September 13, 2007. Mandatory Credit: Janet Hostetter – AP Photo
Highlighted by Denard Span being traded to the Nationals, there hasn’t been much of anything to give Twins fans any glimmer of hope for the 2013 season.
Hope. Hope is a strong word. To quote Red from the Shawshank Redemption: “I find I’m so excited, I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it’s the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain. I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope.”
Aside from being a free man and what not, Red may as well talk about how many Twins fans alike are feeling prior to tomorrow’s start of the 2012 Major League Baseball Winter Meetings.
So why is it that this is a time Twins Territory should be looking forward to?
Baseball executives from each team will be in attendance with one goal in mind: to improve the 2013 ball club. There will be free agent signings. There will be trades. The hope, however, is that Twins General Manager Terry Ryan is among one of the more active at the meetings.
There is hope that Terry Ryan can make an acquisition. Even if it doesn’t guarantee a playoff berth, or a winning season. Ryan needs to fulfill the hope of Twins fans, he needs to give Twins Territory and the state of Minnesota a reason to be excited. This can’t be accomplished by trading a fan-favorite center fielder. Not for a prospect who hasn’t pitched above A ball. Don’t get me wrong – Alex Meyer is a stud and he should help this club when he is primed and ready. Just not right now. Not for 2013.
So what can Terry Ryan do to fulfill this hope? It’s no secret that the Twins biggest need this offseason is starting pitching. He’ll sign somebody. Ryan and the Twins must know that they need to leave with hope.
Disclaimer: Please don’t expect the Twins brass to leave Nashville with a team ready to win the World Series.
What you can expect, however is the Twins to be front and center with the rumors. I, for one, am looking forward to mumblings and rumblings on Twitter all week.
Even if no major names are part of the roster at the conclusion of the week, it doesn’t mean it’s an absolute failure. The Winter Meetings don’t serve as the only opportunity to pull the trigger on a free agent or trade.
This is why they are called the Winter Meetings, and not “Baseball trade, sign and acquire week.” Ryan is sure to meet with every agent of every pitcher. And, at least, every agent should meet with Ryan, knowing how pitching starved this team is right now. At the very least, discussions will be forming between the Twins and many agents, and potentially some trade discussions as well.
Don’t look for trades, though. At least not this week. Now that Span has been traded, the Twins are focused on looking at the free agent pool.
Terry Ryan should be like a kid in a candy store this week. A kid who’s just got a big allowance. At least with somewhere in the range of $20-30 million, that is certainly the hope.
The Twins have never been big on openly discussing who they’ve been talking with, dollar amounts or years involved. With the amount of media staying at the Gaylord Opryland and Resort, that should hopefully change this week.
Even with the very little we do know, the Twins have been linked to Brett Myers, Francisco Liriano, and recently Ryan Dempster. Guys like Joe Saunders, Brandon McCarthy, Joe Blanton and Jair Jurrjens could also end up in the Twins price range. There is even the possibility of low-cost, high-reward type guys like Rich Harden or 2003 CY Young winner Brandon Webb.
Will Terry Ryan come away with one, or even a few of those names? I don’t know. Just like the rest of Twins Territory, I only hope.