Friday, December 11, 2009

Winter Meetings Over; Twins Still Have Needs

The baseball winter meetings have concluded and the Minnesota Twins left lovely Indianapolis making the following "moves:"
Although it's far too early to determine the importance of losing two young pitchers in the Twins' low minors, the Rule V losses have no impact on this year's roster. Adding Pavano to the rotation solidifies the top four spots in next year's rotation, while cutting Bonser saves the team not only money for the arbitration-eligible Bonser, but eases the crowded bullpen situation somewhat.

Still, the Twins have obvious holes at third base and second base still to address. It was rumored that the Twins were taking the following action in Indy:
Still, one has to be happy that the Twins did NOT do the following:
  • Sign RH set-up man Brandon Lyon to a three-year, $15M contract (What in the world are the Astros thinking? Lyon is a middle-level reliever at best.)
  • Sign LHP Randy Wolf to a three-year, $29.75M contract. The Twins have Pavano for one year and between $7-8M, which is a steal compared to the insane length of contract which the Brewers gave Wolf.
The winter meetings always feature the absurdity of some teams and their inability to analyze statistics to determine player value. As frustrating as it is sometimes when the Twins do not make moves to address obvious needs, it's refreshing to see the organization's conservatism when compared to the stupidity of the two contracts listed above.

Still, the off-season has much work remaining. The Twins have holes at 2B and 3B, and the rumors surrounding players such as Kouzmanoff, Beltre, and Feliz (although Feliz ultimately signed with Houston for a respectable one year, $4.5M deal) show the Twins are actively looking to upgrade at these positions. Of course, the biggest situation to address is Joe Mauer's extension, which makes all moves pale in comparison.

Still, by doing essentially nothing at this year's winter meetings, the Twins came out no worse than their AL Central peers with an eye toward 2010. The Tigers made a good move for the near future in moving Curtis Granderson for some young talent and the other teams remained virtually silent.

The free agent market is still a possibility for the Twins to address their holes. Second base options Felipe Lopez and Orlando Hudson are still out there, although all indications are that the Twins had no contact with their representatives at Indianapolis. Still, the marketplace is in its early stages and look for the Twins to make a move via free agency to address these situations.

The winter meetings are great for rumor-mongers. Heck, I found myself refreshing far more than I usually do. Still, the Twins' measured approach in the fever swamp that was Indianapolis this week was the right strategy.

Now, on to the business of addressing the Mauer, second base, and third base situations.

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