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The Minnesota Twins officially can stop worrying about arbitration as they've finally signed their last candidate in Alexi Casilla. The Twins announced on Wednesday that they had agreed to a one year, $1,382,500 contract for 2012.
The 27 year old Dominican infielder batted an average but above average career-wise .260 in 2011 for the Twins in 97 games played, alongside slugging two home runs and collecting a handful of doubles and triples. This will be his sixth year with the Twins organization's top club, having joined the Twins originally in September of 2006. He will likely continue to play his usual role of utility player for the Twins.
Casilla was the third and final arby candidate for the Twins in the 2011/2012 offseason.
It seems a bit early to talk about Major League Baseball's opening day, but that's exactly what Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire decided to do this week. When asked about the pitching rotation, Gardenhire said he's already decided the starting pitchers for the first two games of the season.
Gardenhire will start Carl Pavano in the team's first game of the season, scheduled to take place on Apr. 6 against the Baltimore Ooriles, the manager told Charley Waters of the Pioneer Press. Gardenhire also said Scott Baker will start the team's home opener when the Twins host the Los Angeles Angels on Apr. 9 at Target Field.
The Twins will open their Spring Training on Feb. 18 -- 13 days before their exhibition schedule begins -- as Gardenhire attempts to iron out some kinks that were all too evident last season.
"But the extra days are important to reinforce and work more than one day on certain things. We're going to do a few more drills (when) we're on the field - cutoffs, relays, baserunning. We're really going to pound that into their heads. It's all about details and paying attention."
For more on the Twins, check out Twinkie Town.
The Minnesota Twins nearly waited until the final buzzer before agreeing to deals with two of their pitchers prior to the MLB's annual arbitration period. The front office got it done, however, as they signed Francisco Liriano and Glen Perkins before things got messy.
The Twins announced both of the deals on Tuesday and, according to the team's website, Liriano will make $5.5 million in 2012 while Perkins earns $1.55 million for his efforts. It's a bit surprising considering both players struggled last season, but it does seem to be a better option than the crapshoot that can be arbitration.
Minnesota isn't in the clear quite yet, however, as they still have an infielder to agree with before arbitration officially begins on Feb. 1.
The lone Twins player eligible for arbitration who remains unsigned is second baseman Alexi Casilla. Casilla, 27, filed his arbitration figure at $1.75 million, while the Twins offered $1.065 million.
Casilla, who batted .260 with a .322 on-base percentage and .368 slugging percentage in 97 games in 2011, made $865,000 last year.
The Minnesota Twins signed relief pitcher Joel Zumaya to a one-year, incentive-laden contract on Sunday. The reason that it's so incentive-laden is because Zumaya, to put it mildly, has a bit of an injury history. Not all of those injuries have been pitching-related, however.
In the months after the 2007 season, Zumaya injured his shoulder while helping his father move boxes out of his attic because a fire was approaching the area. A box weighing 50 or 60 pounds fell on his pitching shoulder, separating it and keeping him out until late June of 2008.
But the most infamous of Zumaya's injuries would have to be the one that sidelined him for the 2006 American League Championship Series with a sore wrist. The nature of the injury wasn't revealed at the time, but Detroit Tigers' General Manager Dave Dombrowski disclosed during an off-season interview that the source of Zumaya's injuries was. . .that he played too much of the PlayStation 2 game Guitar Hero, causing the injury to his wrist.
To his credit, the injury did get Zumaya a spot. . .sort of. . .in the XBox 360 version of Guitar Hero II, where the credits contained the following message:
No pitchers were harmed in the making of this game. Except for one. Joel Zumaya. He had it coming.
So maybe the best thing for Zumaya now that he's a member of the Twins would be to keep him away from the PlayStation and putting a clause in his contract prohibiting him from helping people move or something.
Free agent flame thrower, Joel Zumaya, who has battled an array of arm injuries since making his MLB debut in 2006, has agreed to join his former team's biggest rival in the Central Division, the Minnesota Twins:
After throwing for teams in December and holding out for a roster spot and the right situation, Zumaya has agreed to terms with the Minnesota Twins, the reliever told MLB.com. The two sides spent Saturday putting together a deal that could pay him anywhere from $800,000 to $1.7 million if he reaches incentives.
A Twins official would neither confirm nor deny the deal to MLB.com, but said they’ve been in negotiations since December.
Zumaya weighed what he called "good offers" from three other clubs, but the Twins included guaranteed money rather than a minor-league deal with a Spring Training invite.
Zumaya's last pitch was in a Tigers uniform at Target Field where he fractured his elbow on a pitch in June 2010. Zumaya made attempts to pitch last season, but the screws that were placed in his elbow were causing discomfort and ultimately shut him down for the season. If healthy, he's amongst the elite, but he's rarely been the former. Before being injured in 2010 he had 34 strike outs in over 38 innings and a 2.58 ERA.
The Minnesota Twins announced that they will have 25 extra players that aren't currently on the roster in training camp when Spring Training opens up in Fort Meyers, Fla., next month. There aren't a lot of big name prospects, but the most familiar faces are probably going to be the special instructors in Florida to help out.
Twins announced Eddie Guardado, Tom Kelly, Tony Oliva, Paul Molitor, Rod Carew, Jim Kaat and Terry Steinbach will all be in Fort Meyers when training camp kicks off on Feb. 18 to help coach the following prospects:
There will be 10 non-roster pitchers, including left-hander Phil Dumatrait, who split the 2011 season between Minnesota and Triple-A Rochester. Other pitchers include Jason Bulger, Jared Burton, Samuel Deduno, Casey Fien, Luis Perdomo, Daryl Thompson, P.J. Walters and Brendan Wise.
The Minnesota Twins did indeed reach a deal with veteran right-handed pitcher Jason Marquis, according to Jon Morosi on Twitter. After new broke that the two were close to getting a deal done, it looks like the two agreed to terms early Thursday on a one-year, $3 million deal. He's 33 years-old and a 12-year man in the MLB. Last season, he went 8-5 with the Washington Nationals a season ago before being traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks, where he hit a definite slump.
With Arizona, he went 0-1 with a 9.53 earned-run average in three starts, and then missed nearly two months at the end of the season with a broken right fibula after being hit with a line drive. His best season was back in 2004, when he went 15-7 with a 3.71 ERA, and he's never pitched in the American League.
Jason Marquis, a steady veteran right-handed pitcher that has spent his entire career in the National League, is reportedly close to a deal with the Minnesota Twins. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune is reporting that Marquis, who played for Arizona and Washington last season, is close to joining the Twins:
Marquis' best season was 2004 with St. Louis, when he went 15-7, 3.71. He never has pitched in the American League. His fastball, according to fangraphs.com, averaged 89.3 miles per hour last season, but he's avoided giving up a lot of homers in recent seasons.
Marquis has a career 104-98 record and was 8-6 last season combined with Washington and Arizona. Marquis has also pitched for Atlanta, Colorado, and the Chicago Cubs. He has an 0-2 record in the postseason, but has helped his team reach the playoffs in five different years. The 12 year veteran has 267 career Major League starts in his career.
Jason Kubel played seven seasons with the Minnesota Twins, but an end of an era came over the weekend as the veteran slugger decided to sign with the Arizona Diamondbacks. It's unclear what Minnesota's front office was offering the South Dakota native, but it apparently wasn't enough.
Or, according to SB Nation's Rob Neyer, maybe the Diamondbacks offered Kubel too much.
The Diamondbacks are reportedly doing to pay Kubel $7.5 million per season in each of the next two seasons. He's been a major leaguer for five seasons, 2007-2011. According to FanGraphs, Kubel's been worth roughly $2.5 million per season. He'll be 30 next May. The Diamondbacks have a left fielder who's been worth roughly $8 million per season over the last two seasons, and who will be 25 next May.
Is Kubel capable of playing well enough to deserve $7.5 million? Sure. In 2009, Kubel played in 146 games, batted .300/.369/.539 and actually picked up a few points in the MVP balloting. His OPS+ that season was 136.
The problem is that Kubel's career OPS+ is 112, and if it's below 120 he's not helping you.Especially if you've got him playing in the outfield. In the National League, Kubel shouldn't be a left fielder, or even a first baseman. In the National League, Kubel should be a pinch-hitter. He should be the new Matt Stairs.
Regardless, the man that came up in the clutch more than once for the Twins while blasting 104 home runs in his Minnesota career has now moved on from the friendly confines of the Twin Cities.
Although the Minnesota Twins and Josh Willingham agreed to a three-year, $21 million deal on Thursday, the team has not ruled out re-signing longtime Twin Michael Cuddyer:
There is growing hope within the Twins organization that they might be able to re-sign Michael Cuddyer, despite already signing free agent outfielder Josh Willingham to a three-year, $21 million deal.
"I would not rule out anything at this point, including Cuddyer," one Twins official said this morning in a text message.
Twins General Manager Terry Ryan has kept an open dialogue going with Cuddyer's agent, Casey Close. To my knowledge, the Twins still haven't pulled their three-year, $24 million offer off the table.
The addition of Willingham probably won't boost Cuddyer's interest in returning to the Twins, but he may not receive a better offer elsewhere. The Rockies and Mariners are expected to be the other teams interested in signing the 32-year-old. Cuddyer has been with the Twins his entire career since being drafted by the club in 1997.
Josh Willingham is now one step closer to joining the Minnesota Twins. the free agent outfielder passed his initial physical Thursday morning and he is expected to finalize the deal Thursday afternoon. Jerry Crasnick confirmed the news late Thursday morning that Willingham would likely be a Twin by the end of the day:
Josh Willingham has passed physical and agreed to 3-year, guaranteed $21M contract w/
#Twins. Will be announced today.
Willingham has attracted the attention of several other clubs during the free agent process according to ESPN:
Cleveland, Tampa Bay, Colorado and Boston are among the other clubs that expressed interest in Willingham during the free agent process.
Willingham is a career .262 hitter with 132 home runs for the Marlins, Nationals and Athletics. He batted .246 with a career-high 29 homers and 98 RBIs for Oakland in 2011. he is expected to shore up the Twins outfield as well as provide some much-needed offensive pop.
Josh Willingham has bounced around a bit the last couple of seasons as the outfielder moved from the Florida Marlins to the Washington Nationals to the Oakland Athletics last season. It seems the 32-year-old slugger may be moving to a fourth team this year, too, as the Minnesota Twins closed in on an agreement with the free agent on Tuesday afternoon.
Willingham batted .246 with Oakland last season in 488 plate appearances, driving in career-high 98 RBIs and scoring 69 runs in the process. He's now looking likely the likely option to replace Michael Cuddyer in the Twins outfield, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.
If the Twins lose Cuddyer and Jason Kubel and sign Willingham, as Rosenthal is reporting, they would net three high draft picks without losing any according to the veteran reporter. The Twins would gain two picks for Cuddyer, who is considered a Modified Type A free agent, and one for Kubel (a Type B free agent) while not losing any for acquiring Willingham.
This may or may not makes the fellas at Twinkie Town happy as they were waiting on something to happen with Willingham and Cuddyer for the past few days.
In looking for pitching help the Minnesota Twins are possibly turning to the Rule 5 Draft, where Red Sox prospect Cesar Cabral is a strong candidate to be selected. Cabral had an interesting journey through the minors last season, moving between the Rays, Blue Jays, and Red Sox system:
Cabral was involved in one of the stranger Rule 5-related personnel moves last spring. The Rays put him on waivers in mid-March and the Blue Jays claimed him. There was talk of Toronto trying to figure out a deal with the Red Sox to keep him, but a day later, the Blue Jays put him on waivers and the Rays re-claimed him. He still ended up back in Boston's system, where he had a solid season in relief pitching across two levels.
Cabral is a solid reliever that struck out 11.5 batters per nine innings of relief work. If the Twins were to select him int he Rule 5 draft they would have to keep him on the Major League roster all season or risk losing him back to Boston.
The Minnesota Twins made another pitching transaction on Tuesday, following Monday's re-signing of Matt Capps, as the team announced they have traded Kevin Slowey to the Colorado Rockies. Slowey lost all eight of his starts this past season.
Slowey, selected by the Twins in the second round of the 2005 amateur draft, was in the majors with Minnesota for the past five seasons. He'll now be a member of the Rockies, however, as the Twins decided not to tender him a contract and instead send him to Colorado for a player to be named later.
That player, according to 1500 ESPN, is likely to be an outfielder.
MLB.com reported on Monday that the Twins have shown interest in Rockies' outfielder Seth Smith, who owns a career batting line of .275/.348/.485 with 51 home runs in 1,449 plate appearances. Those numbers dip away from Coors Field, however -- .257/.332/.419.
Aside from the money this frees up for the Twins this offseason, Twinkie Town's Jesse notes that it also opens up a spot in Minnesota's starting rotation.
This takes one more option out of Minnesota's internal starter list. Scott Baker, Francisco Liriano, Carl Pavano and Nick Blackburn remain the top four in all likelihood, but now that fifth spot (barring an addition) is down to Anthony Swarzak, Liam Hendriks (who should begin the year in Rochester) and Brian Duensing (who has been pegged for the bullpen).
The Twins could sign a fifth starter, too, but the internal options are available just in case.
As we noted earlier tonight, the Minnesota Twins have re-signed relief pitcher Matt Capps. And while the deal has not yet been formally announced, details have emerged via the Associated Press that the deal is for one year and worth $4.5 million. Additionally, the AP reports that contract includes a "$6 million option with a $250,000 buyout."
In our first report tonight on the matter, we mentioned how Twinkie Town derided the re-signing of a pitcher whose ERA jumped from 2.47 in 2010 to 4.25 in 2011.
Twinkie Town, it turns out, appears to be in the majority when it voices disapproval with the team bringing back Capps. Count Seth Stohs of the Minneapolis Star Tribune among the unbelievers.
Many blog readers refer to me as The Positive Twins blogger. That will be tested because I can’t find a single positive spin to the Twins decision to re-sign relief pitcher Matt Capps for one year, plus an option (pending physical, of course).
Capps is expected to close games in light of the fact that Joe Nathan signed a two-year deal with the Texas Rangers a few weeks ago, so, for better or worse, the spotlight and pressure will probably be on him from Opening Day.
Matt Capps will return to the Minnesota Twins this season, likely as the closer, as the team re-signed the veteran relief pitcher during Monday's winter meetings. The 28-year-old appeared in 69 games for the Twins last season as he pitched a total of 65.2 innings.
The Twins signed Capps to a one-year deal with an option for an additional seasons, according to Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman. He will likely move into the closing role Joe Nathan occupied before signing with the Texas Rangers earlier this offseason.
Capps finished last season a 4.25 ERA and lost his closing role after blowing nine of his 24 save attempts by July, leaving the experts at Twinkie Town a bit torn on his re-signing with the club.
In November, Twinkie Town seemed semi-okay with bringing Capps back at the right price, writing "the Twins are interested in bringing him back, and I have to agree that for $2 to $2.5 million it's not a bad choice. Capps is better than he pitched in 2011, but he's not my favorite and I'd much rather have him as a middle reliever than a closer."
That sentiment changed on Monday afternoon, however, as Jon Marthaler wrote the following:
This is one year and an option year too long, plus there's one too few draft pick in the deal.
You know, you wouldn't necessarily think that a 99-loss team would spend so much time trying to retain its own players, would you?
Hopefully Capps exceeds expectations, however limited, or Twinkie Twon might not be the happiest website on the internet this season.
The Minnesota Twins trotted out Joe Nathan 394 times during the seven years he was healthy enough to close games for the organization. The veteran closer won't be returning for an eighth season, however, as the 37-year-old signed with the Texas Rangers on Monday.
The Twins had originally mentioned that they would be interested in re-signing the veteran earlier in the offseason, but Twins president Dave St. Peter said that they were never given the option of matching the Rangers' offer.
The Twins have a few options now that Nathan officially isn't coming back. Twinkie Town mentions current Twins' Glen Perkins, Jon Rauch and Matt Capps along with players like Heath Bell, Frank Francisco and Ryan Madson as possible options the Minnesota front office should look into before next season gets started.
The Rangers have reportedly signed Nathan to a two-year deal. The right-hander turns 37 years old on Tuesday, and he is coming off his least productive season as a Twin. Nathan battled injuries and went 2-1 with a 4.84 ERA and 14 saves with Minnesota last season, after never having posted an ERA over 2.70 in as of his previous six years with the club.
Nathan passed Rick Aguilera last year to become the Twins' all-time saves leader, and he exits with 260 saves for Minnesota.
Twins GM Terry Ryan has previously expressed interest in re-signing Matt Capps, who is a year removed from posting a 2.47 ERA and 42 saves in a season he split between the Nationals and Twins. Like Nathan and many Twins in 2011 however, he struggled through injuries last season. For Texas, signing Nathan appears to indicate that Netfali Feliz, who has saved 72 games over the past two seasons, will move to the starting rotation.
Terry Ryan, in his second tour as GM of the Minnesota Twins, made clear in speaking to the media last week that his first priority is addressing the team's four key free agents: utiltyman Michael Cuddyer, pitcher Matt Capps, closer Joe Nathan and outfielder Jason Kubel. Indeed, as the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports, Ryan has already reached out to at least Matt Capps' agent to reaffirm interest in re-signing the reliever.
"[Ryan] called me and expressed interest in Matt coming back," Capps' agent Paul Kinzer told a group of reporters today, on the eve of the GM meetings. "[Capps is] such a presence in the clubhouse and a good teammate, and the Twins really valued him."
The Twins also have interest in re-signing Joe Nathan, but there's a belief that they could turn their attention to Capps if the price for Nathan proves too high. Nathan turns 37 on Nov. 22; Capps is 28
Capps struggled last season, posting a 4-7 record with a 4.25 ERA, but he is just a year removed from an All-Star campaign in which he went 5-3 with 2.47 ERA and 42 saves in a season that he split between the Washington Nationals and Twins.
The Minnesota Twins have reportedly made their first major signing of the offseason, signing shortstop Jamey Carroll from the Los Angeles Dodgers. Once it's finalized, Carroll will be the first player to be signed by Terry Ryan in his second go-around as the Twins General Manager.
Carroll, a 10-year MLB veteran who will turn 38 before next season begins, is more of a defensive player than anything as he's previously been a bit of a utility player in the past. He played at second base and shortstop last season with experience playing third base and both corner outfield positions in the past as well.
Carroll's contract with the Twins would be in the $7 million range for two years, according to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal. That's quite a large amount of money to invest in a 38-year-old shortstop -- the same position Tsuyoshi Nishioka plays -- but Twinkie Town seems to believe it's an alright move.
Former Twins general manager turned current Twins general manager Terry Ryan is rightfully concerned about injuries. After all, the Twins led all MLB teams by utilizing the disabled list 27 times last season.
“I think when everybody started to get concerned was the rehab time and how long after a sprained ankle it took to get back on the field,” Ryan said. “I’m aware of that and I have to talk to our medical people to get a better account of exactly why and some of the decisions that were made.”
Ryan also made sure not to blame the players for the injuries suffered, but urged that there needs to be more accountability from the training staff, coaching staff, players and even himself regarding injuries.
That said, Ryan went on to say that he does not expect any on-field coaching changes, pending manager Ron Gardenhire’s wishes.
The Twins won 63 games and finished in last place in the AL Central just one season after winning the division with a 94-68 record… so, yes, it is the time to question things.
We are going to be looking for good players. Some are going to be realistic and some aren’t. When you are sitting and deciding the future of your team, and you know exactly where you are and where you future is payroll wise, you are going to have to be realistic.
And I think anybody can look at this list, and see who fits, not only talent wise, but contract wise and years wise and all the things that comes with it.
Some players won’t have much interest in coming here. Some will relish the fact that they could come here. This isn’t exactly the year that we are coming off 94 wins that everybody is going to want to come to Minnesota. We’ve got some issues. Players know that.
The Twins lost 99 games last season -- its most since going 60-102 back in 1982 -- and they were coming off nine winning seasons out of ten. Thus, out Bill Smith, and back in, Ryan, who served as general manager of the team from 1994-2007.
Back on the job, Ryan admitted he has some homework to do, and that will start with addressing four key free agents: utiltyman Michael Cuddyer, pitcher Matt Kapps, closer Joe Nathan and outfielder Jason Kubel.
We had four players file for free agency. I think it's safe to say that I need to talk to them and their agents pretty quickly. And four of those are impactful players in this organization. Cuddyer has been with us since '97. Kapps was huge for us two years ago, he struggled this year. Nathan has been a premier closer. And Kubel is the type of offense we are trying to bring here as far as scoring more runs. And he's been with us since high school.
So I think it would be apparent that I need to talk to our own before I worry about anybody else...
I have to do some work here still, before I can start answering questions about where they are headed and what their desires are. I’ve read quotes from the various players, 'I’d like to come back.' It’s just a matter of much dollars they are willing to take and how many years.
The Minnesota Twins made a surprise announcement on Monday afternoon, deciding that Terry Ryan will be named the team's interim general manager, replacing Bill Smith. Ryan previously held the role as Twins GM from 1994-2007 before Smith took over for the past few seasons.
The Twins had an awful season last year, finishing 63-99 and in last place in the division after making the playoffs the previous two seasons. Though Ryan only has the interim tag for now, the organization sent its well wishes on Smith's future endeavors in a press release.
"No one in the Twins' organization wants to win any more than Bill," Twins Owner and CEO Jim Pohlad said. "He is unquestionably loyal, committed and talented. The Twins goal is to get better in 2012 and beyond. Bill was equally motivated to achieve that goal but we differed in the scope and approach that was required. Going forward, we intend to have additional discussions with Bill about an ongoing role within the organization. We wish Bill, Becky and the entire Smith family nothing but the best.
"We are fortunate and grateful for Terry Ryan's willingness to step in as interim general manager," Pohlad continued.
Ryan, who will reprise his role as general manager after being the Senior Advisor to the General Manager while Smith was in charge, has a positive out look going for him.
"As we move ahead, I'm looking forward to the challenge of improving this club for 2012 and beyond," Ryan said. "We have many assets in place including a strong front office, manager, coaching staff and returning core of players. We have a lot of work to do in relation to development of our roster, but I'm optimistic in our collective abilities to ensure the future on-field success of this franchise."
The Twins have quite a bit of work to do this offseason, but hopefully Ryan can get the team back its winning ways -- or at least not flirt with losing 100 games as they nearly did last season.
According to sources, the Phillies are in serious pursuit of free-agent Michael Cuddyer, who has spent his entire career with the Twins. Cuddyer is a right-handed hitter, who has averaged 22 homers and 82 RBIs the last three seasons. He is also versatile and can play both corner outfield spots as well as first base and third base.
Cuddyer could play first base in Philly for the injured Ryan Howard or left field, if the Phils decide to move John Mayberry Jr. to first instead. Cuddyer's powerful bat, consistency, and versatility makes him a valuable asset to have.
And the Twins know this, but they may not be willing to pay Cuddyer, who will be a hot commodity this offseason and could receive a nice payday. The Twins are currently stewing over it, but the early indications are that they will be reluctant to dig into their pockets.
The Minnesota Twins announced on Monday that they have claimed a pair of pitchers off of waivers. Matt Maloney was claimed from the Cincinnati Reds while Jeff Gray was claimed off of the Seattle Mariners' waivers.
Maloney is an interesting prospect despite being 27 as he's appeared in 45 games over the last three seasons with the Reds. In his Major League career, Maloney's put together a 5.40 ERA over 80 innings. He made 14 appearances with Triple-A Louisville last season, however, going 7-1 while compiling a 2.99 ERA and 51 strikeouts.
Gray on the other hand is a bit of a journeyman. In four Major League seasons, the 29-year-old has pitched for the Oakland Athletics, Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox before heading to the Mariners mid-season. Over his MLB career, Gray has appeared in 66 games while compiling a 4.57 ERA and 50 total strikeouts in 88.2 innings.
These aren't the most newsworthy moves the team has ever made, but at least they're making moves.
Joe Nathan is a free agent after the Minnesota Twins declined the closer's contract option for the 2012 season.
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