. Maybe the Astros, who originally signed him, would like to offer him a chance to end his career where he started.
    1. Nick Nelson's Avatar
      Nick Nelson -
      I think the odds of anyone giving Santana a guaranteed MLB contract at this point are extremely slim. He's an enormous long shot.
    1. Halsey Hall's Avatar
      Halsey Hall -
      I'd welcome Santana back in a heartbeat! He most likely never plays again in the majors, but could really help the younger pitchers. For the cost, even helping one improve would be worth the money.

      I don't care who they get to play 3rd base. I watch any hack there over Plouffe, I've seen enough. With him you gt what you've seen and that's very little.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Quote Originally Posted by ashburyjohn View Post
      The item on MLBTR about Santana doesn't discuss contract terms. It worries me if they are thinking about a guaranteed major league contract. A minor league deal, as mentioned here, would of course be fine. And if some other team wants to snatch him away by guaranteeing a contract, well, good for them I guess. Maybe the Astros, who originally signed him, would like to offer him a chance to end his career where he started.
      I'd like to take a chance on Santana, but this is the rub. It was reported earlier that Santana was going to have an audition for teams in January hoping to generate interest in a MLB contract. If he signed a minor league deal prior to that, it clearly means he knows his throwing session will not be up to snuff which of course does not bode well for his chances of recovery.
    1. BigTrane's Avatar
      BigTrane -
      According to MLBTR, Twins *were* in on the deal on Chavez (no link, just look for the interesting Juan Rincon story). Very interesting, on both counts. Sign Suzuki!
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