Wednesday, December 8, 2010

2010 Winter Meeting Thoughts

This week, all 30 GMs are down in Orlando for the Winter Meetings. And if you are like me, this is great to watch closely. All the rumors is what make this week great. But in recent years, the meetings have become more a place where teams lay groundwork on deals, then over the course of time complete them. The Twins have a lot of roster questions right now. So I was hoping for some significant move to help fill some holes, but that does not appear likely. Another thing that does not appear likely is GM Bill Smith commenting on a potential deal. I could probably get more useful info from the housekeeping lady than him. But there have been some interesting rumors surrounding the Twins so I will offer my thoughts here:

  • The market for free agent relievers Jesse Crain and Matt Guerrier are heating up. And as Bill Smith has said this week the Twins will not go into a bidding war for them. I have gotten the impression Smith is content with going into the season with a bullpen consisting of Glen Perkins, Anthony Slama, Pat Neshek, Jose Mijares, Joe Nathan, and Matt Capps. That is nothing to be content about. Perkins has a Joe Mays ERA since 2009. Neshek has to recover arm strength following his Tommy John surgery because his fastball had issures topping 85. Slama has had a stellar minor league career but control has been a problem for him. Mijares is a solid lefty specialist but no eighth inning setup guy. Nathan is coming off Tommy John surgery and should not be expected to put up his pre-2010 numbers. And Capps is not a 1-2-3 closer, but can dilligently get the job done. I hope Bill Smith can sign at least two solid relievers to bridge the gap to the ninth.
  • Much has not happened in the negotiations for Japanese infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka, since the Twins won the rights to sign him. But after watching Oakland lose the pitcher Iwakuma because they failed to sign him by the deadline has me a bit concerned. I would like to see the Twins hammer out a deal out after the Winter Meetings end, so we don't take this to the wire. The Twins have until 11 P.M. on December 26 to get a deal done. Nishioka is reportedly wanting a 3 year deal in the area of $3 million per year.
  • With the Nishioka signing, SS J.J. Hardy has become expendable. The Twins are looking at having Alexi Casilla start next year, to help add speed up the middle. Casilla had a good 2010 season as a bench player, and when given the opportunity to start in previous seasons has struggled. So I would hate to lose a solid player like Hardy to see Casilla fail again. People are quick to point out Hardy missed lots of time in 2009 and 2010 with injuries. But if you look at his seasons before that he was a pretty healthy player. The Twins are reportedly in discussions with Baltimore about Hardy and in return the Twins would land some minor league pitchers. With the thin SS market this offseason, we can get a better return for Hardy than minor league pitchers. Try a Hardy for a solid relief pitcher deal.
  • SP Carl Pavano was in Orlando and met with the Twins and other interested teams. The Twins want Pavano back and from what I've heard, Pavano would like to return. But he is considered the second best pitcher on the market and is seeking a three year deal. I hope if the Twins do retain the 34 year old starter, they get a two year deal. Three years is overkill for a player of his age and his injury history. If a third year is a must, try a club option on the third year, first. The Twins (From what Bill Smith has reluctantly told us) are optimistic they can work something out. But Smith has also said they are content with having Francisco Liriano, Brian Duensing, Scott Baker, Nick Blackburn, and Kevin Slowey as their opening day rotation. Yikes!

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