The Winter Meetings are over, and I have to say they were more eventful than I expected them to be. I was fully prepared to write something about how I predicted that the Twins never do anything during the Winter Meetings, even when they're trying to trade Johan Santana. Boy, do I wish I could've written that.
The Twins traded JJ Hardy, Brendan Harris, and cash to the Baltimore Orioles for ... wait ... who were those guys again. I don't know, a couple minor league pitchers. Hang on a sec.... Oh yeah, James Hoey and Brett Jacobson. Word has it that Hoey could break into the bullpen in 2011, but Jacobson is strictly a prospect at this point. Both are known for throwing heat but struggle with control.
The Twins must be confident they'll sign Japanese player Tsuyoshi Nishioka or else they would've held on to Hardy at least a little longer. The organization claims they made the trade because they wanted more speed in the lineup; not very many fans buy that. Many fans believe it was a salary-dump -- Hardy was arbitration-eligible and will make as much at $5 mil in 2011.
Let me just say that I hate this trade, salary-dump or not. I'm not a fan of the current middle-infield picture -- Casilla, Tolbert, Plouffe, Hughes make for slim pickings and probably a lot of fan eye-rolling. And adding Nishioka doesn't ease my mind much; being good in Japanese ball doesn't always translate into being good in the MLB.
I'm also mad that, if they did have to trade JJ, that's really all they could get for him? He's a damn fine shortstop, I think if the Twins had held on a bit, they could've gotten a better deal. Plus, he's just one of those players I like -- he might not be a superstar, but he did his job, made some nice plays, and seemed like a good guy. I'll miss him. I wish both JJ and Brendan the best with the Orioles -- good luck facing the Yankees and Red Sox 157 times a year. The cash will do well no matter who it faces.
With all that being said however, I don't think this trade is a huge blow to the team. If the Twins can use that saved money to sign a decent starting pitcher or some reliable bullpen help, everything will be ok.
The Rule 5 Draft took place on the final day of the Winter Meetings. This is where teams can window shop the other teams and select players not on a 40-man roster. The catch is that if a team selects a player, it must put him on the big league active roster the entire next season or he must be returned to his original team (or the two teams could work out a trade).
The Twins selected LHP Scott Diamond from the Braves organization. We'll likely see him in the bullpen.
I swear, if he chooses "Sweet Caroline", or any other Neil Diamond song for that matter, as his walk-out music, I'll puke.
The Twins didn't lose anyone in the Rule 5 Draft.
I know this is a baseball blog, but I can't let the popping of the Metrodome on Sunday go unmentioned. After all, it is the old neighborhood of the Twins.
I'm sure many of you saw what happened to the roof. It's very fortunate that no one was hurt; on Saturday there were workers on the roof shoveling it off, but they called it off due to dangerous wind and cold. It would've been tragic if those workers were still up there when the Teflon tore.
In case you didn't see it, or if you want to see it again, here:
I hope they can get it fixed soon. There's another Vikings game scheduled for a week from Monday; I'd hate to have them play in a neutral site two consecutive weeks.
I know you're dying to know how I've been spending my time now that there's no baseball. Crocheting. Lots and lots of crocheting. In addition to scarf-zilla, I've made another scarf (normal-sized), three hats, and 30 smallish things that I'll pair up and give as gifts. Thirty. I'd divulge more, but my mom reads this blog and she's going to get one of those gifts whether she wants one or not (hi mom!). So will just about everyone I've ever met.
I need baseball to come back soon.