In their blockbuster trade with the Blue Jays earlier this week, the Marlins acquired a player who has been discussed in some circles as a potential target for the Twins: Yunel Escobar.
The 30-year-old shortstop is coming off a rather tumultuous year in Toronto, but there's no denying that he's got some legitimate talent, which has been in short supply at the shortstop position here in Minnesota.
Interestingly, the Marlins won't be using Escobar
It didn't come as a surprise that Scott Baker signed a contract just a couple weeks into this offseason. He's not the first recognizable pitcher to come off the board, as Bartolo Colon and Hisashi Iwakuma preceded him.
Baker is, however, the first to land with a new team. And I think that does come as a surprise to a lot of people, given the Twins' well publicized efforts to bring him back.
Baker didn't spend much time testing the open market,
It was right around this time in 2007 that Torii Hunter officially left the Twins, signing a five-year, $90 million contract with the Angels. That total was more than most people thought he'd get in free agency, and it was widely believed that the Halos had overpaid, but Hunter made good on the deal, hitting .286/.352/.462 while averaging 21 homers over five seasons.
Hunter just finished up the final year of that contract, and although he missed 22 games
The Rays, possessing a glut of quality starting pitchers and seeking an outfielder who can be an asset at the top of the order, have been pointed at frequently around here as a logical trade partner for the Twins. The Offseason Handbook specifically calls out James Shields and Wade Davis as potential targets in Tampa's pitching corps, and there are several other names that hold appeal.
According to reports, the Rays hurler drawing the most interest is Jeremy
In recent days, the Twins have announced a few procedural moves that weren't especially surprising. Among them were the decisions to decline 2013 options for Scott Baker and Matt Capps, which would have paid $9.25 million and $6 million, respectively. With both hurlers coming off seasons severely affected by injuries, there was no incentive for the Twins to pay such a high price when they could easily negotiate a better deal in free agency.
They have already
At a glance, one would think that Minnesota's power output this year was well above the norm. Josh Willingham launched 35 bombs and fellow newcomer Ryan Doumit chipped in 18. Trevor Plouffe's 24 were a pleasant surprise, as were Justin Morneau's 19. Even Joe Mauer delivered 10 long balls – just his third time reaching double digits.
Despite all of those big power performances, the Twins tied with the Royals for fewest home runs in the American League. While
1) The Twins will be one of the first teams to sign a pitcher, and it will be a relatively big name.
This certainly wouldn't be business as usual, and I don't actually think it'll be Zack Greinke. But the front office has been frank in its dissatisfaction with the current starting pitching situation, and has expressed an urgency to address that unit during the offseason. In his recent interview with John Bonnes for the Offseason Handbook, Terry Ryan hinted
The World Series is almost underway, which means that the official start of the offseason is rapidly approaching. When the free agent market opens up, one of the central figures will be Zack Greinke, who is the clear top dog in a deep pitching pack. The former Cy Young winner offers ace-level ability, youth and a durable track record.
Sure, there are a few question marks surrounding the right-hander, who turns 29 this weekend. He's had some anxiety issues
Given the vast number of tribulations that have surrounded seemingly every injury affecting a player on the Twins' roster over the past couple years, folks have understandably placed low expectations on Kyle Gibson's rehab process.
The young hurler is a member of the organization's sizable faction of Tommy John victims over the past several years, and with all the setbacks that we've grown accustomed to seeing, fans across Twins Territory have conditioned
Since they moved into Target Field, the Twins have seen payroll rise and fall, from $96 million in the opening season, up to $112 million the following year, down to $94 million in 2012.
The rise to $112 million last year was purportedly the result of a push to take the next step after falling short in the 2010 postseason. The subsequent scaling back by nearly $20 million was easy enough to figure; the Twins had lost 99 games which led to reduced revenue
Five spots in next year's rotation. One guy locked in.
It's hard to look at the daunting uncertainty in Minnesota's rotation as a good thing, but there are some fringe benefits to the situation. One is that it may be easier for Terry Ryan to lure in pitchers who are left without a seat and forced to sign minor-league contracts when the music stops on this offseason's free agent class.
There could be quite a few of those guys standing around
Each year in our Offseason Handbook, we put together a list of all the upcoming free agents at every position. Beyond the write-ups and statistical breakdowns for each player, we estimate the contract we expect them to get, so that armchair GMs can fit prospective acquisitions into their budgets.
This is an aspect of the publication that we take very seriously. In fact, every year, we set aside a day for the entire editorial staff to get together and reach
After approaching 100 losses in back-to-back seasons, the Twins clearly needed to make some changes. As we put it when introducing our Offseason Handbook yesterday, complacency was not going to be an option this winter.
They wasted little time shaking things up, parting with their entire coaching staff – save for pitching coach Rick Anderson and manager Ron Gardenhire – in the very first day after the season came to an end.
Bullpen coach Rick
In their second-to-last game of 2012, the Twins sent Anthony Swarzak to the hill. He turned in a sub par five-inning outing, and the Twins ended up losing by a run, their 95th loss of the season.
A pitcher who had no business starting a major-league game getting roughed up and putting his capable offense in a hole they couldn't dig out of. Minnesota's 2012 season in a nutshell.
Now, the above isn't intended as a slight toward Swarzak, whose overall