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  • The Calm before the Storm

    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!
    Comments 42 Comments
    1. J-Dog Dungan's Avatar
      J-Dog Dungan -
      Great article. It's good to know that someone else is feeling the same thing I am; I can just feel that the Twins are about to make a move. They have been too quiet for too long to say that nothing is going on. Hope to hear some good news soon.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by Winston Smith View Post
      IMO, Maholm would make more sense if he is still available. Having at least one LH starter would seem like a good idea.
      Not a bad idea. The Twins could definitely use a lefty in the rotation.
    1. J-Dog Dungan's Avatar
      J-Dog Dungan -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      Not a bad idea. The Twins could definitely use a lefty in the rotation.
      And I just don't think Diamond is the lefty you really want in a top-flight rotation
    1. matthew0211's Avatar
      matthew0211 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      Not a bad idea. The Twins could definitely use a lefty in the rotation.
      How much of a necessity is having a lefty starter? Target Field appears to play well for RH hitters and is tougher on LH, so you'd think throwing RH starters out there would make sense. The Tigers seemed to do pretty well last year going with five righties.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by matthew0211 View Post
      How much of a necessity is having a lefty starter? Target Field appears to play well for RH hitters and is tougher on LH, so you'd think throwing RH starters out there would make sense. The Tigers seemed to do pretty well last year going with five righties.
      It's not a requirement, just a nice thing to have. Some teams are stacked with lefties and it's nice to have the option of going different-handed against some of them during a series.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      It's not a requirement, just a nice thing to have. Some teams are stacked with lefties and it's nice to have the option of going different-handed against some of them during a series.
      And not all games are played at Target Field.

      At this point, if the Twins don't snag Garza, I think I'd prefer a cheap lotto ticket on a 1 or 1 and an option year deal. I think Floyd, Niemann and Santana would be pretty exciting, and if we find later they can't cut it, well that's what all the depth is for. These kind of guys have a potential to bring a return at the trade deadline if healthy and have an outside chance at being worth a qualifying offer at year's end. They also have the potential to be the best arm on the staff.
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      It just feels like a trade could happen at any time.
      This is what I was hoping for. A 40-man-clearing move, to free up space for a rule-5 and a very good FA and a good spare part. Rule-5 didn't happen, obviously.

      But I still hope that during the meetings Terry let it be known to teams with 40-man space, "here's 6 guys - pick any 2, any 3 - offer me a legitimate #8-12 non-40-man prospect in return, and we can do business", and go from there. If nothing materializes, so be it - DFA the worst guy later on to make room, as need be. But I suspect there is residual value in a few of the guys who only amount to clutter on a rebuilding team.
    1. johnnydakota's Avatar
      johnnydakota -
      Quote Originally Posted by minn55441 View Post
      [/LIST]

      I like the sound of message. It would be really nice to start next season with last years starters in Rochester, with the idea that they only get a chance in Minnesota when and if someone goes on the DL.

      I'll be happy if he signs one more starter and an outfielder. Even if that starter turns out to be Pelfrey.
      I would be happier if last years starters were in San diego , and we had a couple of there Pitching prospects in Rochester
    1. johnnydakota's Avatar
      johnnydakota -
      It cant be stated enough , if we are going to add any more pitchers, they need to be an upgrade over what we have already...and there is only a handful that fit that discription.
      we have the mid-back end of the rotation filled, we dont need any more #4 types,
      If your going to sign Pelfrey , why not sign Scott baker? Doesnt his career numbers show he is a better chance at being a #3 type pitcher?
    1. Trevor0333's Avatar
      Trevor0333 -
      One of the reasons I wanted Anderson so bad was to put a lefty with real stuff in the rotation.

      I like Maholm a lot better than Pelfrey at the same contract especially.

      If it's the years & not the $ the hello Chris Capuano.... I'd be ok with giving him 2/18 all day long.
    1. Trevor0333's Avatar
      Trevor0333 -
      It always felt like Baker had no problem going on the DL ever. No interest here & thankfully sounds as if TR agrees.
    1. Trevor0333's Avatar
      Trevor0333 -
      I couldn't agree more John, that's exactly the type of move they need to try& make.
    1. tobi0040's Avatar
      tobi0040 -
      I actually have the transcript from the calls between Terry Ryan and Scott Boras (Pelfreys agent):

      Ryan: We are interested in bringing Pelfrey back, but only for one year.

      Boras: He is fielding multiple offers, it will take two years. The other teams know what my client can do. Did you know his ERA was under 4.00 three years ago?

      Ryan: Fine, we will go 2 years and $10M. We think Pelfrey can marginally improve upon his 5-13 record, 5.19 ERA, 1.55 WHIP, 10.8 H/9, 6K/9, and .300 average against

      Boras: We will settle for 2 years, but we have many teams calling so it is going to cost more

      Ryan: How come I have not heard a single team linked to Pelfrey, even for a one year deal?

      Boras: Many teams are out there, including teams in both leagues

      Ryan: Ok, we will do 2 years and $12M. We need to get this ace locked up. We are particularly intrigued by his 5.00 ERA over the last two months. We feel like he really transitioned after the typical first few month’s struggles from TJ.
    1. Brandon's Avatar
      Brandon -
      I think if we sign Pelfry we may be trading Corriea by the end of spring training if someone isn't on the DL at that time.

      Instead of signing Drew how about trading for one of Az's SSs. THey have 2 good young ones.

      I hope Garza signs soon so we know where he'll be.
    1. twinsfan34's Avatar
      twinsfan34 -
      I like Garza...but a little worried he'll require 4 years. How many pitchers are good for 4 years in a row? Or have any sort of consistency? It's just hard to be a pitcher.

      I don't like Stephen Drew...$10-$12M for...maybe 1-1.5 more WAR? He's better than Florimon offensively (defensively, SABR says he's better, BaseballProjection says he's better, Fangraphs says Drew is better). Either way, for that kind of money I think we can see better upgrades at CF, RF, DH, #4 Starter, #5 Starter, & Setup RP. We have some real duds there and the WAR ROI is probably much better.

      e.g. Pelfrey's $5M + that $10M for Garza.

      Granted Garza has only averaged 2.32 WAR the past 6 seasons. Pelfrey has averaged 1.25 over that same 6 year span.

      So maybe it's not that much better of an option. Arroyo is slightly better than Garza, but older.

      I almost feel as though to be careful not to get caught up in the vice novelty this year. Sure, so and so is comparatively 'better' than what we have, but in even an average year, he's a below average player.

      I'd be curious the average WAR per position and the average salary per position. And then look at what players are getting offered per their positional average value ($).

      I think Tanaka is going to be good, btw. I think his sinker will play well in MLB. Maybe even Roy Halladay well. At age 25. I think he'll be comparable to Zach Greinke. The other influx of Japanese pitchers have done quite well in MLB. Ryu, Iwakuma, Kuroda, and even some of them for their first 2-3 years...Nomo, Matsuzaka. (I apologize if I butchered those names)

      Matsuzaka, 4.1 and 5.3 WAR
      Nomo, 4.7 and 4.6 WAR
      Kuroda, 3.4, 3.1, 5.5, and 4.1 WAR in his full seasons
      Iawakuma, 2.0 and 7.0 WAR
      Ryu, 3.3 WAR

      There's probably a few flops the past few years I don't know of. But maybe more success rate than the American FA crop...
    1. Rosterman's Avatar
      Rosterman -
      Anderson from the A's. Essentially, almost, for something like Hendriks and, say, Berrios. I would think the Twins could have made an interesting offer better than the Rockies.
    1. Hosken Bombo Disco's Avatar
      Hosken Bombo Disco -
      Quote Originally Posted by tobi0040 View Post
      I actually have the transcript from the calls between Terry Ryan and Scott Boras (Pelfreys agent):

      Ryan: We are interested in bringing Pelfrey back, but only for one year.

      Boras: He is fielding multiple offers, it will take two years. The other teams know what my client can do. Did you know his ERA was under 4.00 three years ago?

      Ryan: Fine, we will go 2 years and $10M. We think Pelfrey can marginally improve upon his 5-13 record, 5.19 ERA, 1.55 WHIP, 10.8 H/9, 6K/9, and .300 average against

      Boras: We will settle for 2 years, but we have many teams calling so it is going to cost more

      Ryan: How come I have not heard a single team linked to Pelfrey, even for a one year deal?

      Boras: Many teams are out there, including teams in both leagues

      Ryan: Ok, we will do 2 years and $12M. We need to get this ace locked up. We are particularly intrigued by his 5.00 ERA over the last two months. We feel like he really transitioned after the typical first few month’s struggles from TJ.
      I might have agreed with you until a couple weeks ago when Ryan started signing other guys. I think the Twins have the leverage now, especially considering Pelfrey's own stated interest in returning.

      http://www.twincities.com/twins/ci_2...-if?source=rss
    1. DocBauer's Avatar
      DocBauer -
      I also believe something, or a few something's are in the works. Now, I don't have the feeling it's sme big trade of prospects for:_________fill in the blank for top SP or position player. First, I've said before trading from so much depth is not smart RIGHT NOW when in the process of rebuilding. I think next season makes WAY more sense to move young talent for something proven.

      Secondly, other than SS, what position do we trade for or make a major FA signing for that makes sense long term? If you believe in our talented young prospects at all, you have Pinto at C along with Herrmann as a talented athlete with quality defense and some position flexibility to help out. Mauer at first. Dozier at 2B and Soriano coming soon. ( though he could move to the OF again) Sano at 3B just around the corner. Buxton and Hicks and Arcia in the OF. So where do we trade for a position player that really improves us, sacrifice young talent, and not block someone other than SS?

      I could still see a veteran C for depth and experience, a LH INF bat who can help a 1B and 3B like Tracy, Chavez or Betemitt. I wonder who else might still be available in the OF cheaply to compete wit Presley and insurance for Mastro?

      Another SP is still the place to go I feel. I'd prefer Garza for now as well as the long term, but have no problem with Arroyo for the short while Gibson and Meyer and hopefully May establish themselves.

      I don't have a problem with Pelfrey exactly, but I feel, not stuff but quality, is too much like adding another Correia to the staff. While I'd like a LHSP added, it's not an absolute must. But what about Gibson, Deduno, Worley and Diamond as options if we sign 2? Do we trade Correia come spring training?
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by DocBauer View Post
      I also believe something, or a few something's are in the works. Now, I don't have the feeling it's sme big trade of prospects for:_________fill in the blank for top SP or position player. First, I've said before trading from so much depth is not smart RIGHT NOW when in the process of rebuilding. I think next season makes WAY more sense to move young talent for something proven.

      Secondly, other than SS, what position do we trade for or make a major FA signing for that makes sense long term? If you believe in our talented young prospects at all, you have Pinto at C along with Herrmann as a talented athlete with quality defense and some position flexibility to help out. Mauer at first. Dozier at 2B and Soriano coming soon. ( though he could move to the OF again) Sano at 3B just around the corner. Buxton and Hicks and Arcia in the OF. So where do we trade for a position player that really improves us, sacrifice young talent, and not block someone other than SS?

      I could still see a veteran C for depth and experience, a LH INF bat who can help a 1B and 3B like Tracy, Chavez or Betemitt. I wonder who else might still be available in the OF cheaply to compete wit Presley and insurance for Mastro?

      Another SP is still the place to go I feel. I'd prefer Garza for now as well as the long term, but have no problem with Arroyo for the short while Gibson and Meyer and hopefully May establish themselves.

      I don't have a problem with Pelfrey exactly, but I feel, not stuff but quality, is too much like adding another Correia to the staff. While I'd like a LHSP added, it's not an absolute must. But what about Gibson, Deduno, Worley and Diamond as options if we sign 2? Do we trade Correia come spring training?
      Do you know something about Alfonso Soriano?
    1. clutterheart's Avatar
      clutterheart -
      I like this post - its like the old sethspeaks
      A few exclamation marks, and just thoughts on my fav club
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