Well, it's here...it's finally here. The end of the long dark offseason is finally here! Pitchers and catchers have reported to Florida, and the position players continue streaming in. Sure, they're not really playing games. Sure, they won't start playing games for another two weeks. Sure, those games in two weeks won't count. Sure, games that actually count won't start for another six weeks or so. But, yup, guys whom I admire are doing baseball-related activities in the warm sun. It's the beginning of the end.
It's great to see the accounts and pictures from the beat writers who are there. It's interesting to see how Nishioka's getting along. I guess he grunts as he swings a bat, and he fields grounders one-handed. But it's most interesting hearing about the Japanese media circus that's following him. I'm curious if that'll keep up and whether all these reporters will be an intrusion to the other players. It'll be different, but I'm sure it'll be fine.
The Twins avoided arbitration with all their eligible players by coming to terms with both Francisco Liriano and Delmon Young recently.
Liriano signed a one-year deal for $4.3 million, which is the halfway point between his and the team's offers. Joe Christensen of the StarTribune indicated that the Twins aren't necessarily interested in signing him long-term. This news started a tempest in the Twitter and blogging worlds. One would've thought he was about to be traded to the White Sox.
I'm going out on a limb and state that I don't think the Twins will trade him in the near future; he's still under team control for a couple more years. With that being said, I'm also sure that if Bill Smith gets a phone call, he'll answer it. I'm also going out on a limb and state that I don't think that he and the Twins are a perfect match. Yes, I know he's immensely talented, but I just get the feeling that he and the front office personnel don't always see eye-to-eye. For example, he just recently received an MRI for a sore shoulder without contacting the Twins first. This after he pretty much got his Tommy John surgery behind the Twins' back. And now, LaVelle Neil reports that Liriano admitted that he didn't do his proper conditioning this off-season. This kind of lack of communication and stubbornness is a sure recipe for getting traded (see: Garza, Matt). So, while I hope they don't trade him, I wouldn't be surprised if they do. If they do, however, I certainly hope they get a haul for him; he's worth it.
Delmon signed for one year at $5.375, which is less than the halfway point of his and the Twins' numbers. I find it interesting that he accepted less. It makes me wonder if perhaps there were some incentives included. Or, and I'm just throwing this out there, perhaps there was a promise of further negotiations once spring training starts for a long-term contract. Or, maybe he was tired of the whole thing, said "screw it," and signed so he could worry about getting ready for the season.
I tell ya', we're all getting ready for the season.