The annual Baseball Winter Meetings took place this past week in Orlando, FL. While there were no major signings by the Twins during the meetings, Terry Ryan and his staff were quite active checking in on various players, which led to a few contracts over the weekend and a whole lot of rumors. Let’s review:
- The Twins and former outfielder Jason Kubel agreed to a minor league deal with an invite to MLB camp. My hunch is that Kubel makes the roster out of Spring Training and platoons as a DH and a bat off the bench. Kubel, 31, returns after two years away.
- The Twins are also bringing back Mike Pelfrey on a 2-year pact worth $11 million. According to reports, the deal also has up to 3.5 million in incentives. Pelfrey, 29, had a horrid season last year in Minnesota, his first after Tommy John surgery, going 5-13 with a 5.19 ERA. However, most pitchers have more success in their 2nd year removed from surgery, and Pelfrey claims he can and will be better. Let’s judge this signing a year from now.
- The Twins signed independent ball star C.J. Ziegler. Ziegler, 28, hit .318/.408/.645 with 30 HR and 99 RBI in 100 games for the Wichita Wingnuts in 2013. The large first baseman is signed to a minor league deal.
- Liam Hendriks, who was DFA’d by the team last week, was claimed off waivers by the Cubs. Hendriks hasn’t had much success at the Major League level, but there is still time for the Aussie to prove himself. He’ll be 25 to start the season, and he should fare better in the NL. Best of luck, Liam.
- Tickets for Twinsfest went on sale this week. The annual event, held January 24-26 at Target Field, features many players: current, former and future. Among those attending will be: Joe Mauer, Ricky Nolasco, Phil Hughes, Byron Buxton, Alex Meyer, Jason Bartlett, Ron Gardenhire, Jason Kubel, Paul Molitor, Brian Dozier, Jose Berrios, Rod Carew, Mudcat Grant, Trevor Plouffe, Glen Perkins, plus many more. For a full lineup of featured players on each day, check out Mike Berardino’s coverage of the event here.
Hot Stove Update
- Even after the signing of Pelfrey, the Twins have not ruled out adding a 4th starting pitcher. They’re still heavily connected to Bronson Arroyo and Matt Garza, though it seems as if the Twins are unwilling to go 4-5 years for Garza, which is understandable. My guess on the hold up with Arroyo is the amount of years as well. Both Arroyo and Garza are willing to pitch in Minnesota. The team has also been connected to Chris Capuano, Paul Maholm and Johan Santana this week. Another interesting name connected with Minnesota last week: Matt Guerrier.
- The Twins were said to be connected to Rajai Davis before he signed a deal with the Tigers. They were also said to have been in on Bartolo Colon before he signed an agreement with the Mets. Gavin Floyd, who has also been connected to Minnesota, will sign with the Braves.
- The team is rumored to be interested in Stephen Drew at shortstop. The idea of Drew is certainly intriguing; he’d be a clear offensive upgrade over current starter Pedro Florimon. On the catching front, Kurt Suzuki is the latest name to pop up concerning the Twins. The team is also still connected to John Buck. Honestly, I’m beginning to think the best move is to see what Josmil Pinto can do and let Ryan Doumit be the back up if needed. Spend the money on Drew.
Former Twins Elsewhere
- Former utility man Jamey Carroll is getting plenty of interest, according to high school senior Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish. Cotillo cites the Rangers, Rays and Indians as potential landing spots for Carroll.
- Justin Morneau’s deal in Colorado is official. Good for him and best of luck.
- Former catcher Matthew LeCroy was named the bullpen coach for the Nationals.
- Ron Coomer, who’s been a TV analyst for the Twins on FSN North, will be joining the radio booth for the Chicago Cubs. Looking forward to hearing him make calls. He played for the Cubs in 2001.
- Orlando Hudson is attempting a comeback at 36. He’s signed a deal in the Mexican Winter League.
- Juan Rincon was at the Winter Meetings, looking for a job.
- David Ortiz and the Red Sox are working on a contract extension. Oh, What could’ve been.
It will be interesting to see the development of a lot of the rumors this coming week. Will the Twins make a move? I can’t see it happening this week. If it does, we’ll have it covered here on the Pond. I think the Twins could be done on the pitching front; it has to absolutely be the right situation on Garza or Arroyo. I still think Johan gets a serious look, but not for a few weeks. The Twins will likely add offense next. We’ll see.