December 5, 2011

Winter Meetings: Day 1

This weekend was devoid of Twins news, but with the annual winter meetings starting today in Dallas and every general manager in the same hotel it should be a very busy week across MLB. I'll be posting any interesting Twins-related speculation here throughout the day, with full write-ups of any deals they make, but if you want non-stop coverage of rumors, trades, and signings check out Hardball Talk for my analysis and Craig Calcaterra reporting from Dallas.

Hardball Talk on NBCSports.com

And of course you can follow me on Twitter for notes, snark, and links all day. It should be fun.

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9:45 AM: Phil Mackey of 1500-ESPN says the Twins continue to focus on re-signing Michael Cuddyer and Darren Wolfson of KSTP-TV reports that they haven't even set up a face-to-face meeting with outfield alternative Josh Willingham.

10:15 AM: LaVelle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune adds in that "agents now are speculating that Cuddyer will end up back with the Twins" and it may only require a two-year contract because the market for him has been less than expected.

11:00 AM: On the other hand, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports that the Twins are among nine teams to "have called on" Willingham.

12:45 PM: Twins farm director Jim Rantz told Mel Antonen of USA Today that Chris Parmelee "still needs a year at Triple-A" despite his impressive September showing in Minnesota.

1:10 PM: Jayson Stark of ESPN reports that the Twins have asked the Rangers about David Murphy, presumably as a left-handed-hitting replacement for Jason Kubel.

1:30 PM: Not exactly a big move, but the Twins claimed 24-year-old shortstop Pedro Florimon off waivers from the Orioles. He hit .267/.344/.396 with eight homers and a 114/51 K/BB ratio in 133 games at Double-A in what was the best year of his career. He's a utility man at best.

2:35 PM: According to Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com the Twins are "tentatively scheduled" to meet with Willingham's agent Thursday "if the club doesn't reach a deal with Cuddyer" first.

3:20 PM: Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes has the Twins among five teams interested in free agent Carlos Guillen.

3:45 PM: Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Twins joined the Marlins, Rangers, and Nationals in making an offer to Mark Buehrle, but adds that their offer is "not as strong."

5:50 PM: No word yet on the money, but Matt Capps re-signed with the Twins for a one-year deal with an option for 2013.

8:15 PM: Capps gets $4.5 million for 2012 and $6 million or a $250,000 buyout for 2013. Much more later, but for now: Yuck.

December 7, 2010

Winter meetings rumblings: Nishioka, Hardy, Uehara, Thome, and Pavano

I'm not at the winter meetings this year, but my blog-mate Craig Calcaterra is on the scene in Orlando writing lots of good stuff on Hardball Talk and after Day 1 there are even some Twins-related rumblings worth noting ...

Bill Smith met yesterday afternoon with Tsuyoshi Nishioka's agent for the first time and Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse reports that the Twins have offered the Japanese infielder a three-year deal worth $9-$10 million. Last week I crunched some numbers on previous Japanese players signing with MLB teams and concluded: "Based on those precedents ... a three-year deal for around $9 million seems likely." Not bad. Now he just needs to accept the offer.

J.J. Hardy's status remains up in the air, but I expect his situation to come into focus quickly once Nishioka signs. My hope is still that the Twins keep both players and use Alexi Casilla in a utility role, but as many as six teams have reportedly expressed interest in trading for Hardy and if the Twins are going to move him they'll want to do so before the shortstop market gets settled. Right now I'd probably bet on Hardy being traded for bullpen help.

• Speaking of which, according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun the Twins are among six teams to express interest in free agent reliever Koji Uehara. A month ago I examined low-cost bullpen options and put Uehara atop the list of my recommended targets, suggesting that he'd "make an ideal setup man" if "available for a reasonable one-year contract." With at least five other teams bidding that may prove difficult, but it's nice to hear the Twins like him too.

• Last week Jim Thome's agent reiterated that he planned to play in 2011 at age 40 and now the future Hall of Famer told Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com that he wants to play two more seasons. Thome called the Twins "an awesome organization" and "a wonderful place to play," but stopped short of saying he planned to re-sign. According to Rosenthal, agent Pat Rooney "has received calls from multiple teams expressing interest."

• Smith told ESPN1500.com's Phil Mackey that he hasn't ruled out re-signing Carl Pavano, but given various reports of heavy interest from several teams and speculation about three-year offers his returning to Minnesota seems highly unlikely. Making a three-season commitment to Pavano would be a mistake, so hopefully the Twins will be content to let the 34-year-old right-hander walk and take the compensatory draft picks.

Brian Fuentes is drawing interest from multiple teams, including the Red Sox, and is said to be seeking $6-$8 million per season in a multi-year deal. There's no indication that the Twins are in the mix to re-sign him and by not offering Fuentes arbitration they forfeit compensation for the Type B free agent signing elsewhere.

• After sitting out this season following his third back surgery in three years Joe Crede is now attempting a comeback.

Ron Mahay is reportedly drawing interest from the Red Sox and Mets.

• I'm slated to be the guest on Seth Stohs' podcast tonight, starting at 10:00 p.m.