Congratulations to the San Francisco Giants for winning the World Series. I'm sure I wasn't the only one who was surprised that the Tigers weren't able to make a better series out it, especially after they mopped up the Yankees so handily. But it's just as well; the weather wouldn't have cooperated in Detroit for a game 5. Silly old Sandy.
Now that the World Series is over, players who qualify have become free agents. Friday at 11 pm Central time is the deadline for the former teams to have exclusive negotiating rights with free agents. After that time, the players may discuss contracts with any team.
Teams won't get an additional draft pick if their former players sign with other teams unless they offer a qualifying one-year deal first. The dollar amount for the qualifying deal is the average of the top 125 salaries in MLB. That wound up being higher than expected -- originally it was believed to be about $12.5 million; turns out it's something like $13 million. This qualifying offer thing doesn't affect the Twins at all.
The Twins free agents are Carl Pavano, Matt Capps, and Scott Baker.
Carl Pavano pitched in only 11 games in 2012 due to a bum shoulder. Too bad, too. Just when everyone started believing he could be durable (after two-plus solid years for the Twins), he's not any more. I haven't heard any indications that the Twins are interested in re-signing him. I did, however, see on some lame rumor site that "sports talkers in the Twin Cities have been speculating that Pavano is planning to hang up his glove this winter...." Ok, I had not heard that at all; I guess I don't listen to the right "sports talkers." While I wouldn't be terribly surprised if Pavano does retire, I'm not going to rely on some South Florida gossip monger to give me reliable baseball news. Here's the link to the site: http://gossipextra.com/2012/10/25/carl-pavano-florida-house-1952/
Matt Capps had a $6 million team option, but the Twins declined it and paid him a $250,000 buyout. Capps' 2 1/2 years in Minnesota didn't go as well as everyone had hoped due to injury and ineffectiveness. He's not a horrible pitcher, but he just isn't a good closer. He seemed like a really nice guy; I hope he hooks on with another team.
Scott Baker had a $9.25 million team option, but the Twins declined it. There was no buyout. However, the scuttlebutt around town is that both Baker and the Twins are interested in hashing out a deal that would be less money but a lot of incentives. Baker missed all of 2012 due to surprise Tommy John surgery (the surgery wasn't the surprise, the fact that it had to be ligament replacement was). I'd be cool with him coming back.
The Twins are preparing their 40-man roster for the off-season; a bunch of guys got outrighted right off of it. Matt Carson, Carlos Gutierrez, Jeff Manship, Luis Perdomo, Esmerling Vasquez, Kyle Waldrop, and PJ Walters were designated for assignment to the minor leagues.
The players have to pass through waivers, and Gutierrez didn't clear; the Chicago Cubs claimed him. So he's gone.
Players with a certain amount of service time may decline the assignment, thereby becoming minor-league free agents. Walters did just that, but then he turned right around and re-signed a minor-league deal with an invitation to Spring Training. I don't really get why he declined a minor-league assignment just to re-sign a minor-league contract, but I guess the new deal is better somehow.
The Twins announced their 2012 Diamond Awards. Josh Willingham was named Twins MVP, Scott Diamond was named Pitcher of the Year and Outstanding Rookie, and Ben Revere was named Best Defensive Player and Most Improved. I figured that Joe Mauer was the more valuable player, but I don't have a problem with Willinghammer winning it. He had pretty good numbers, and I really like him. So, good for these guys for being the few bright spots in a dim season.
Hearty congratulations to our old friend Mike Redmond. He's just been hired as the manager of the Miami Marlins, replacing Ozzie Guillen. I'm so happy for Red-dog. I really miss his personality around the Twins team. I'm glad he can take his legendary "naked walkabout" to bigger and better clubhouses.
Way to go, Mike. Smell 'em.