4:30 am - The alarm goes off. It’s not set for this early in the day because I enjoy the morning, but because if I had 24 hours to run this club the way I want to run it, I can’t waste my team sleeping.
6:00 am - After hurriedly getting ready and getting a two-burrito breakfast at the local McDonald’s, I navigated the early morning traffic downtown and arrived at my home for the day before the sun comes up.
6:05 am - Get myself a cup of coffee. I’m not a coffee drinker. I haven’t had caffeine in years. But I can’t imagine there is a single general manager in Major League Baseball who doesn’t caffeinate frequently during the day. I mean, look at A.J. Preller, it wouldn’t shock me if he took caffeine intravenously.
6:10 am - Study the “Big Board.” I didn’t come into the day blind; I know what I want to achieve. The bullpen isn’t good enough. It’s not as far away as everyone thinks it is, I don’t believe. But it’s not the quality bullpen a playoff contender would have. I’m not in love with how Paul Molitor is going to be forced to write the lineup every day. The big boppers - Sano, Plouffe, Park - all bat from the right side of the plate. I don’t really want to see RRR every day, but there are worse problems in the world. Now it’s a matter of finding out who matches up and what the cost is going to be.
6:30 am - Call the Mets. Leave a voicemail. I think the Mets can be a potential fit.
6:35 am - Leave a message with the Rays. Wouldn’t Jake McGee look good in a Twins uniform? I don’t think I’ll find a fit, but I don’t want to leave any stone unturned. Not today.
6:40 am - Get hold of Brian Cashman. He always seems to answer right away when the Twins call… is he serious about keeping Andrew Miller? He sure sounds like it.
6:45 am - Call the Orioles and congratulate them on winning the Powerball. I mean, how else could they afford to give Chris Davis that much money? They need some rotation help now, though. I don’t have much to offer and they never ask about Ricky Nolasco. I can’t blame them.
7:00 am - Get a return call from the Mets. During the Winter Meetings they pursued Todd Frazier and Ben Zobrist and came up empty. They added Neil Walker, but still have David Wright at third base. Most believe that, ideally, the Mets would like to move Wright across the diamond to preserve his back. They’re cool on Trevor Plouffe, or at least that’s how it comes across. Personally, I think Plouffe would be a good fit for the Mets. But I’d want the right guy or guys in return. I have my idea, but this one might take awhile. I tell the Mets I’ve got another move coming - I don’t - and that I’ll call them back.
7:15 am - Call Ron Shapiro and tell him I want to run something by his client (#7).
7:30 am - I’ve been hearing a lot of talk about the Brewers listening to offers on Jonathan Lucroy. So I’ll make that call, but I’m not real interested. I’m more curious about what types of players they like in the Twins organization. They’re a real mess, so I can’t imagine they’d be too picky about positions. They just lack talent.
7:45 am - Call the Mets back. Ask them what they’d do with Lucas Duda if they moved Wright over to the first base. (They’d obviously have to trade him and he’s been mentioned in trade rumors for quite some time.) Discuss a potential Duda-for-Plouffe swap, but neither are comfortable making the deal straight up at this time and without working through some other things first.
8:00 am - Call Seth. Ask him if there’s room for another first baseman on the team. (Because I know Seth always looks for the bright side of things.)
8:05 am - Call Jay-Z. Invite him to do a concert at Target Field this summer. (Don’t know if I have the power to make that offer, but nobody told me I didn’t.) The offer, of course, is contingent on him agreeing to let me join him onstage to do Eminem’s part on Renegade. He didn’t answer, obviously. So I left him a voicemail. I rambled until it cut me off.
8:08 am - Realize I placed the call to tell him I want to sign his new client, Miguel Sano, to a 10-year deal and I want it done in the next 12 hours. Let’s see if the Jiggaman calls back.
8:55 am - Wake up from an unplanned nap. Whoops. Check voicemail. Nothing.
9:00 am - Take a stroll around Target Field. Introduce myself to everyone I see. Everybody seemed pleasant, so that was nice. Stopped in the ticket office to see how sales are. They “aren’t up” is what I’m told. My solution for that: more bobbleheads. I also suggest looking into hosting a Kernels/Timber Rattlers weekend sometime before the draft. (I don’t remember if that was originally a Seth plan, Steve Buhr plan or something that manifested in my own brain… but it’s a good plan, so why not throw it out there?)
10:00 am - Return to my office and have messages from the Yankees, Mets and Brewers.
10:05 am - Before I can return any of the calls, I get a phone call from my current first baseman, Joe Mauer. I pick up the phone and ask him how his winter has been. You know, small talk. I tell him I caught a replay of his 1999 State Championships football game and, golly, did he have a good arm. I proceed to tell him it’s a shame that we don’t get to see “that cannon” at first base. He says, “Gee, thanks.” I ask him if he thinks he could play right field. He doesn’t respond. I tell him to give it some thought - but not too long - and I want to know for sure by noon.
10:25 am - Get Cashman on the phone. He reiterates that he is keeping all of his closers.
10:30 am - Call the Brewers back. We’re no fit on Lucroy, but they’re willing to be reasonable about left-handed reliever Will Smith. Reasonable as in three prospects. We exchange some names. They really like Stephen Gonsalves and I don’t blame them. The difficulty is going to be agreeing on the quality of the other two prospects. We agree to talk later.
10:45 am - Mauer calls back. He’s not super excited about moving to right field. I promise him that this is a necessary step to lengthen the lineup, and - more importantly - this is also a move that gets us closer to the World Series. I point out that, as a GM, I’m never made a bad trade and I don’t intend to start. He tells me all he wants is a ring. I tell him I’m in the same boat.
10:55 am - Re-engage with the Mets. They have warmed up to the idea that they’ll move Duda for Plouffe, but they want a sweetener. They’re not going to like that I also want a sweetener. I tell them I want them to give me a list of minor leaguers they like and we agree to talk again at 1:30.
11:15 am - Make a call to the Rockies. They have three left-handed hitting outfielders and just added Parra. They are going to move one of those guys. We talked about CarGo before the Winter Meetings, but didn’t seem to be in the same ballpark. They like Kyle Gibson, but let’s be honest, we need Kyle Gibson. But at the same time, I don’t hate the rotation: Santana, Hughes, Gibson, Duffey and Milone to start the year and Berrios and Nolasco in the mix as well. Could we get it done without Gibson? You might be able to convince me of that…Anyway, CarGo still has a very high price tag and I’m not going to be able to swing a deal before I turn back into a regular person at midnight.
11:30 am - I realize my time as the GM is limited; so is my time as someone who can eat at the nicest restaurants. I gather everyone who is working at Target Field and bring them all to the nicest restaurant in town - I’m not even sure what that restaurant is - and pick up the tab. I figured a prorated day at the GM salary will cover the cost. I’d do this job for free.. and now I’m putting my money where my mouth is. And if I don’t make enough to pay the bill, I’ll get some help from a Pohlad.
1:00 am - Back in the office and making a call to the Mets. They’ve come up with a list of about a dozen prospects they’re interested in. I scoff at giving up the powerful bat of Adam Brett Walker, but long-term, I don’t see him fitting in an outfield of Rosario, Buxton and Kepler. They also like the right-handed Aussie Sam Gibbons. Now it’s my turn to ask for more: Jenrry Mejia. Trading for Mejia does not come without substantial risk. He’s got 63 games of his 162-game suspension left to serve. He’s not eligible to pitch until early June and, even then, he’s one positive test from a lifetime ban. The Mets tendered Mejia a contract last month in a somewhat surprising move, but given the recent addition of Antonio Bastardo, the Mets can move Mejia without issue. We tentatively agree to a deal that will send Plouffe and Gibbons to New York in exchange for Lucas Duda, Jenrry Mejia and a player to be named later. Mejia’s suspension also opens up a 40-man spot. The “player to be named later” is insurance in case Mejia gets suspended again before the end of July. The Mets agree to send a non-prospect over in late March and if Mejia is re-suspended, that player will be sent back to the Mets in exchange for a better prospect, one that will be on a list that the teams have agreed on.
What this trade did: It added a powerful left-handed bat to the middle of the order. Duda has a lot of swing-and-miss to his game and putting him in between Sano and Park is a little scary from a strikeout perspective. But his potential to put up an .840 OPS makes this lineup considerably better. Duda and Park will split first base and DH responsibilities, Miguel Sano can move to third base and Joe Mauer shifts to right field. Mejia can be a potentially dominant set-up man and has three years of control left.
2:00 pm - Both teams have received medicals on all the players. We’ll get back in touch at 5 pm.
2:15 pm - Receive a return call from Roc Nation. It’s not Jay-Z. They don’t seem (with the help of CAA) too inclined to start listening to a long-term deal for Miguel Sano. I ask about Cespedes because, let’s be real, he would be awesome at Target Field. I know I said the lineup is too right-handed, but you think he couldn’t play left field and be phenomenal? Throw him into the lineup (in place of Rosario) and I’d take that lineup in a heartbeat over what the Tigers have. Plus, Sano and Yo are good friends - it’s part of why Sano left his old agency. It sounds at this point like the Nationals have a pretty good offer on the table for him… so he’s not coming back to the Midwest.
2:30 pm - Reconnecting with Milwaukee. I’m bound and determined to acquire Will Smith. You’ll all seen it in the media lately, “The Twins like Will Smith.” I’ve been barking up the Will Smith tree since mid-summer. That’s one of the best things about Twitter… if you said something, there’s proof. It’s also one of the worst things about Twitter. (On June 24, I tweeted this, “It might be early in the morning, but one name I'd go hard after if the Twins remain in contention: Brewers LHRP Will Smith.” I then immediately followed it up with this, “Problem with Smith, who hasn't even hit his arbitration years, is that he'd come at a price. Almost guaranteed Brewers would want Gonsalves.”)
I’m not thrilled about the potential of giving up Gonsalves. It make me sick, to be honest. Twitter’s also good to show how much I like him. (In fact, my first tweet after he was drafted was “LOVE IT!”) But the price for four years of Will Smith is understandably high. And the idea of Perkins, May, Jepsen, Mejia and Smith, plus the arrivals of guys like Burdi, Chargois and Melotakis makes it a little easier to swallow. This does up the ante for Tyler Jay, Kohl Stewart, and the return of Lewis Thorpe. but you have to give to get. And I end up giving Stephen Gonsalves, Oswaldo Arcia, Eduardo Del Rosario and cash to the Brewers to get Will Smith and satisfy the Neal Cotts trade. It’s a steep price to pay, but one I feel is worth it. We’ll review medicals and reconvene at 6 pm.
3:30 pm - After going into Preller Mode and completing two deals in less than two hours, I spend the next 90 minutes checking with the scouting supervisors to see how they feel about the 2016 draft. As much I’d like to go get one of the many stud free agents still available, I’m not comfortable giving up a draft pick. We’re going to make the 2016 draft count and with the scouting staff the Twins have in place, I’m confident of that happening. Look at some of the recent drafts. Impressive!
5:00 pm - After all medicals have been reviewed and given the OK, both the Twins and Mets send out a press release announcing the trade: The Twins send Trevor Plouffe and prospect Sam Gibbons to the Mets in exchange for Lucas Duda, Jenrry Mejia and a player to be named later. Neither Duda or Mejia are under contract for 2016. Duda (two years) and Mejia (three years) are both under team control and have exchanged arbitration figures with the Mets.
5:30 pm - Order Jimmy Johns. I know I can have that Gargantuan finished by the time I get back on the phone with the Brewers.
6:00 pm - Everything checks out with the Brewers and the medicals. In exchange for Stephen Gonsalves, Oswaldo Arcia, Eduardo Del Rosario and cash the Twins get Will Smith and the Neal Cotts trade is considered complete, both teams announce.
6:15 pm - I feel pretty good about the new setup of the team. I rearrange my roster and it looks like this:
C - Kurt Suzuki, John Ryan Murphy
INF - Byung Ho Park, Lucas Duda, Brian Dozier, Miguel Sano, Eduardo Escobar, Eduardo Nunez
OF - Joe Mauer, Eddie Rosario, Byron Buxton, Danny Santana
SP - Ervin Santana, Phil Hughes, Kyle Gibson, Tyler Duffey, Tommy Milone
RP - Glen Perkins, Will Smith, Trevor May, Kevin Jepsen, Ricky Nolasco, Fernando Abad vs Ryan O’Rourke, Casey Fien vs Michael Tonkin
SUSP - Jenrry Mejia
That leaves one spot. I’d prefer to add a bopper to the bench. But I’m not sure there’s a good fit. I’m not OK with bringing Max Kepler north if I didn’t think he’d be in the lineup every day. Two of my four outfielders aren’t really outfielders. I know where I’m going with my last 40-man and 25-man roster spot.
6:45 pm - Make a phone call to the agent for free agent outfielder Will Venable. Venable is an Ivy League guy, fantastic on the basepaths and versatile in the outfield. He’ll mentor the likes of Buxton and Rosario and serve as the 4th outfielder. We quickly agree to a one-year, $4.5 million deal with some plate appearance incentives. It’s all wrapped up before 7:30 and Dustin Morse gets him to agree to come to TwinsFest before Jon Heyman can even tweet, “twins will venable agreeto one year deam.”
7:30 pm - It’s already dark outside and I feel like I’ve accomplished everything I set out to do. Part of me thinks, “Go home” but the other part of me thinks, “You’ve only got four and half hours left.” I compromise with myself and decide to make no more phone calls outside of the organization, but stick around for another half hour in case the phone rings. Only one question remains: Is Jay-Z going to call me back?
9:15 pm - Home with no return call from Jay-Z, the adrenaline hasn’t worn off. I realize it’s been a long day and that I should just go to bed. And then it hits me… “I need to go read the comments at TwinsDaily!”