December 9, 2009
Twins Notes: DeRosa, Kouzmanoff, Bonser, and Hawkins
LaVelle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that the Twins haven't been in contact with Orlando Hudson's agent, which rules out one of my favorite potential targets, and they've also not really been linked to Felipe Lopez or Adrian Beltre. Instead they're mostly said to be pursuing Mark DeRosa or Kevin Kouzmanoff. Last month DeRosa was part of my article on realistic free agent options for third base, but if reports that he's seeking a three-year deal prove accurate the Twins should stay away.
It sounds like the Twins offered Glen Perkins for Kouzmanoff, but the Padres wanted a second player to sweeten the deal. I'm not a big Kouzmanoff fan because he's an extreme free-swinger whose glove is overrated due to a low error total this year, but calling the majors' most pitcher-friendly ballpark home makes him a better hitter than his modest raw numbers suggest. He's batted .285/.327/.474 away from home and does play solid defense, which is probably worth more than just Perkins at this point.
In order to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Carl Pavano following his arbitration acceptance the Twins designated Boof Bonser for assignment. Bonser pitched his way out of the rotation in 2008 and then missed all of this year following shoulder surgery, but would have been in line for a small raise via arbitration. Rather than risk having to pay Bonser about $1 million after arbitration, the Twins reportedly offered him a one-year deal for close to the minimum salary and then cut him loose when he declined.
There's still a chance that the Twins could work out a trade for Bonser, but if not they'll end up simply releasing him this weekend. Bonser is a 28-year-old with a 5.12 career ERA coming off major surgery, so it's tough to blame the Twins too much for cutting bat. With that said, after moving to the bullpen and prior to the injury he showed some potential as a reliever, posting a 55-to-16 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 52 innings. They could have made room for Pavano and kept Bonser around by cutting Bobby Keppel.
UPDATE: Bonser has been traded to the Red Sox for a player to be named later or cash.
My blogmate Craig Calcaterra broke the news that Rich Harden is signing with Texas, so he can be crossed off the Twins' list now (if he was ever on it). Harden will reportedly get $7.5 million for 2010 and the Rangers will have an $11.5 million option for 2011, which is an excellent deal for Texas if you agree with me that the Twins did well to bring back Pavano for what will likely be about $7 million. Harden has significantly more upside than Pavano with a similar injury history.
On the other hand, I'll happily take Pavano for one year and around $7 million over Randy Wolf for three years and $30 million, which is what he got from the Brewers yesterday. Pavano tossed 199.1 innings with a 4.17 xFIP this season, while Wolf had a 4.28 xFIP in 214.1 innings. Pavano missed most of 2008 while Wolf logged 190 innings with a 4.49 xFIP, but in terms of staying healthy Wolf failed to pitch even 150 innings in any year from 2004-2007 due to assorted arm problems and they're both born in 1976.
BizOfBaseball.com's Maury Brown reports that all but two of the 30 major-league teams use some level of sabermetric, analytical analysis within the front office. Brown didn't name names, but the Twins are almost certainly one of them. Less than a year ago assistant general manager Rob Antony told me that the Twins "do not have a department devoted to statistical analysis" or employ those type of tools.
Brad Thomas was one of the Twins' best pitching prospects about a decade ago, going 10-3 with a 1.96 ERA at Double-A in 2001 while also pitching in the Futures Game and making his MLB debut. He was awful in the majors, allowing 26 runs in 23.2 innings spread over various brief stints in Minnesota, and has spent the past five years pitching in Japan and Korea. All of which is suddenly relevant again because Thomas has signed with the Tigers and will compete for a bullpen job in spring training.
Speaking of former Twins, yesterday LaTroy Hawkins inked a two-year, $7.5 million contract with the Brewers. Since leaving Minnesota six seasons ago Hawkins has a 3.35 ERA in 379 innings, including just one year with an ERA not in the 2.00s or 3.00s. And while he was one of the worst starting pitchers of all time early in his 15-year career, Hawkins has a 3.29 ERA in 655 relief appearances.
This morning's Rule 5 draft more or less marks the end of the winter meetings, but we'll be covering any remaining action over at Circling the Bases and you can also follow along via my Twitter page.
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