Twins Winter MeetingsPublished 5:27pm Saturday, December 10, 2011
The baseball winter meetings are over and as promised I will comment on what the Twins did and didn’t do.
First of all I have to remember that this is Terry Ryan going into the winter meetings and we should now know what to expect and I think I got what I expected which wasn’t much. I know he said he was going to do a lot of things at the meetings and we don’t really have a lot of proof of that right now. Ryan, though, has a history of using the meetings to make moves later in the winter or right before spring training so there may have been more done at the meetings than I think there was.
So, let’s look at what was actually done during the meetings. The biggest signing may have brought more groans to Twins fans than cheers and that was resigning Matt Capps. Capps became kind of the fall guy last season for all the woes that occurred in the bullpen and to a point rightfully so. The 2011 season wasn’t a banner year for Capps with more than a few blown saves but it wasn’t his entire fault the bullpen went south last year and after the season we find he pitched with a sore arm during some of that bad stretch. The thing I liked was that Capps never used that as an excuse and he turned out to be a pretty good team player. He wasn’t afraid to try and help the team out even though he wasn’t 100% and he did so because the Twins were in need at the time. Didn’t most people grumble all season about players who didn’t suck it up to help out the team?
Ok, so I wasn’t all that excited about Capps coming back either, but when healthy he hasn’t been all that bad a closer either. I am just surprised that the Twins didn’t try and just make another closer like they did with Aguilera, Guardado, and Nathan. Maybe it was Perkins turn and maybe it still will be.
Another move during the meetings was to acquire Pedro Floriman from the Orioles. Florimon is a middle infielder who can hit a little, I guess. I have also heard conflicting reports on his fielding meaning some say he is pretty good with a glove and others have said he is not so good. I’m really not sure what to make about this deal so it will have to be one of those wait and see things.
Another move was to trade Kevin Slowey. There has been a lot of Slowey bashing from the Twin City press and maybe some of it is warranted as it is sometimes hard to know what is true or not. I do not see Slowey bashing the Twins so if he has never traveled the high road before at least he did so far on this. I really thought Slowey would have been a great reliever but he just didn’t want to do it. Wit our questionable starting rotation maybe the Twins will regret how they handled this whole thing, I don’t know, but he is gone and the Twins got little in return.
The only other news from the meetings as far as the Twins are concerned was they picked up a starting pitcher from the White Sox organization in the Rule 5 draft. He is right-hander Terry Doyle. Doyle has had some good numbers in the minor leagues and he is a control like pitcher the Twins love. He will have to stay with the Twins the whole season or be given back or the Twins could swing some kind of a deal so he can be put in our minor league system. Terry Ryan has had a lot of success with the Rule 5 so maybe this guy will work out.
The Twins also offered Michael Cuddyer 3 years for 25 million so that was another event form the meetings. I think that is a fair offer for both sides, we will see.
Before the meetings the Twins were busy with some minor league free agents that may be interesting and most of them are pitchers. Ryan and the Twins have filled their bullpens with players such as these in the past like Matt Gueirerr so maybe some of these guys will fill up the pen next season.
Two of these guys have no options left and they are Matt Maloney and Jeff Gray. Maloney is a left handed control pitcher who has had some success in the minors but has struggled a little with a little Major League experience. Gray a right handed reliever split time with the White Sox and Mariners last year and was in 30 games with a 4.28 era.
Jason Bulger was plucked out of the Angel organization and is hard throwing right hander. He pitched a lot from the pen for the Angels in 2009 and struck out 68 in 66 innings with a 3.56 era. He has had some arm problems since but if he is healthy he may help out. Jared Burton had seen some time with the Reds from 2007-09 and did ok but he was at AAA last year and struggled.
Samuel Deduno is another right hander and last year in AAA was a reliever and spot starter and had a good 3.93 era. Luis Perdomo pitched in 36 games for the Padres last season with a 4.87 era and he struck out 55 in 61 innings. The one I am most curious about is Esmerling Vasquez. He is a young hard throwing right hander who has played the last three seasons withArizona. He as appeared in 141 games in those 3 years and posted a 4.66 era. He is a hard thrower and struck out 120 in 137 innings but struggled with control with 80 walks. But he has the most major league experiance of the this group and he is still a young guy.
The Twins are now in some kind of trend where they are looking for the hard throwing guys for the bullpen. They picked up Hoey and Oliveras last year and now some of these guys fit that same bill. They all throw hard but they all struggle with the strike zone as well. The other trend is that they look for the control guys in the starting rotation.
I wish the Twins could have picked up Buerhle but that was wishful thinking on my part. But there are a few bargain basement pitchers out there for Ryan to choose from so hopefully something will be done. Otherwise maybe something will come about with a trade which Ryan has been pretty good at.
In closing about the meetings, Ryan, like he says every year, says that he made a lot of contacts at the meetings so maybe more came out of it than it looks.