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!