Day 2 of MLB’s Winter Meetings is in the books, and the Minnesota Twins have yet to complete a trade or sign a player during the annual event. The Twins definitely need to acquire several starting pitchers, but one shouldn’t confuse a lack of results (so far) with a lack of action.
One free agent seems to be stalling the signing process for a lot of teams. Zack Greinke, considered to be the top FA starter on the market, has yet to sign a deal. Until he does, most FA starters and the many teams in search of starting pitching are holding their breath to see the terms of Greinke’s multi-year deal. Not everyone is waiting; the National signed Dan Haren to a one-year deal, pending a physical. However, most pitchers expected to sign multi-year deals are still unsigned, awaiting the answer to the question, “What Will Greinke Do?”
Another Hometown Hero for the Twins?
Twins GM Terry Ryan has made it known that the team expects more from third baseman Trevor Plouffe, and the Twins hope to light a fire under him by making him compete for his job next year. Darren Wolfson of KSTP has been tweeting all week that Minnesota native Jack Hannahan is a strong candidate. Late on Day 2, Wolfson updated:
— Darren Wolfson (@DarrenWolfson) December 5, 2012
After Ryan has made it clear that the Twins are saving every penny they can for starting pitching, Hannahan could certainly be an affordable option. His 2012 salary was just over $1.1 million. While certainly not a make or break signing for the Twins, the local connection at least adds a little spice to what has been a bland beginning to the Twins’ Winter Meetings activity.
The Curious Case of Manager Ron Gardenhire
One of the most intriguing points I came across today was on the Tom Pelissero show on 1500espn.com. Phil Mackey called in from the hotel in Nashville and discussed a press conference from earlier in the day that included Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. 2013 is the final year on Garenhire’s contract, and Gardy has freely admitted he hasn’t earned an extension. While the Twins aren’t using the word “rebuilding”, the Span-for-Meyer trade makes more sense for a team that is looking to lead the division in 2-3 years, not for a team hoping to compete for the division title this coming season. Mackey pointed out the awkward situation Gardenhire is in: the teams’s 2013 performance will make or break whether Gardenhire is offered another contract with the Twins, but it appears the GM isn’t focusing money and time on transactions that will significantly improve what Gardenhire has to work with. I wouldn’t want to be in Gardy’s shoes this season.
So…will the Twins make a move before the meetings end?
My personal guess is that yes, the Twins will walk away with at least one of the four open spots on their 40-man roster filled. However, I think the most likely source isn’t a trade or a FA signing. Given the Twins’ need to maximize their budget and the price pitchers have been commanding, there is a good chance that Terry Ryan intends to mine a hidden gem in the Rule 5 draft. I’m pretty sure you won’t be able to hear the crickets on Thursday morning when the bargain shopping begins.