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Neal: AJ, Hawkins, Trade, Polanco

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#1 John Bonnes

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 07:37 AM

In his offseason blog post, Strib reporter La Vell E. Neal III has lots of notes on the Twins and their minors, and couple of interesting hunches. The reports are that:

  • Twins would like to bring back AJ to shake up the locker room a little but AJ is pretty popular and will play the process out.
  • If Santana returns, he would be like Harden - invisible until (if ever) healthy
  • He wouldn't be surprised if the Twins contacted LaTroy Hawkins
  • IN general, Twins are looking for guys who have won before.
  • Jorge Polanco will stay at shortstop at least through 2014.

But I thought the most interesting was this:

So their priorities are on upgrading the rotation with a couple quality starters. My sense is that they might end up dealing for one, with a package that includes a prospect not named Byron or Miguel.


Yep, that is talking about trading prospects for pitching. THAT would make an interesting pivot this offseason.

#2 JB_Iowa

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 08:17 AM

We all have to see how this plays out and if "the Tiger really can change his stripes" (i.e. whether Terry Ryan can make himself spend money in free agency or trade prospects).

One of the best things I've seen this off-season are the repeated rumors that the Twins are trying to "shake up the locker room". As I recall, it started with Gardenhire's comment in the October 1 conference call with season ticket holders when, according to Howard Sinker:

"Fan tells Gardy his team lacks clubhouse leader. Gardy: Just because you're a veteran doesn't mean you're a leader. We're in search of that."

Then there are the rumors about the Twins being open to both Garza and Pierzynski -- both of whom are not in the quiet, "nice guy" mold the Twins have favored recently.

I really hope that LEN3 has it right that the Twins are looking to bring one or more different personality types onto this club. Last year this team often seemed like dead men walking.

#3 ericchri

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 08:52 AM

Polanco will "stay" at shortstop? Does that mean he's getting a chance to prove he's a full-time SS instead of just filling in when Goodrum isn't playing? Would that indicate Polanco might start at Ft. Myers, but Goodrum might start out the season back in Cedar Rapids?

#4 beckmt

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 08:56 AM

Maybe Polanco starts at New Britian, but Ft. Meyers would have a excess of Shortstops.

#5 Thrylos

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 09:02 AM

You got to add Levi Michael into the equation some place too. Likely New Britain. But Polanco is a better prospect than both Michael and Goodrum at this point, so he should be starting at short.

La Troy Hawkins? Can he start? (rhetorical question.) The Twins have way too many bullpen guys and more in the pipeline at this point
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#6 kab21

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 11:04 AM

La Troy Hawkins? Can he start? (rhetorical question.) The Twins have way too many bullpen guys and more in the pipeline at this point


The Twins had a lot of nice seasons in the bullpen but I'm skeptical of several of these arms. It's not the most glaring weakness but things could turn ugly in the bullpen next year.

#7 JB_Iowa

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 11:07 AM

I want to see a little vocal leadership added but it would be ludicrous to try to go back to the future with more than 1 or 2 of the veterans who've been mentioned (and it would also depend on what else might be added from outside former Twins).

#8 Kwak

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 12:07 PM

Clubhouse leader: thunder without lightning.

#9 nicksaviking

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 01:02 PM

I like LaTroy and I want more vocal personalities on this club. Still, I doubt LaTroy's sage rhetoric can reach from the bullpen to the dugout. This team needs to look for dugout personalities. Last year, in-game shots of the bench looked like the last pew at a 10:00 AM church service.

#10 Marta Shearing

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 01:03 PM

My favorite Latroy moment was sitting on a folding chair in the bullpen and getting ejected for yelling something at the umpire.

#11 stringer bell

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 03:29 PM

When I saw Cedar Rapids play, Polanco was the SS. He seems to have good hands and good enough range, but his throws didn't look as strong from short as we see from the likes of Escobar and Florimon. I really don't know if he can be stretched into a major league SS.

Edited by stringer bell, 18 November 2013 - 08:26 PM.


#12 Trevor0333

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 04:09 PM

I really hope it's not Rosario, he is going to be so much better than some are thinking.

It's hard to say who could be moved prospect wise with so many options. Who realistically is available trade wise?

I've heard Brett Anderson & Smardizja who would be nice but are on a 1 year deal so I can't imagine the price being too high.

Edited by Trevor0333, 18 November 2013 - 04:19 PM.


#13 Brandon

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 05:32 PM

I am curious as to who would be willing to trade pitching at this point?

#14 Oldgoat_MN

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 06:15 PM

I am curious as to who would be willing to trade pitching at this point?


Usually it is a team that has decided to go into a rebuilding stretch and wants to shed a contract. Think Cliff Lee if the Phillies decided they needed to rebuild.

(Now, of course, you are all laughing hysterically at the idea of TR taking on a contract like Lee's. It is pretty difficult to imagine.)
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#15 howieramone1406390264

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 06:42 PM

I am curious as to who would be willing to trade pitching at this point?


The trade market is so large and diverse, it's really hard to say. I wouldn't be surprised if he went after a Meyer type. The minimum requirement is a starting pitcher ready to go by the start of 2015. The right partner will find our 5-15 prospects very attractive.

#16 Jim H

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 06:54 PM

I am sorry, but I don't pay much attention to what Neal says about things like this. While I am sure he has lots of Twins sources, there has never been much indication that any of them reach into the GM's office. I doubt if he has any more idea of what Ryan might do this off season than what has been said to the rest of the media.

#17 Einstein

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 07:50 PM

Hawkins to the Rockies.

LaTroy Hawkins agrees to one year, 2.5 million deal with the #Rockies to be their closer
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) November 19, 2013


#18 Seth Stohs

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 07:53 PM

I am curious as to who would be willing to trade pitching at this point?


Most likely someone who hasn't been mentioned at all yet. The Twins are very good at keeping things pretty quiet.

#19 spycake

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 08:02 PM

Most likely someone who hasn't been mentioned at all yet. The Twins are very good at keeping things pretty quiet.


Yeah, because Denard Span to the Nationals was a big secret. :)

It's actually pretty hard to predict trades for just about any team, a lot harder than predicting free agent signings or draft picks.

EDIT: Actually, predicting the Twins free agent signings hasn't been very difficult the last few years. I'm pretty sure Pelfrey and Correia were on some "most likely to sign with the Twins" lists last year, and Carroll the year before that. (Willingham was a bit of a surprise, although they did need Cuddyer/Kubel replacements at the time.)

Of course, it helps when the Twins restrict themselves to low-demand players with low contract requirements...

Edited by spycake, 18 November 2013 - 08:12 PM.


#20 spycake

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 08:08 PM

Yep, that is talking about trading prospects for pitching. THAT would make an interesting pivot this offseason.


If the Twins trade prospects for pitching but stay ~$30 million under budget (no quality free agents signed), I am going to be MASSIVELY disappointed. As good as our top prospects are, this team and organization are not that rich in talent yet -- we can't really afford to be swapping out talent, we need to ADD it.

#21 Einstein

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 08:27 PM

If the Twins trade prospects for pitching but stay ~$30 million under budget (no quality free agents signed), I am going to be MASSIVELY disappointed. As good as our top prospects are, this team and organization are not that rich in talent yet -- we can't really afford to be swapping out talent, we need to ADD it.

Agree completely, they should be building around that core not subtracting from it.

#22 Brandon

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 08:51 PM

The Twins really need to go out and bring in a talented player through free agency. We have seen so many players leave, I think it would be good for morale to go out and sign a 30-50 million starter. The money is there and there is so much pent up demand from the fan base to see it, that just needs to happen.

#23 howieramone1406390264

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 09:09 PM

If the Twins trade prospects for pitching but stay ~$30 million under budget (no quality free agents signed), I am going to be MASSIVELY disappointed. As good as our top prospects are, this team and organization are not that rich in talent yet -- we can't really afford to be swapping out talent, we need to ADD it.


You can't be higher than #1. Ryan will do what it takes. The trade market has got be 5-10 times the size of free agency. Why would you tie his hands behind his back?

#24 Major Leauge Ready

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 09:35 PM

If the Twins trade prospects for pitching but stay ~$30 million under budget (no quality free agents signed), I am going to be MASSIVELY disappointed. As good as our top prospects are, this team and organization are not that rich in talent yet -- we can't really afford to be swapping out talent, we need to ADD it.


I would like to see the team 15M or so under budget. Next year's FA class looks much better and we will be a year closer to contention. Take the dolars from expiring contracts + 15M and we have room to go after a front of the rotation starter without the question marks in this year's FAs. A long term deal makes more sense with several of the SPs that should be available next year.

#25 goulik

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 09:57 PM

I would like to see the team 15M or so under budget. Next year's FA class looks much better and we will be a year closer to contention. Take the dolars from expiring contracts + 15M and we have room to go after a front of the rotation starter without the question marks in this year's FAs. A long term deal makes more sense with several of the SPs that should be available next year.

Spending 40 to 50 this off season allows for this plus some. Also, some of that 40 to 50 could be under one year contracts creating even more flexibility. To me it is really exciting that there is this much room for FA spending and I will be as disappointed as being swept by the Yankees in the playoffs if the Twins do not break the Willingham record FA contract and hopefully they do it twice!!

#26 clutterheart

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 10:18 PM

You got to add Levi Michael into the equation some place too.


Why? What has he done to be factored in?
He has already been passed by Santana, and he did nothing to deserve a promotion. His play shows he deserves to be sent down to CR next year.
He should not block anyone

#27 spycake

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 01:10 PM

You can't be higher than #1. Ryan will do what it takes. The trade market has got be 5-10 times the size of free agency. Why would you tie his hands behind his back?


Trade market is bigger by definition, but trades are more infrequent because they are more costly in terms of talent. (Actually, most trades are probably salary dumps anyway -- I wouldn't mind the Twins taking on one of those, like Ervin Santana last year.)

Twins farm system might be #1, but the MLB club is a lot closer to #30 in talent. There's a big difference between the St Louis Cardinals trading some prospects when they have a strong MLB roster, and the Twins trading some prospects before they have much of anything at the MLB level (or even high minors).

Of course I wouldn't tie TR's hands about anything -- if he detects another team is over-valuing a guy like Rosario, Arcia, etc. and can turn that into another Meyer, more power to him. But those kind of deals are incredibly rare, and the Twins still need at least 2 MLB-ready arms for the upcoming season, preferably quality ones.

We still need more quality players at ALL positions, including those we would have to deal from, more than we need ~$30 million payroll "wiggle room".

#28 Shane Wahl

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 02:42 PM

Won't be trading Rosario now.

And it would be stupid to make such a trade anyway. Not when you can just buy them.

#29 gunnarthor

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 03:26 PM

I wonder if the Rangers would give up some pitching for Arcia? He's still not a complete player yet and the Rangers are in win-now mode but he's not that far off and his bat in Texas' park could be pretty exciting for them.