General managers from around baseball are gathering today in Florida to light the proverbial pilot light on the Hot Stove.
There will naturally be a lot of discussion abound, and a trade or two being made over the next few days isn’t out of the realm of possibility. The recent Mariners-Rays six-player trade marked a very early start to the dealing season, and it could put pressure on a few teams to get what they want early.
From the Minnesota Twins’ perspective Trevor Plouffe trade talk would expect to top the dockett. Ryan told Darren Wolfson that he knows which teams he matches up with. Shopping around Ricky Nolasco would also make sense in a dual contract dump situation.
Twins Daily speculated on the Plouffe market and named the Braves, Brewers, Padres and White Sox. I’m souring on the Brewers, even if Adam Lind is involved, because it wouldn’t be much of a cost savings to a team looking to rebuild. Atlanta makes a little more sense, but they are carrying Cuban star Hector Olivera. Out of that list, San Diego makes the most sense to me.
They list 26-year-old catcher Derek Norris as a possible return piece for Plouffe and Jorge Polanco, which is plausible. Norris enters his first year of arbitration so Polanco’s existence in a deal gives the Padres a long-term, cheap option, and a much needed shortstop piece.
I would add the Pirates and Cardinals to the list, who would look at getting Plouffe playing time from right side at first base, as Pedro Alvarez and Matt Adams haven’t progressed beyond left-handed platoon opportunities for their respective teams. St. Louis might be in on Chris Davis in free agency or another full-time solution, but they’re the type of team where a moderate bat like Plouffe fits, and shines in no time.
I have doubts on a Plouffe deal happening so soon, but Ryan can get a nice measurement on where the market is at for him. At a projected $7.7 million in arbitration this season, he’s pretty inexpensive for a number of teams looking.
Other Twins news and notes:
Joe Mauer told the St. Paul Pioneer Press that he wants to keep playing “as long as I can.” His comment was in reference to his age (36) at the end of his current deal in 2018. Mauer has experienced a sharp declines in recent years, posting the worst offensive season of his career last year. A franchise icon, his contract negotiations after 2018 could end up looking like those of Derek Jeter late in his career, minus the national drama.
Ryan spoke to the Star Tribune about upgrading behind the plate and in the bullpen. More specifically, he wants to take some of the load of Kurt Suzuki, who after a brilliant 2014, was a disappointment last year. A.J. Pierzynski seems to the top the options, though the Twins have been linked to Matt Wieters on a lesser frequency basis. Per the bullpen, he said “missing bats” would nice to have. I have speculated the Twins could be in on Ryan Madson, Tony Sipp or Antonio Bastardo in free agency, with an eye on Nick Burdi and Jake Reed‘s progression in the minors.