Winter Meeting Thoughts: Morales, Stuifbergen, Buehrle, Jackson, Payroll


Happy Last Day of the Winter Meetings! I know you’re all excited for the non-stop Rule V action. If you missed us yesterday, check out some of the players the Twins might be interested in. If you don’t care about Rule V, no problem. Plenty of other tidbits to go around:

Former Twins catcher Jose Morales has signed a minor league deal with the Pirates. Morales was a solid-hitting backup for the Twins in 2009, when he put up a .311 batting average in limited duty. Last year the Twins traded him to Colorado for pitcher Paul Bargas, who tragically missed the season due to brain cancer. We all know the Twins have some depth issues at catcher, so it may have been a good idea to try and bring Morales back, given that he was available so cheap. But we wish him luck with the Bucs!

Still can’t find a news report about Sir Tom Stuifbergen‘s knighthood, which is a shame. I did find one new article about him, which you can read here. I don’t think that article has anything to do with knighthood, but it did teach me a new word: Honkballer. Apparently, “Honkbal” is the Dutch word for baseball. I don’t know if there is a more awesome word in any language. I sincerely hope that Stuifbergen invents a brand new pitch some day, so we can call it the Honkball in his honor.

The Marlins signed Mark Buehrle to a $58 million contract. This is sure to dismay Twins fans for a few reasons. First, in our completely unscientific poll, Buehrle was the overwhelming among free agent pitchers that fans thought the Twins should sign, receiving 57% of the vote. Second, this is a pretty hefty contract, and it’s guaranteed to jack up the market price for all the remaining pitchers. I’ve been a big proponent of Edwin Jackson, but even I’m starting to doubt that the Twins can afford him if he wants a Buehrle-like deal. And since his agent is Scott Boras, I’m sure he will.

Still, I’m not the only one who thinks that Jackson would be a good player to sign. If you are an ESPN subscriber, check out this article from a couple weeks ago. Apparently he’s a bargain!

The Twins payroll is creeping closer to the $100 million mark. With Ryan Doumit, Jamie Carroll, and Matt Capps aboard, we’re at about $92.5 million by my count. If Michael Cuddyer signs for about $8 million per year (as of the time I’m writing this he has not), that’ll put it over $100M. So this means one of three things: either the Twins are done with the free agent market, they are going to move an expensive player like Carl Pavano, or Terry Ryan was pulling our legs about the $100 million payroll.