Thursday, November 29, 2012

Adieu Denard

You've most likely heard by now that the Twins have traded center-fielder Denard Span to the Washington Nationals for RHP prospect Alex Meyer today.

Being a fan of a sports team has its downfalls. I wouldn't have much fun being a fan if I didn't get a little emotionally attached to some of the guys. The risk of that, of course, is that it's a bummer when they go away. I will certainly miss Denard.

All the things I've seen on Twitter and websites today about Alex Meyer has been positive. He's a top prospect with the potential to be a front-of-the-rotation guy. That's great for the Twins of 2015. He'll likely start 2013 in AA, and it should be fun to follow his progress. Terry Ryan stated that he still hasn't decided if he'll give Meyer an invitation to Spring Training.

Unfortunately, for casual fans who don't really follow the minor-leaguers, and maybe some hard-core fans who do, this move is less than satisfying. A popular and classy player is gone, and, so far, there hasn't been any desperately-needed improvement to the team for next season. This move kind of hurts for the time being.

Nationals fans should be pretty excited about acquiring Denard. All the national reporters are saying that he is a perfect fit into their lineup. They needed a good lead-off hitter and centerfielder (Bryce Harper will be moving to LF).

Denard should be pretty excited, too. He's now on a team that is a legitimate contender. They're a likable team that should be a factor in the playoffs for a while. I wish him all the best. Nationals fans had better take good care of him.

This apparently means the centerfield and lead-off reins are handed to Ben Revere. That's fine, I can live with that. In fact, I think he's more suited for center than left or right. But I do have an off-season assignment for him: get better at getting on base.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Quick Notes - Nov. 27

The Admitting of Errors and Omissions:
The Twins haven't really erred or omitted -- as far as I can tell -- but I have. Specifically, I've omitted (although there's a better than even chance that I've erred as well, but I'm not aware of what it is yet).

Last time, I totally forgot to mention that Alexi Casilla was claimed off waivers by the Orioles. I not only forgot this event happened, but I also forgot Alexi Casilla existed. Not to be mean or anything, but I've always had a hard time remembering that he's on the team. It's not that I don't recognize him when I see him, or know the name when I hear it. I do. But when I was challenged to name the roster, I was pretty likely to leave him off the list. And this is a guy who was with the team for six years.

This is sort of fitting, I suppose. He always would come oh-so-close to being a respectable big leaguer, but he never amounted to anything to get excited about. Sure, he'd show flashes of awesome defense, and the few hits he did get seemed to come at highly clutch times, but he didn't really impress me much.

Best of luck to him.

The Tendering of Contracts:
Teams have until 11 pm Central Time November 30 to decide if they'll offer their arbitration-eligible players contracts. The Twins players are:

  • Drew Butera
  • Brian Duensing
  • Jared Burton
I really can't envision keeping Drew Butera around with all the other catchers currently on the 40-man roster.  But it would be just like the Twins to keep him. I fully expect Burton and Duensing to be offered contracts. 

Anyone not tendered a contract will become a free agent.

The Meeting of General Managers in the Winter:
MLB's Winter Meetings will take place December 3-6 in Nashville. All the General Managers get together to talk shop, eat and drink, and maybe discuss trading players. And the media folk hang out in lobbies, hallways, elevators, and public restrooms to see if they can get a nugget of a hint of an inkling of a rumor.

In addition to the other shenanigans, the Rule 5 draft will take place on December 6. Any player who is not currently on a team's 40-man roster and who has been with his team for four or five years (depending on how old he was when he was drafted) is eligible to be drafted by other teams under Rule 5. And if a player is drafted under Rule 5, he must be on the new team's 25-man roster for the entire next season or be offered back to his original team -- or a trade could be worked out (that's what happened with Scott Diamond).

To prepare for the Rule 5 draft, the Twins added a bucket-load of players to the 40-man roster to protect them from being drafted:
  • RHP Kyle Gibson
  • RHP BJ Hermsen
  • OF Aaron Hicks
  • C Josmil Pinto
  • IF Daniel Santana
  • LHP Caleb Thielbar
  • LHP Michael Tonkin
  • RHP Tim Wood
That fills up the 40-man roster, so there's no room to add anyone should the Twins want to draft someone, unless, of course, one or more of the arbitration-eligible players above are non-tendered.

That's it for now. I think. Hmm...pretty sure I didn't forget anything. We'll see.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Quick Notes - Nov. 14

I've been out of blogging commission for a while; I've been laptopless (not to be confused with topless -- or lapless for that matter). That's been resolved, so here I am again. Not that there's much shocking news to write about, but here it is anyway.

New Guys
The Twins have added a few new players, but no one to get really excited about.

Infielder Tommy Field (yes, a fielder named Field) and right-handed pitcher Josh Roenicke were claimed off waivers. Relief pitcher Tim Wood and catcher Eric Fryer signed minor-league deals with invitations to Spring Training.

Field and Roenicke are currently on the 40-man roster, but they may be designated for assignment prior to the Rule 5 draft in December (they would have to go through waivers again in order to be assigned to AAA).

Current Guy
Samuel Deduno was outrighted to AAA. He was briefly a minor-league free agent, but he quickly re-signed a minor-league deal with an invitation to Spring Training.

Old Guys
Free agent pitcher Scott Baker signed a 1-year deal with the Cubs for $5.5 million with another $1.5 million in incentives. Baker and the Twins had been interested in a contract reunion, but they weren't close enough to get it done. Joe Christensen of the StarTribune reported that the Twins wanted an option for 2014, but Baker wanted to be a free agent again next off season. It's not often when you see the team wants more years than the player. I also think the Cubs paid more than what the Twins should have paid. Anyway, best of luck to Scott.

Former Twin and Angel Torii Hunter is back in the AL Central. He signed a nice, fat contract with the Detroit Tigers for 2 years, $26 million. Wow. I know he's a good player and all, but he's not a youngster any more. I'd wish him the best of luck, but I don't want a division rival to have any luck.

Former Twin and new Marlins manager Mike Redmond will have an interesting first season with the team. The Marlins sent away a number of their star players to the Blue Jays for cheaper players. It was a 11-player affair. I have to believe that a deal this complicated takes a long time, and it was in the works when he interviewed for the job. At least, for his sake, I hope so. Best of luck to him.

Hearty congratulations to former Twin and current Met RA Dickey for winning the NL Cy Young award. Now before Twins fans get all in a snit about how we no longer have a guy who's good enough to win the Cy Young, remember that his knuckleball was still very much a works-in-progress back in those days. In fact, when he signed with the Mets, it was a minor-league deal. At any rate, he had a great season; best of luck for next season.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Quick Notes -- Nov. 1

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:

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.