MLB Trade Rumors » » Minnesota Twins 2018-01-16T21:32:39Z Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Twins Sign Addison Reed]]> 2018-01-16T00:58:14Z 2018-01-15T22:52:43Z The Twins have bolstered their relief corps with the signing of their third free-agent reliever of the offseason, announcing on Monday a two-year deal with righty Addison Reed. The Wasserman client will be guaranteed $16.75MM on the contract, according to the Twins (one of the few teams that disclose financial details in the majority of their transactions).

The fact that the Twins will reel in Reed on such a short-term commitment comes as a surprise. MLBTR had projected a four-year pact for the right-hander, and most pundits had him pegged for at least a three-year commitment prior to the onset of free agency. Reed had three-year offers on the table at times this offseason, but his desire was to join a team in the Midwest, per Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan (Twitter link). The 29-year-old now joins Fernando Rodney and Zach Duke as veteran additions to the Minnesota bullpen. Like Rodney, Reed brings ninth-inning experience, having saved a combined 125 games since debuting in 2011.

MLB: New York Mets at San Diego Padres[RELATED: Updated Twins Depth Chart]

Pitching has been the main focus this offseason for the Twins, who are coming off their first playoff campaign since 2010. The club’s 85-victory year came in spite of underwhelming pitching, including a relief corps that ranked 22nd in the majors in ERA (4.40) and 29th in strikeout rate (7.66 K/9). Reed’s lifetime output indicates he’ll significantly help the Twins’ cause over the next couple years, as he has pitched to a 3.40 ERA and posted 9.5 strikeouts per nine across a 402 2/3-inning career with the White Sox, Diamondbacks, Mets and Red Sox.

While Reed is coming off a career-low season in terms of velocity, he nonetheless registered an impressive 2.84 ERA across 76 innings between New York and Boston. It was the second straight year with at least 76 frames for Reed, who ranks fifth among relievers in innings since 2016 (153 2/3). His success has come thanks in part to an aversion to doling out free passes, including in 2017, when he issued 1.78 walks per nine. At the same time, he logged a solid K/9 (9.0) and recorded his highest full-season swinging-strike percentage (13.7).

The Reed signing is the first time Minnesota has given a multiyear deal to an outside reliever, Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press notes on Twitter. With Reed, Rodney and Duke in the fold, it’s possible Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey and general manager Thad Levine are done making notable improvements to the team’s bullpen this offseason. But they’re sure to add starting pitching help between now and the opening of the season, and it’s perhaps worth noting that their top free agent target, righty Yu Darvish, shares an agency with Reed.

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic first reported the agreement (Twitter link). Jon Heyman of FanRag tweeted the exact terms.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Steve Adams <![CDATA[Twins Designate Buddy Boshers For Assignment]]> 2018-01-16T00:33:01Z 2018-01-15T22:37:59Z The Twins announced that they’ve designated left-handed reliever Buddy Boshers for assignment. His roster spot will go to right-hander Addison Reed, whose previously reported two-year, $16.75MM contract has been announced by the team.

Boshers, 30 in May, parlayed a minor league deal with the Twins in the 2015-16 offseason into 71 innings of work and more than a year of service at the big league level. In parts of his two seasons with Minnesota, the southpaw turned in a 4.56 ERA. Boshers impressed with an 8.2 K/9 rate against 2.2 BB/9, but he’s also been somewhat homer-prone (1.3 HR/9). He’s also been clobbered by right-handed opponents in that time; while Boshers limited lefties to a lowly .231/.262/.345 batting line through 122 plate appearances, righties knocked him around at a .268/.330/.485 clip in 183 PAs.

Boshers does have a minor league option remaining and has had his share of success against left-handed opponents, so it’s possible that he latches on elsewhere as a potential lefty specialist. If not, he’ll return to a Twins organization where he’s now behind Taylor Rogers, offseason signee Zach Duke and young Gabriel Moya on the depth chart for left-handed relievers.

Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Justin Morneau To Retire, Join Twins As Special Assistant]]> 2018-01-15T19:59:44Z 2018-01-15T19:59:10Z JANUARY 15: Morneau will indeed retire,’s Rhett Bollinger tweets. He’s expected to hold a press conference to announce the move on Wednesday.

JANUARY 9: Long-time Twins star Justin Morneau is slated to join the team as a special assistant, according to Bob Elliott of the Canadian Baseball Network (via Twitter). It would appear that the decision spells the end of his playing days, though there’s no clear word yet of that.

Mar 11, 2017; Miami, FL, USA; Canada infielder Justin Morneau (33) runs the bases in the first inning against Colombia during the 2017 World Baseball Classic at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

Morneau, 36, told Ben Nicholson-Smith and Arden Zwelling of in late October that he was not ready to retire officially, but also seemingly acknowledged his playing career was likely over. At the time, Morneau said he had hoped to play in 2017 but had not been willing to go down to Triple-A and wait for a phone call. It has never seemed likely that the opportunities would improve over time, particularly now that Morneau did not play in the just-completed season.

Entering the 2017 campaign, Morneau was already expressing some uncertainty about his future, though he also sounded like someone who wanted to carry on. Now, though, indications clearly are he’s moving on to other challenges in the baseball world.

If this is indeed the end of the line, Morneau will end his career as one of the best and most productive players ever to hail from his native Canada. In the aggregate, the first baseman turned in 22.6 fWAR and 27.3 rWAR over his 14 MLB campaigns. He also earned just shy of $100MM, due in large part to a six-year, $80MM extension he struck with Minnesota in 2008.

Of course, it’s hard not to ask what might have been. Morneau won the American League MVP Award in 2006 and went to the All-Star Game in each of the ensuing four seasons. As of mid-2010, he carried a lifetime .286/.358/.511 batting line. And he was then in the midst of his best season, boasting a whopping .345/.437/.618 output with 18 home runs through 81 games.

Things changed suddenly when Morneau took a knee to the head in a collision at second base. The concussion he suffered knocked him out for the rest of the season and limited him to just 69 games in the ensuing campaign. While he was eventually able to return to above-average work at the plate, and even turned in a very strong 2014 season with the Rockies (.319/.364/.496), Morneau never fully regained his standing on the field.

Injuries limited Morneau in 2015 and delayed his start to the 2016 campaign, when he signed a one-year deal with the White Sox after offseason elbow surgery. He ultimately managed only a .261/.303/.429 output for Chicago — respectable work for his age-35 season after so many travails, but not enough to drive interest from other organizations after the end of the season. Morneau also appeared in the World Baseball Classic in 2017, representing his fourth appearance for home country and perhaps his last competitive action on the field.

In addition to the organizations already noted, Morneau spent a brief stretch with the Pirates in 2013, following his mid-season trade from the Twins. Clearly, Morneau will forever be associated with the Minnesota franchise, though, after 11 good years there. He was part of a core group that featured mainstays such as Johan Santana, Torii Hunter, Michael Cuddyer, and Joe Mauer. While the Twins never experienced much postseason success in that era, they did take home six AL Central titles in a nine-year span (2002 through 2010).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Fernando Rodney To Open Season As Twins' Closer]]> 2018-01-13T21:26:59Z 2018-01-13T21:11:31Z
  • The Twins’ Saturday agreement with Addison Reed “came out of nowhere” for new teammate and fellow reliever Fernando Rodney, a person close to Rodney told Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press. According to Rodney, the Twins promised him their closer role when they signed him last month to a deal that includes incentives for appearances and games finished. “We’ll see how it plays out,” the person told Berardino in regards to the Twins’ late-game setup. Another source informed Berardino that the Twins still plan to begin the season with Rodney as their primary closer.
  • When the Reed signing becomes official, the Twins could jettison left-handed reliever Gabriel Moya to open up a spot on their 40-man roster, per Berardino. Moya, whom the Twins acquired from the Diamondbacks for catcher John Ryan Murphy last July, is fresh off an incredible Double-A season in which he logged a near-spotless ERA (.77) and posted 13.4 K/9 against 2.2 BB/9 over 58 1/3 innings. Despite that performance, the 23-year-old Moya does not rank among the Twins’ top 30 prospects at either Baseball America or [Twitter update via Berardino: Moya isn’t at risk of losing his 40-man spot in favor of Reed.]
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Minor MLB Transactions: 1/12/18]]> 2018-01-13T04:29:29Z 2018-01-13T04:29:29Z The Braves released Adonis Garcia recently to allow him to move to the KBO, and the full set of transactions is now in the books. The 32-year-old third baseman has inked a $800K deal with the LG Twins, as Dan Kurtz of notes on Twitter. He played in the majors in each of the past three seasons but clearly was not a part of Atlanta’s plans for 2018.

    Let’s catch up on a few minor moves from around the game, all courtesy of SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo (links to Twitter) …

    • Righty Tyler Cloyd will join the Marlins on a minors pact. Now thirty years off age, Cloyd has made just a single MLB appearance since wrapping up his time with the Phillies in 2013. He spent most of 2017 pitching at Triple-A in the Mariners organization, where he worked to a 5.67 ERA with 7.2 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in 60 1/3 innings. While the output hasn’t been very encouraging of late, Cloyd could have a chance to push for an important place on the Miami depth chart. The rebuilding club is sure to have some pitching opportunities in the season to come.
    • The Nationals added right-hander Justin Miller as well as slugger Balbino Fuenmayor on minor-league deals. Miller, 30 has seen 88 1/3 total MLB innings, spread over the 2014-16 campaigns, with a composite 4.99 ERA. He has shown some swing and miss ability at times, though. Last year, he pitched to a 5.48 ERA with 7.2 K/9 and 1.6 BB/9 in 46 frames in the PCL. The 28-year-old Fuenmayor, meanwhile, played in Mexico last year after his once-prodigious upper-minors power output fizzled in 2016. He hit well in Mexico and has continued to rake in Venezuelan winter action.
    • Southpaw James Russell is headed to the Tigers organization on a non-roster arrangement. Whether he’ll receive a camp invite isn’t known in this case (or the others). The 32-year-old is long removed from his days as a solid bullpen presence. He last appeared in the majors, rather briefly, in 2016. Though he only threw 31 professional innings last year, all in the Mexican League, they were in a starting role. He worked to a 2.03 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 1.7 BB/9.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Unresolved 2018 Arbitration Cases]]> 2018-01-13T03:05:53Z 2018-01-13T00:02:01Z We’ve covered a whole lot of arbitration deals today, many of them reached before today’s deadline to exchange filing figures. Some other agreements have come together after team and player submitted their numbers. It’s still possible, of course, that these situations will be resolved before an arbitration hearing becomes necessary. (At this point, we seem to lack full clarity on teams’ approaches to negotiations after the filing deadline. And most organizations make exceptions for multi-year deals even if they have a file-and-trial stance.)

    Some situations could even be dealt with in short order. As things stand, though, these unresolved arbitration cases could turn into significant hearings. (As always, MLBTR’s 2018 arbitration projections can be found here; you will also want to reference MLBTR’s 2018 arbitration tracker.)

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Players Avoiding Arbitration: American League]]> 2018-01-13T05:52:28Z 2018-01-12T21:00:23Z The deadline for MLB teams to exchange salary arbitration figures with their arbitration-eligible players is today at 1pm ET. As such, there will be a veritable flood of arb agreements piling up in the next few hours — especially in light of a more universal approach to the “file and trial” method for teams. (That is to say, those teams will no longer negotiate one-year deals after arb figures are exchanged and will instead head to a hearing with those players, barring an agreemenr on a multi-year deal.)

    Note that you can keep an eye on all of today’s deals using MLBTR’s 2018 Arbitration Tracker, which can be filtered to show only the results of the team you follow and is also sortable by service time and dollar value of the agreement. All projections that are referenced come from MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz’s annual compilation of projected arbitration salarie

    American League West

    • The Astros and Evan Gattis agreed to a $6.7MM deal for 2018, per FanRag’s Robert Murray (Twitter link). A free agent next season, Gattis lands within $100K of his $6.6MM projection. The club also has deals (for values unknown) with starters Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers Jr., and Brad Peacock, Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle tweets.
    • The Rangers agreed to a $1.05MM deal with infielder Jurickson Profar, tweets Murray. Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star Telegram, meanwhile, tweets that lefty Jake Diekman landed a $2.7125MM deal and righty Keone Kela will earn $1.2MM. Profar had been projected at $1.1MM and is controllable another three seasons. Diekman, a free agent next winter, was projected at $2.8MM. And Kela, still controlled for three more years, matched his $1.2MM projection on the dot.
    • The Athletics and closer Blake Treinen agreed to a $2.15MM deal for next year, tweets Murray. The A’s can control Treinen for another three years. He was projected at $2.3MM. Shortstop Marcus Semien has settled for $3.125MM, Heyman tweets; his $3.2MM projection was nearly spot-on. Oakland has announced that it has avoided arbitration with Liam Hendriks and Josh Phegley as well, but their salaries have yet to be reported.
    • The Angels have a one-year, $7.3MM agreement in place with right-hander Garrett Richards, per Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register (Twitter link). Richards, a free agent next offseason, tops his $7MM projection by a margin of $300K. The Halos have also avoided arb with first baseman C.J. Cron ($2.3MM) and left-hander Tyler Skaggs ($1.875MM), tweets USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. Cron’s total falls a ways shy of his $2.8MM projection, while Skaggs comes in just $25K south of his $1.9MM projection. Both are controllable through the 2020 season. Lastly, Murray tweets that Matt Shoemaker agreed to a $4.125MM deal. He’s controlled through 2020 and projected at $4.4MM. Fletcher also tweets that the club has agreed with righty J.C. Ramirez ($1.9MM salary vs. $2.6MM projection) and lefty Jose Alvarez ($1.05MM salary vs. $1.1MM projection). Finally, righty Cam Bedrosian has agreed at $1.1MM, Flecher tweets, which represents a payday close to his projection of $1.2MM.
    • Left-hander James Paxton will earn $4.9MM with the Mariners in 2018, tweets Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times. Murray tweets that the Mariners and David Phelps agreed to a $5.55MM deal. Paxton, controlled through 2020, projected to earn $5.6MM, while Phelps was pegged at $5.8MM. He’s a free agent next winter. Righty Erasmo Ramirez took a $4.2MM deal,’s Greg Johns reports. That’s half a million shy of what the model suggested. Fellow right-hander Nick Vincent also has an agreement, but the terms aren’t yet known.

    American League Central

    • New lefty Luis Avilan has agreed to a $2.45MM deal with the White Sox, Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune reports via Twitter. The recent trade acquisition came with a projected $2.3MM price tag. Fellow southpaw Carlos Rodon will receive $2.3MM, a bit of a bump over the $2MM he projected to receive. Also, utilityman Leury Garcia gets $1.175MM, which is just $25K short of his projected value.
    • The Royals and righty Nate Karns agreed to a $1.375MM deal for 2018, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet reports (on Twitter). That lands within $25K of his $1.4MM projection for the coming season. Kansas City controls Karns through 2020. Meanwhile,’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports (via Twitter) that Kelvin Herrera will earn $7.9375MM in 2018, landing a bit shy of his $8.3MM projection. Herrera is a free agent next winter.
    • The Indians have a $5MM agreement with righty Danny Salazar,’s Jordan Bastian tweets. He had projected to earn just $200K more, this falls right in line with expectations. Cleveland also agreed with Lonnie Chisenhall on a $5.5875MM deal, tweets Nightengale. The third baseman-turned-outfielder, who was projected to earn $5.8MM, will be a free agent following the 2018 season.
    • Trevor May has a $650K agreement with the Twins for the 2018 season, according to Phil Miller of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. May, who missed the entire season due to Tommy John surgery (and did some writing for MLBTR during his rehab process), had been projected at $600K. The Twins also agreed to a $1MM deal with infielder Ehire Adrianza, per La Velle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune. Meanwhile, righty Ryan Pressly has agreed to a $1.6MM deal, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN. Both deals are identical matches with their projections. Adrianza has three years of team control remaining, while Pressly has two. Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets that outfielder Robbie Grossman settled at $2MM, leaving him $400K shy of his projection. Grossman is controlled for another three seasons.
    • Tigers third baseman/outfielder Nick Castellanos will earn $6.05MM, per Heyman (via Twitter). He had projected at a much heftier $7.6MM in his second-to-last season of arb eligibility.’s Jason Beck reports (Twitter links) that the Tigers and right-handed reliever Alex Wilson settled at $1.925MM, while fellow righty Shane Greene will earn $1.95MM. Wilson was projected to earn $2.1MM, while Greene was at $1.7MM. Wilson is controlled through 2019, while Greene is under control through 2020.

    American League East

    • The Yankees have knocked out some of their biggest arb cases, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (Twitter links). Shortstop Didi Gregorius receives $8.25MM and righty Sonny Gray checks in at $6.5MM. The former had projected to earn $9.0MM while the algorithm was just $100K high on the latter.Backstop Austin Romine will earn $1.1MM, Heyman also tweets, which is also $100K below the projection. Righty Adam Warren and the Yankees have a $3.315MM deal, per Murray (Twitter link). This is Warren’s final season of eligibility before hitting the open market next winter. He’d been projected at $3.1MM. Meanwhile, fellow right-hander Dellin Betances has agreed to a $5.1MM deal, per’s Mark Feinsand (via Twitter). That’s just $100K more than Betances had sought last year, when he took his case to a hearing that he ultimately lost. But it’s quite a bit more than the $4.4MM he projected to receive after a subpar season in which he played at a $3MM salary.
    • The Red Sox have agreed to pay $8.5MM to southpaw Drew Pomeranz, per Alex Speier of the Boston Globe (Twitter link). That’s short of the $9.1MM that had been projected after Pomeranz turned in a productive 2017 season. Boston and Jackie Bradley Jr. settled at $6.1MM, tweets Murray. That’s a bit north of the $5.9MM at which he’d been projected for the upcoming season. Bradley Jr., a Super Two player, has another three seasons of club control remaining. Nightengale tweets that righty Joe Kelly ($3.6MM projection) agreed to a $3.825MM deal. He’ll be a free agent next winter. Lefty Eduardo Rodriguez ($2.375MM salary vs. $2.7MM projection) and righty Brandon Workman ($835K salary vs. $900K projection) are two other Sox hurlers that have agreed to terms, Speier reports (Twitter links). On the position player side, catcher Sandy Leon falls a bit under his projection $1.95MM (via Speier, on Twitter) while utilityman Brock Holt just beats expectations at $2.225MM (per’s Jerry Crasnick, on Twitter). The team also agreed with shortstop Xander Bogaerts for $7.05MM, Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston tweets, which comes in a bit shy of his $7.6MM projection. Boston also announced agreement with backstop Christian Vazquez, who’ll earn $1.425MM, per’s Ian Browne (via Twitter). That’s just under the projection of $1.5MM.
    • The Blue Jays and righty Aaron Sanchez agreed to a $2.7MM deal for 2018, according to Nightengale (Twitter link). That crushes his $1.9MM projection, which was likely suppressed due Sanchez’s lack of innings (just 36) in 2017. He’s under Jays control through 2020. Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith, meanwhile, tweets that second baseman Devon Travis will make $1.45MM next year, falling a bit shy of his $1.7MM forecast. Other Toronto players agreeing to terms include Kevin Pillar ($3.25MM vs. $4.0MM projection) and Dominic Leone ($1.085MM vs. $1.2MM projection),’s Gregor Chisholm tweets.
    • The Rays and closer Alex Colome settled at $5.3M, per USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (on Twitter). He’d been projected at $5.5MM and is controllable for three more years. They also settled at $5.95MM with outfielder/DH Corey Dickerson ($6.4MM projection) and $4.5MM with infielder Brad Miller ($4.4MM projection), per Murray (all Twitter links). Steven Souza, according to Murray will earn $3.55MM, placing him right in line with his $3.6MM projection. Dickerson and Miller are controlled through 2019. Souza is controlled through 2020.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Twins Avoid Arbitration With Eduardo Escobar]]> 2018-01-12T05:20:00Z 2018-01-12T05:12:47Z
  • Infielder Eduardo Escobar and the Twins have agreed to a one-year deal worth $4.85MM, La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports. The switch-hitting Escobar will give the Twins a utility infielder with some pop and could see significant playing time early in the year if Miguel Sano is suspended. Escobar will be a free agent next offseason. His salary falls within $50K of his projected $4.9MM payday.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Yu Darvish Choosing Among Six Teams]]> 2018-01-11T06:12:59Z 2018-01-11T05:34:03Z Yu Darvish is widely considered to be the top starting pitcher available in free agency, and while his market — like the market of nearly every other top free agent this winter — has been slow to progress, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that Darvish has whittled the decision down to a handful of teams: the Rangers, Cubs, Astros, Twins and Yankees. Darvish himself has hardly been shy about stirring the pot on social media this winter, though, and he created an additional layer of intrigue tonight when he responded to the report by tweeting: “I know one more team is in.” The Dodgers may very well be the sixth team to which Darvish alluded, as Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times tweeted tonight that Los Angeles “remains in the mix” to bring Darvish back to L.A.

    In his column, Wilson once again cautions that the Rangers aren’t a prime suitor for Darvish. The right-hander, according to Wilson, would prefer to return to Arlington were all things equal, but the Rangers aren’t expected to pursue top-tier free agents, as has reportedly been the case for the entire winter. Wilson reported three months ago that Texas was aiming to trim payroll by about $10MM for the coming season, which would leave them around $155MM overall. A backloaded contract for Darvish could technically still make that goal possible, but Wilson strongly suggests that the Rangers won’t be making any moves of the “all-in” variety this winter. The Rangers’ payroll projects to check in around $144MM as things presently stand.

    Both the Yankees and Astros have been prominently linked to another high-end rotation candidate recently, as both have been said in recent weeks to be in talks for Pittsburgh righty Gerrit Cole. Astros GM Jeff Luhnow earlier today shot down a report that his team had struck an agreement to acquire Cole, but both New York and Houston appear to have some level of interest more cost-effective trade candidates.

    The Yankees, of course, have been hard at work trying to bolster their 2018 roster while simultaneously remaining south of the luxury tax barrier (to great success thus far), while Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported just yesterday (subscription required and recommended) that Houston prefers to trade for a pitcher like Cole rather than shell out a massive contract to Darvish or another free-agent starter. If the Yankees can find a way to shed a significant portion of Jacoby Ellsbury’s contract (which seems unlikely) or if the Astros ultimately deem all of their trade targets too expensive in terms of prospects, then perhaps on of those clubs will take a more serious look at Darvish.

    Minnesota, meanwhile, has long been reported to be one of the more aggressive teams on Darvish, who knows Twins GM Thad Levine quite well from the pair’s time with the Rangers. Of all the teams in the mix, the Twins’ payroll outlook is by far the most open (zero dollars on the books beyond the 2019 season). As for the Cubs, they’ve been tied to Darvish, Jake Arrieta and fellow righty Alex Cobb as they seek to round out their rotation and remain atop a competitive NL Central division.

    The Dodgers, like the Yankees, are facing some self-imposed financial restrictions. Both clubs are trying to reset their luxury tax penalty level, and the Dodgers look to have done so in the Adrian Gonzalez/Scott Kazmir/Brandon McCarthy/Matt Kemp trade. Bringing Darvish back into the fold would once again push them north of the tax line, L.A. is also looking for ways in which to shed Kemp’s contract. As is the case with the Yankees and Ellsbury, finding a taker for a notable portion of that deal could create additional flexibility.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Minor MLB Transactions: 1/8/18]]> 2018-01-08T22:49:52Z 2018-01-08T22:49:52Z Here are the day’s minor moves from around the game…

    • The Twins have signed utility man Jordan Pacheco to a minor league contract, per their Triple-A affiliate’s PR director, Nate Rowan (on Twitter). Initially a catcher by trade, Pacheco has broadened his skill set by logging more than 350 innings at each of third base, first base and second base in recent years, and he’s even chipped in 133 innings as a shortstop in the minors. Set to turn 32 later this month, Pacheco most recently played 42 games for the independent Long Island Ducks, hitting .273/.351/.420 in 42 games. Pacheco is a career .272/.310/.365 hitter in 1149 MLB plate appearances and a .272/.343/.388 hitter in parts of six Triple-A seasons. The Twins project to have a crowded bench as is, with Eduardo Escobar, Mitch Garver, Zack Granite and Robbie Grossman all currently projected for spots, but Pacheco can bring some versatile depth to the Rochester roster.
    • Former MLB hurler A.J. Achter appears to be moving on from his playing days, as he has been announced as the new pitching coach at Eastern Michigan University. The 29-year-old, who was selected out of Michigan State in the 46th round of the 2010 draft, threw 62 total frames in the majors between 2014-16 with the Twins and Angels. Last year, Achter worked at the Double-A level with the Tigers. While he was never able to hold down a firm job at the game’s highest level, Achter thrived at Triple-A. In 190 innings there, he worked to a 2.79 ERA with 8.0 K/9 versus 3.1 BB/9. MLBTR wishes him the best of luck in his new line of work.
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Twins Have Shown Interest In Chris Tillman]]> 2018-01-08T00:52:15Z 2018-01-08T00:52:15Z The Twins have checked in on free agent right-hander Chris Tillman this offseason, according to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN (Twitter link). They’re on a shortlist of teams that have shown reported interest in the soon-to-be 30-year-old Tillman, who has also been on the radar of the Orioles (his organization from 2008-17) and Tigers.

    Free agency came at an inopportune time for Tillman, who, despite a generally successful career, saw his stock take a serious hit during a nightmarish 2017. Thanks to shoulder troubles, Tillman didn’t take the mound for the Orioles until mid-May, and when he was able to pitch, he posted a 7.84 ERA/6.93 FIP across 93 innings (21 appearances, 16 starts). Along the way, Tillman experienced a drop in velocity and managed just 6.1 K/9 against 4.94 BB/9, with unappealing groundball and home run-to-fly ball rates of 39.5 percent and 20 percent, respectively. He was also among the majors’ absolute worst hurlers by expected weighted on-base average against (.398), per Statcast, which suggests his actual wOBA allowed (.419) was largely deserved.

    On the heels of last season’s woeful showing, Tillman has reportedly been seeking a one-year deal with the hope of rebuilding his stock and faring better on the market next winter. The Twins, meanwhile, have been looking for answers for a rotation that lacks appealing options behind Ervin Santana and Jose Berrios. Fresh off their first playoff season since 2010, the Twins have generally aimed high in their search for starters, having shown interest in the likes of Yu Darvish, Chris Archer, Gerrit Cole and Jake Odorizzi. Darvish seems to be No. 1 on Minnesota’s wish list, and Wolfson tweets that the team’s still waiting for a resolution on his situation before it potentially moves to add other starters.

    At this point, Tillman is obviously a far less exciting possibility than Darvish or any of the other aforementioned names. However, in the event Tillman bounces back to something resembling his pre-2017 level, his presence would benefit the Twins. Tillman’s not far removed from a four-year stretch (2013-16) in which he exceeded the 170-inning mark in each season and combined for a 3.91 ERA/4.27 FIP with 6.99 K/9 against 3.13 BB/9 over 758 2/3 frames.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Twins Sign Nick Buss To Minor League Deal]]> 2018-01-04T03:52:51Z 2018-01-04T03:49:49Z
  • Nate Rowan, the PR director for the Twins’ Triple-A affiliate in Rochester, announced today that Minnesota has agreed to a minor league deal with outfielder Nick Buss (Twitter link). Buss, 31, has made cameos with the Dodgers and Angels over the past four years, totaling a .180/.229/.300 slash in a tiny sample of 110 plate appearances. However, he mashed at a .348/.395/.541 clip in Triple-A this past season and is a lifetime .307/.364/.461 hitter in parts of five seasons at that level. He can play all three outfield spots and picked up a handful of games at first base in 2017 as well.
  • The Nationals have added a pair of hurlers on minor-league deals, according to Cotillo (also via Twitter). Righty Roman Mendez and lefty Logan Darnell will both join the D.C. organization, though it’s unclear at this point whether either will receive an invitation to MLB camp. Both have seen some MLB action, though neither has an extensive track record and the pair hasn’t touched the bigs for a few seasons. Mendez spent some time with Japan’s Hanshin Tigers in 2017, but only threw 9 2/3 innings. In 2016, he worked to a 3.38 ERA in 64 Triple-A frames. As for Darnell, who’ll soon turn 29, he spent the ’17 campaign outside the Twins organization for the first time. The long-time minor-league starter appeared with the Rays’ Double-A affiliate, the indy ball Somerset Patriots, and in the Venezuean winter league, allowing between 3.81 and 3.98 earned runs per nine at each of those stops. In 359 1/3 lifetime innings at Triple-A, Darnell owns a 3.51 ERA with 6.3 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9.
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Latest On Yu Darvish]]> 2018-01-04T02:12:33Z 2018-01-04T02:12:33Z
  • The Twins are “still trying to match schedules” to schedule a sit-down with free agent Yu Darvish, according to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN (via Twitter). That’s somewhat odd to read at this stage of the winter; Darvish has already met with other teams, Minnesota has long labeled him a “priority,” and spring camp is just six weeks away. Nevertheless, at this point it seems little has changed in the situation: the Twins are still interested in the top-flight righty, though it’s difficult to determine a favorite in the Darvish sweepstakes. To that end, it’s worth noting that Jim Bowden of The Athletic wrote today that Minnesota “appears … prepared to offer a market deal” for Darvish (though it stands to reason that an in-person meeting would precede such an offer). Bowden also notes that the Astros are still in the Darvish mix, in part due to concerns over their ability to sign Dallas Keuchel long term, and he cites multiple sources in reporting that the Rangers are still alive in the bidding for Darvish as well.
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Latest On Twins' Search For Starter]]> 2018-01-03T13:24:34Z 2018-01-02T19:29:31Z
  • Some down-market free agent starters may still be waiting to see what happens up top. Per Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN, via Twitter, the Twins are giving the “sense” to the reps of some hurlers that they want to see what happens with Yu Darvish before pursuing next-tier hurlers such as Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn. That said, as Nightengale also notes, Darvish (like Arrieta) is still waiting to see if he can secure a sixth or even seventh guaranteed season. No doubt some possible trade situations are also contributing to the stasis; as ever, some player or some team may need to blink before things get flowing.
  • ]]>
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Twins Likelier To Add Starter Via Free Agency Than In Trade]]> 2018-01-01T20:29:50Z 2018-01-01T20:26:27Z
  • Though they’ve explored various trade scenarios, the Twins are likelier to address their rotation on the free-agent market,’s Rhett Bollinger writes in his latest Twins Inbox piece. Minnesota has a blank payroll slate beyond the 2019 season, and Bollinger suggests that the front office would rather use those financial resources than deplete the farm system in order to add to the rotation. The Twins have been prominently mentioned as a possible landing spot for Yu Darvish, though it stands to reason that they’ve also likely looked into Jake Arrieta, Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn as well.
  • ]]>
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Twins Have Reportedly Made Offer To Ji-Man Choi]]> 2018-01-01T15:37:16Z 2018-01-01T15:31:02Z
  • First baseman Ji-Man Choi’s agency in Korea recently spoke to the media about their client’s current foray into free agency and revealed that he’s received offers (presumably of the minor league variety) from the Yankees, Angels, Rays, A’s, Brewers, Marlins, Cubs, Reds, Orioles, Twins, Braves, Blue Jays and White Sox (English link via Jee-ho Yoo of South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency). The 26-year-old Choi slugged a pair of homers in 18 plate appearances with the Yankees last year and posted a strong year with their Triple-A affiliate, slashing .288/.373/.538 in 87 games. In parts of five Triple-A campaigns, Choi has posted a robust .298/.390/.479 batting line.
  • ]]>
    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[No Extension Talks Between Twins, Brian Dozier]]> 2017-12-31T02:30:45Z 2017-12-31T02:28:55Z The Twins have yet to speak to Brian Dozier about a contract extension, the second baseman tells Sid Hartman of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.  With Dozier entering the last season of his contract, the two sides have had “zero conversations about after next year,” Dozier said.

    The lack of negotiations isn’t necessarily a surprise at this point in the offseason, of course, as most teams generally handle focus on signings, trade talks, and arbitration cases before turning their attention to in-house extensions.  (This winter’s particularly-stalled free agent market could even delay extension business later into Spring Training than usual for some clubs.)  Beyond Dozier, the Twins also have Joe Mauer and Eduardo Escobar slated to hit the open market after the 2018 season, with Ervin Santana and Fernando Rodney also candidates for free agency depending on club options.

    Still, Dozier stands out as Minnesota’s top impending free agent priority, though the idea of an extension between the two sides (or even Dozier still being in a Twins uniform entering 2018) seemed far-fetched at this point last year.  Dozier has long been the subject of trade rumors, and at one point in the 2016-17 offseason seemed to be on the verge of being dealt to the Dodgers.  Even last summer, Dozier was one of several Twins veterans the team was weighing as trade chips, though Minnesota eventually rebounded to capture a berth in the AL Wild Card game.

    Last season’s surprising success changed the equation for the Twins, who are now exploring ways to build around its young core of talent in the hopes of contending again next year.  As such, keeping Dozier now looks like it could be a possibility, particularly since Minnesota has quite a bit of payroll flexibility beyond the 2018 season.  (Of course, the Twins might add to those future commitments in a significant way this offseason should they land a top free agent pitcher.)

    Dozier is finishing up a previous extension with the Twins, a four-year/$20MM deal that covered his final pre-arbitration season and his three years of arbitration eligibility.  That contract ended up being a nice bargain for the Twins through Dozier’s arb years, as he has continued to perform as one of the game’s best second basemen, particularly over the last two seasons.  Dozier has hit .269/.349/.521 with 76 homers and 34 steals (out of 43 chances) over 1396 PA since the start of the 2016 season, accumulating 10.9 fWAR over that period.  From 2014-17, Dozier has been worth 18.8 fWAR, a total topped by only 13 other position players in all of baseball.

    Dozier turns 31 in May, so an extension carries some risk as it would be covering a potential decline period as he leaves his prime.  The lack of return on the Twins’ extensions for Mauer and Phil Hughes could also make the team wary about another long-term deal.  On the flip side, Dozier has been a durable player, and 2017 was his most polished season yet as a hitter, with Fangraphs’ Jeff Sullivan noting Dozier’s increased success at hitting to the opposite field.

    In his preview of the Twins’ offseason, MLBTR’s Steve Adams cited Daniel Murphy’s three-year, $37.5MM deal with the Nationals or Justin Turner’s four-year, $64MM Dodgers contract as potential talking points for a Dozier extension, with Turner’s deal standing out as the better comparable.  One interesting wrinkle could be the fact that, without an extension, Dozier would be competing with several other superstar players in the very crowded 2018-19 free agent class.  Dozier would have an advantage, however, as the clear top option on the second base market.

    If an extension isn’t worked out, the Twins will likely explore trading Dozier at the deadline if the team falls out of contention.  For now, however, it looks like the Twins aren’t moving the second baseman, which is something Dozier appreciates after so much past speculation.  “It’s kind of funny how winning can change a lot of different things as far as offseason trade talks,” Dozier said.  “I recognize it’s a business. We all do. But it has been pretty relieving not hearing my name every single day about where I might be traded. That’s a good thing.”

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Twins Still Seen As Favorite For Mike Napoli]]> 2017-12-30T03:35:17Z 2017-12-30T02:53:55Z
  • There have been some conflicting signals floating around on slugger Mike Napoli, it seems clear there’s serious interest between him and the Twins. The veteran slugger hasn’t lined up yet with Minnesota, but Heyman says some believe it’s “something of a likelihood” that a deal will ultimately be struck between the sides. Of course, there are still quite a few other defensively-limited sluggers on the market, but it seems the Twins are focused on Napoli both to add some pop and provide a strong veteran presence to the young squad.
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Twins Sign Zach Duke]]> 2018-01-03T20:50:02Z 2017-12-30T01:01:10Z DEC. 29: Duke will receive $2.15MM, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweets. Per Berardino, via Twitter, Duke can add $200K bonuses for making his 40th and 50th appearances, $300K at #55 and #60, and another $500K if he takes the ball 65 times.

    DEC. 26, 9:05pm: Duke’s guarantee is “just over” $2MM and he can earn up to $1.5MM more via incentives, Berardino tweets.

    5:30pm: The Twins have officially announced Duke’s one-year contract.

    10:10am: 1500 ESPN’s Darren Wolfson tweets that Duke’s contract is a Major League deal that is expected to be worth between $1.5MM and $2MM. Minnesota’s 40-man roster is full with the addition of Duke.

    DEC. 25: The Twins have agreed to a deal with veteran lefty Zach Duke, as KFAN’s Paul Lambert first tweeted. Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press confirms on Twitter, adding that the deal is still pending a physical. Terms of the arrangement aren’t yet known. Duke is a client of ISE Baseball.

    Duke, 34, is coming off of a limited 2017 campaign. Despite undergoing Tommy John surgery in mid-October of 2016, he managed to bounce back in time to make 27 appearances for the Cardinals.

    As might have been expected, given his rapid return, Duke showed some rust. He recorded only 5.9 K/9 and allowed far more hard contact (37.0%) than usual while posting a 3.93 ERA over 18 1/3 frames. On the other hand, the southpaw allowed only a .197/.284/.364 batting line to opposing hitters (with minimal platoon splits) and generated rates of swinging strikes (10.9%) and groundballs (50.4%) that were not out of line with the figures he has maintained in recent seasons.

    [Related: Updated Minnesota Twins depth chart]

    For Minnesota, the move gives the team a potentially solid second lefty to pair with Taylor Rogers at what will likely turn out to be a marginal commitment. If Duke can rebound to anything like the form he showed over the prior three seasons — over which he posted a 2.74 ERA with 10.4 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9 over 180 1/3 innings — then he’ll surely represent a true bargain.

    The Twins have already added Fernando Rodney to bolster a questionable late-inning unit. Perhaps, then, the organization will turn its focus to addressing other needs, though surely additional bullpen moves will at least be considered. The 2017 unit, after all, rated 22nd among all MLB teams by measure of both fWAR and ERA.

    Tim Dierkes <![CDATA[Miguel Sano Accused Of Assault]]> 2017-12-28T20:17:25Z 2017-12-28T20:15:39Z 2:15pm: The Twins issued the following statement:

    “Today the Minnesota Twins were made aware of allegations involving Miguel Sano at an offsite appearance during the 2015 season.  The Twins, along with Major League Baseball, take these allegations very seriously.  Until more information is gathered, the Twins will have no further comment.”

    A short while later, Sano issued the following statement:

    “I unequivocally deny the allegation made against me today — it never happened.  I have the utmost respect for women, especially those working in professional sports, and I deeply sympathize with anyone who has experienced sexual harassment. There is no place for it in our society.”

    12:53pm: Photographer Betsy Bissen has accused Twins third baseman Miguel Sano of assault, in a post on social media this morning.  Bissen, a photographer who has covered Twins games and events, describes an incident in 2015 with Sano at an autograph signing.  Bissen says Sano recognized her from Twins games she worked as a photographer.  In her account, she describes how Sano flirted without reciprocation during the signing, and later “grabbed my wrist and made me go” with him, his agent, and her employer to an Apple Store.  Bissen further describes the incident as follows:

    “We spend around a half hour inside that store before it was time for him and his agent to leave.  Their car was pulled around to a back hallway door.  As we got outside, the athlete decided he needed to use the restroom.  I asked my boss where it was and pointed to the door we just walked thru.  Apparently I was too close, and the athlete took that as a signal that I wanted him to grab me and try to take me back thru that door.

    I pulled back as he held onto my wrist.  It hurt, how badly he was grasping at my wrist, but he wouldn’t let go.  I wasn’t going to give up my fight though.  He then leaned down and tried to kiss me, more than once.  Every time he did, I said no and kept pulling back.  I was in a squatted position with my wrist throbbing.  I screamed, no one came to help me.  He finally gave up after a solid ten mins of fighting to pull me thru that door.  I don’t even want to think of what he may have done, had he got me thru that door.  No, he didn’t rape me, but he sure did assault me.  When I said no, it should have been the end of it.  He should have respected that and stopped.  Instead, he hurt me and kept going. 

    The next day, my body was sore all over from having to fight off this athlete that thought he was entitled to take advantage of me against my will.”

    MLB and the players’ union agreed to a domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse policy in August 2015.  It seems likely that MLB will investigate this incident, which could result in a suspension for Sano.  It appears the Twins may just be learning about this incident.  This year’s #metoo movement seems to have compelled Bissen to share her story publicly.  I asked Bissen in a Twitter message whether she would cooperate with MLB if they contact her, and she replied, “If they do, I will cooperate. I honestly don’t want anything from this other than to feel free from what happened to me.”

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Twins Unlikely To Sign Full-Time DH]]> 2017-12-27T14:51:57Z 2017-12-27T14:51:28Z The Twins are heartened by Miguel Sano’s rehab from surgery to insert a titanium rod into his shin, writes’s Rhett Bollinger, but it’s still unlikely that Sano will log 150+ games at third base next season. Minnesota will still rely on Sano at the hot corner, but will rotate him between that position and DH, once again giving Eduardo Escobar reps at third as well. The ability to spell Sano and first baseman Joe Mauer with time at DH is one reason that the Twins aren’t looking to bring in a full-time DH, per Bollinger. “We saw the benefits of cycling guys through that spot last year,” said GM Thad Levine. “We’d like to keep the DH spot a little more fluid than lock somebody into it.” Minnesota, of course, has been linked to Mike Napoli, though he’d presumably open the year as more of a part-time DH against lefties than an everyday option at the position.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Twins Have Interest In Mike Napoli]]> 2017-12-28T00:22:40Z 2017-12-25T23:50:36Z DEC. 27: Jon Heyman of FanRag notes that although no deal was ever imminent (and he never reported that it was), the talks should be considered serious, as he believes they’ve progressed to a point where Minnesota looks like the most likely landing spot for the first baseman.

    5:50pm:’s Mark Feinsand hears that while the Twins like Napoli, there’s nothing imminent between the two sides (Twitter link). Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press (Twitter link) hears similarly, saying the Twins’ focus remains on their pitching staff.

    DEC. 25, 10:32am: The two sides are in “serious talks,” says Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.

    DEC. 24: The Twins have interest in signing free agent first baseman Mike Napoli and have been in touch with Napoli’s agent, according to La Velle E. Neal III and Phil Miller of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.  Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News first noted the interest recently via Twitter. There isn’t any sign yet that the two sides are close to an agreement.

    This isn’t the first time that Minnesota has been linked to Napoli, as the club originally tried to sign Napoli last offseason and actually offered him a larger deal than the one he eventually signed with the Rangers — a one-year, $6MM deal with an $11MM club option for 2019 that included a $2.5MM buyout.  At the time, Napoli chose the Rangers because they looked like a better bet to contend in 2017, though it was the Twins who ended up making a surprise run to the AL wild card game while Texas posted a losing record.

    It was a tough year for Napoli as well, as the veteran hit only .193/.285/.428 over 485 plate appearances for the Rangers, though he did slug 29 home runs.  A torn right hand ligament may well have contributed to Napoli’s struggles, though the Rangers chose to buy the veteran out rather than bet $8.5MM more on a rebound year for a player who turned 36 on Halloween.

    Given that Napoli provided good power numbers even despite an overall lackluster season at the plate, he could provide a right-handed boost to the Twins’ bench, and even become a major bargain if he could regain the old form that he displayed as recently as the 2016 season.  As Neal and Miller note, the Twins also value Napoli’s reputation as a clubhouse leader, which could be particularly important for a young team that has an eye towards becoming a regular contender.  Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey and GM Thad Levine are both very familiar with Napoli’s contributions on and off the field, as Napoli played for the Indians and Rangers when Falvey and Levine respectively worked in those clubs’ front offices.

    The Twins’ move towards contention and their lack of future payroll commitments have given them lots of options this winter, as the club has been linked to several major names on the free agents and trade markets (though Fernando Rodney has been the only truly notable addition to date).  Minnesota has much more of a dire need for pitching than hitting, so signing a part-time bat like Napoli wouldn’t do much to slow their hopes of landing a top-tier arm.

    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[AL Notes: Gordon, Segura, Twins, Roberto Perez]]> 2017-12-23T16:18:44Z 2017-12-23T16:15:11Z New Mariners center fielder Dee Gordon doesn’t like what’s happening in Miami, Tim Healey of the Sun Sentinel reports. While his words don’t stir up controversy quite to the level of Giancarlo Stanton’s upon the slugger’s own exit from Miami, Gordon was very candid with his feelings about the direction of the Marlins’ franchise. “It’s terrible,” Gordon said, via Healey. “It’s almost — I’m not even going to say almost. It’s embarrassing. It’s embarrassing. I don’t want to bash anyone, but what’s happened is not good.” The former Marlins second baseman expressed a distaste for the franchise’s trades of Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and himself, accusing the team of getting rid of them because of payroll obligations the Marlins’ new ownership “can’t take care of.” When asked what he thinks the club should do with Christian Yelich, Gordon said, “I think you have to let the dude go win.” Under new ownership, or course, the Marlins have expressed a desire to change the way the team operates financially in order to create sustainable success for the long-term. While the strategy has been met with skepticism by many (including colorful agent Scott Boras), others side with Derek Jeter and co., believing that the new owners aren’t morally obligated to remain bound to the financial decisions of the old regime.

    More from around baseball’s American League during the holiday season…

    • In other Mariners news, shortstop Jean Segura says he was assaulted and robbed at gunpoint by corrupt police in the Dominican Republic. Mark Townsend of Yahoo Sports delves into the details of incident, which Segura made public via a post on his Instagram account. The photo of the post appears to show a number of DICAN officers, one of whom is “visibly armed,” in Townsend’s words. The Dominican Republic National Police have since announced the appointment of a commission to investigate the incident. Segura followed up a breakout 5-WAR 2016 campaign with the Diamondbacks by hitting .300/.349/.427 across 566 plate appearances in 2017.
    • The Twins “hope to get a meeting soon with Darvish,” Darren Wolfson of KSTP reports in a tweet. While the prospect of a meeting certainly doesn’t imply a serious pursuit of the former Rangers ace (indeed, Wolfson adds that there’s no indication the club has made a formal offer), a potential pursuit of Darvish by Minnesota is intriguing. Any contract large enough to lure him in would need to nearly triple the club’s highest-ever guarantee given to a pitcher ($55MM to Ervin Santana). However, it’s no secret that the Twins are in dire need of pitching if they plan to compete this offseason, and as MLBTR’s Steve Adams notes, the club is definitely in a position to spend this offseason.
    • Roberto Perez, backup catcher for the Indians, is focused on getting his mother a new home. A story by Jordan Bastian of details Perez’ desire to sit down with his mom Lilliam Martinez this holiday season and discuss plans to build a new house to replace the one that was severely damaged by Hurricane Maria. Bastian’s piece provides some insight into the emotions of Perez since the storm hit; the piece is well worth a read for fans looking to learn more about how Puerto Rico has been affected since landfall by the Class 5 storm. The 29-year-old Perez made his MLB debut with the Indians back in 2014. He signed a four-year, $9MM extension last spring following three excellent defensive seasons with the Tribe.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[International Signings: 12/23/17]]> 2017-12-23T05:13:46Z 2017-12-23T05:13:46Z Let’s check in on a few notable international signings that have just gone down …

    • The Yankees have struck agreements with two Venezuelan talents, according to Ben Badler of Baseball America. With cash still left to spend after missing out on Shohei Ohtani, the Yanks are moving to bring in another big haul of talent from Latin America. Outfielder Raimfer Salinas and catcher Antonio Cabello will join an already strong haul from the current July 2nd class. Per BA’s rankings, these two are the 11th and 15th-best players available, respectively, leaving the Yankees with five of this year’s top twenty talents.
    • Another spurned Ohtani suitor, the Rangers, has found another investment opportunity with some of its funds. The Texas organization has added shortstop Osleivis Basabe out of Venezuela, Badler also reports. Basabe, who has a few family members already playing in affiliated ball, is said to be a quality athlete with excellent speed and a good arm. Though Basabe ranked as only the 46th player on the BA board due to questions about his hitting acumen, Badler says he has shown well in winter ball action.
    • It seems the Twins have finalized a deal with Taiwanese righty Kai-Wei Teng. That agreement was first reported by LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star-Tribune and was noted as going in the books recently on Twitter by’s Rhett Bollinger. The 19-year-old is said to be receiving a bonus in the $500K range.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Minor MLB Transactions: 12/21/17]]> 2017-12-21T17:58:26Z 2017-12-21T17:50:40Z We’ll cover the day’s minor moves in this post:

    • The Cubs have re-signed catcher Taylor Davis, MLBTR has learned. The 28-year-old was non-tendered after a season in which he received his first MLB call-up, staying long enough to pick up his first few base knocks but not to put down a meaningful track record. Davis strode to the Triple-A plate 406 times in 2017, producing a .297/.357/.429 batting line with six home runs. Notably, he continued to exhibit strong plate discipline and contact ability, striking out just 45 times while drawing 37 walks.

    Earlier Updates

    • Indians have agreed to a deal with right-hander Lisalverto Bonilla, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter). The 27-year-old struggled badly in his ten MLB appearances last year with the Reds, working to a 8.10 ERA with 6.9 K/9 and 5.4 BB/9 while serving up eight long balls in 36 2/3 innings. He did generate a useful 11.8% swinging-strike rate, though, and has typically drawn a fair number of grounders in the minors.
    • The Nationals reached a minor-league pact with righty Chris Smith, MLBTR’s Steve Adams tweets. He gets an invitation to participate on the majors side of camp next spring. Smith, 29, got a brief taste of the majors last year with the Blue Jays, showing a 93.9 mph average four-seamer. He spent most of the year at Triple-A, where he worked to a 5.40 ERA with 6.3 K/9 and 1.6 BB/9, but Smith has recorded much higher strikeout rates in the upper minors in the past.
    • Lefty Hunter Cervenka was outrighted to Triple-A by the Marlins after clearing waivers. He had been removed from the 40-man roster recently as the organization continues to tweak its mix of MLB assets. Cervenka spent most of 2017 at the Triple-A level, where he pitched to a 4.58 ERA with 8.9 K/9 and 5.9 BB/9. That hefty walk rate has long been a problem for Cervenka, who’ll soon turn 28.
    • The Tigers announced a series of minors signings today. Lefty Will Lamb, infielder Ronny Rodriguez, and outfielders Jason Krizan and Kenny Wilson are all joining the Detroit organization, with Krizan and Rodriguez also taking spring invites. Lamb, 27, has struggled to a 6.06 ERA in 120 1/3 career Triple-A frames, but owns a 2.28 ERA in 90 2/3 innings at the penultimate level of the minors. The 25-year-old Rodriguez brings some infield versatility and pop to the table; he hit .291/.324/.454 with 17 home runs in 483 plate appearances last year at the Indians’ top affiliate. Krizan, 28, will return for his eighth year in the Detroit system; in 2017, he hit .281/.351/.417 in 480 upper-minors plate appearances. Wilson, who’ll soon turn 28 as well, is a speed-and-defense type who has not yet hit enough to earn his way into the big leagues.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Twins Interested In Trevor Rosenthal]]> 2017-12-20T04:24:16Z 2017-12-20T04:24:16Z
  • Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN touched on a number of Twins-related issues in his most recent podcast (audio link, Twins talk beginning at the 3:30 mark). Minnesota was in on Drew Smyly until the end, per Wolfson, before Smyly chose to sign with the Cubs. Minnesota gave an identical two-year, $10MM guarantee to Michael Pineda instead, and they have some interest in working out a two-year agreement with injured reliever Trevor Rosenthal as well. Minnesota has shown no inclination to spent upwards of $9MM on multi-year deals for relievers and doesn’t love the idea of going to six years on Yu Darvish, though the team does maintain strong interest in the righty. Wolfson notes that the trade market could be an avenue for improving the ’pen and/or rotation.
  • ]]>
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Twins Becoming More Optimistic In Darvish Pursuit]]> 2017-12-18T20:08:34Z 2017-12-18T20:08:34Z The Twins “seem determined” to sign one of the top starters on the free-agent market and are showing increased optimism about their chances of landing right-hander Yu Darvish, reports La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Minnesota thinks that Darvish’s relationship with GM Thad Levine and their emerging young core of position players will work in their favor in trying to lure Darvish to Minneapolis. That said, it doesn’t sound as if anything is close on the Darvish front, either. One Twins exec opined to Neal that Darvish could yet take another month to make his decision. Wherever he signs, Darvish’s contract will all but certainly represent a would-be record commitment for the Twins in free agency; the Twins have never signed a free agent for more than Ervin Santana’s four-year, $55MM contract, though Darvish seems unlikely to top the Twins’ franchise record for a contract (Joe Mauer’s $184MM extension coming off his MVP 2009 campaign).

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Twins Sign Taylor Featherston, James Ramsey To Minors Deals]]> 2017-12-18T03:21:52Z 2017-12-18T03:21:52Z
  • The Twins signed infielder Taylor Featherston and outfielder James Ramsey were among those signed to minor league contracts, as per their transactions page.  Featherston has a .477 OPS over 244 career PA with the Angels, Phillies, and Rays, and is best known as a defense-first player, primarily at second base but also seeing significant time at third and shortstop.  Ramsey, chosen 23rd overall by the Cardinals in the 2012 draft, was dealt to Cleveland in a one-for-one trade for Justin Masterson in July 2014 but has since struggled to live up to his early potential.  Ramsey has spent the last three seasons at the Triple-A level for the Indians, Dodgers and Mariners.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Twins Sign Fernando Rodney]]> 2017-12-16T17:21:34Z 2017-12-16T17:05:10Z Dec. 16: Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets some updated details on Rodney’s contract, noting that his $4.5MM guarantee comes in the form of a $4.25MM 2018 salary and a $250K buyout on a 2019 club option. Rodney will also earn an additional $1.5MM if he finishes 55 games in the upcoming season, or $1MM if he makes 65 appearances. In a subsequent tweet, Nightengale further specifies that the reliever will make $300K per five games finished, starting with his 35th game and ending at 55 games.

    Dec. 15: The Twins have announced the signing. Rodney told reporters in a conference call that he was indeed told that he’d have the opportunity to step into the Twins’ ninth-inning vacancy (Twitter link via’s Rhett Bollinger).

    Dec. 14, 10:35am: Mish now corrects his report (via Twitter): Rodney is only promised $4.5MM and can earn another $1.5MM via incentives, it turns out. There’s also an option for the 2019 season, Rhett Bollinger of tweets.

    10:28am: The Twins have struck a deal with free agent righty Fernando Rodney, according to Craig Mish of MLB Network Radio (Twitter links). He’ll receive a $4.5MM guarantee on a one-year term upon passing a physical, becoming the latest in a long line of relievers to secure significant annual salaries in an otherwise sluggish free agent market.

    Fernando Rodney | Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    Rodney is nearing his 41st birthday but still brings a power arsenal to the table and drew interest from multiple organizations. And he has ample experience in the late innings, making it seem likely that he’ll step into the Twins’ open closer role.

    While the veteran hurler managed only a 4.23 ERA on the season in 2017, he did save 39 games for the Diamondbacks. The runs tended to come in bursts, too, as Rodney gave up three or more on five separate occasions but did not allow an opponent to cross the plate in fifty of his 61 appearances.

    Those clean frames don’t often come without baserunners, of course, as Rodney has a long-established penchant for doling out quite a few free passes. He averaged 4.2 per nine in two of the past three seasons and 5.1 per nine in 2016.

    That often makes for an adventure — as it’s familiarly known, The Fernando Rodney Experience — but there are reasons that Rodney is still often effective. He continues to generate strong groundball numbers (52.2% in 2017), doesn’t allow many long balls (0.67 per nine for his career), and still generates a healthy number of swings and misses (12.2% in 2017) with an arsenal predicated on mid-nineties heat and a devastating change.

    [Related: Updated Minnesota Twins depth chart]

    For the time being, Rodney projects to join impressive sophomore Trevor Hildenberger, Ryan Pressly and Tyler Duffey as right-handed options at the back of the Minnesota bullpen, with Taylor Rogers serving as the primary left-handed setup option. Of course, there’s still plenty of room for the Twins to supplement that relief corps both in free agency and on the trade market.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Twins Never Made Formal Offer To Brandon Kintzler]]> 2017-12-15T04:14:05Z 2017-12-15T04:14:05Z
  • The Twins had interest in a reunion with former closer Brandon Kintzler, though Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports (via Twitter) that the team never made a formal offer to Kintzler before he signed with the Nationals.
  • ]]>
    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Twins Unlikely To Trade Brian Dozier]]> 2017-12-15T02:48:41Z 2017-12-15T02:48:41Z
  • The Mets are still looking for help at second base, though they don’t appear to be close on some of the options on the trade market, Mike Puma of the New York Post writes.  Team officials “indicated there was little momentum” in talks with the Phillies on Cesar Hernandez and the Pirates about Josh Harrison, while the Twins are giving the impression that Brian Dozier is unlikely to be dealt.  The BrewersJonathan Villar is available in the wake of his down year, though Villar isn’t seen “as a serious possibility” by the Mets for now.  Looking at outside-the-box possibilities, signing shortstop Zack Cozart and switching him to second base seems like a “long shot” scenario, a source tells Newsday’s Marc Carig (Twitter link).
  • ]]>
    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Multiple Teams Interested In Fernando Rodney]]> 2017-12-14T12:00:51Z 2017-12-14T11:42:11Z 5:42am: The Rangers and Diamondbacks are also in the mix for Rodney, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports tweets.

    5:18am: It’s expected that the Tigers will meet with free agent reliever Fernando Rodney at some point, Jason Beck of reports. They’ll have at least some level of competition; Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press adds that the Twins are in the mix for Rodney as well. Interestingly, Berardino notes that Rodney also met with a Nippon Professional Baseball team, though it appears he’s taken that option off the table.

    Detroit has seen many a lead slip through their fingers in recent years due to bullpen implosions. While Rodney falls short of elite, he’d certainly provide an upgrade to the only bullpen in baseball that finished below replacement level this past season. While Shane Greene was somewhat of a bright spot, the Tigers don’t seem to have many stable relievers beyond him on the depth chart. The rebuilding Tigers probably won’t go after marquee free agent relievers like Greg Holland or Wade Davis, but Rodney would be a cost-effective target who could probably be had on a one-year deal. Detroit is plenty familiar with the right-hander, as he spent the first eight years of his MLB career with the organization.

    Likewise, the Twins’ bullpen finished in the bottom third in most of the important pitching categories. Unlike the Tigers, however, the Twins hope to contend next season and could therefore be more aggressive in pursuit of bullpen help. Just yesterday they were said to have made an offer to a free agent reliever, and one would assume they’re inquiring on plenty of others.

    Rodney will enter the 2018 season at 41 years of age. As Berardino notes in his tweet, he’s number three on the list of active saves leaders. Last season with the Diamondbacks, the righty saved 39 games, albeit with a 4.23 ERA. The scariest thing about putting Rodney on the mound is his tendency to issue free passes; the righty has walked a batter nearly every other inning on average over the past five years (4.44 BB/9).

    Since his MLB debut in 2002, Rodney has pitched for eight different major league clubs. Most of that time was spent with the Tigers, who originally signed him out of the Dominican Republic.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Twins Have Offer Out To FA Reliever]]> 2017-12-14T05:49:15Z 2017-12-14T05:49:15Z
  • The Twins are also seeking bullpen help, and they have an offer out to a free agent reliever, according to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN. That’s not J.J. Hoover, whom they’re uninterested in but who’s “squarely in the mix” for the Brewers, per Wolfson. The Twins also weren’t in on Juan Nicasio before he signed with the Mariners on Wednesday, Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press writes (Twitter links here).
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Pitching Market Chatter: Phils, Yanks, Greinke, Cole, Archer, Duffy, CC, Jays]]> 2017-12-14T00:51:51Z 2017-12-14T00:51:51Z With a pair of relief signings being wrapped up, the Phillies seem to feel good about that aspect of their roster. Per’s Todd Zolecki, via Twitter, the team will turn its gaze to improving the rotation. Both they and the Yankees checked in with the Diamondbacks regarding right-hander Zack Greinke, Robert Murray of FanRag writes. Greinke ending up with either club is unlikely, however, sources informed Murray. With the Rangers also having shown interest in Greinke, we now know at least three teams have inquired about the expensive 34-year-old this offseason.

    Greinke is the latest hurler to land on the radar of the Yankees, who have also eyed Pirates righty Gerrit Cole. Consequently, the Bucs “are gathering names of young, controllable” Yankees they could acquire in a Cole deal, though there’s “nothing close,” Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports (on Twitter). Notably, Brink adds that the Yankees are also “looking at” Rays righty Chris Archer. The 29-year-old has drawn significant interest this winter, but it’s unclear whether the Rays will move him.

    Plenty more pitching rumors…

    • The Royals are giving serious consideration to dealing southpaw Danny Duffy, who’s “extremely popular” on the trade market, Jon Heyman of FanRag tweets. Duffy suggested on Twitter that he doesn’t want to go anywhere, for what it’s worth. “Bury me a Royal,” he declared.
    • As the Blue Jays look for pitching reinforcements, they are giving real consideration to veteran CC Sabathia, as Ben Nicholson-Smith of writes. Though manager John Gibbons suggested his own priority is to add bats, he also said he’d welcome the addition of the veteran Sabathia — who has a lengthy history with the Jays’ current front office leadership stemming from their time in Cleveland together.
    • Teams have given up on trying to acquire Reds closer Raisel Iglesias, Heyman reports on Twitter. The Reds understandably want an enormous haul back for the 27-year-old star, who’s under affordable control for the foreseeable future.
    • The Twins and Rays have chatted about veteran righty Jake Odorizzi, per Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press (via Twitter), who adds that Tampa Bay was not interested in Minnesota’s initial offer.
    • Although they’re at the beginning of a full, cost-cutting rebuild, the Marlins aren’t feeling any urgency to deal righty Dan Straily, per Joe Frisaro of (Twitter link). Miami’s de facto ace will play his first of three arbitration-eligible seasons in 2018. He’s projected to earn a $4.6MM salary, which even the Marlins can afford.
    • The Mets are not likely to sign another free agent reliever, at least in the near term, according to GM Sandy Alderson and as’s Anthony DiComo tweets. Instead, after landing Anthony Swarzak, the organization expects to begin looking to fill its other needs.
    • Brewers GM David Stearns discussed his organization’s situation with reporters including’s Adam McCalvy (Twitter links). He said the team was willing to go to two years to get Swarzak, but wasn’t willing to match the dollar amount he ultimately took. The club still has open payroll capacity, which Stearns says he’ll put to good use. “We have spending power this offseason,” he said. “I’m confident we are going to find places to use that effectively.”
    • Before the Astros agreed to a deal with Joe Smith on Wednesday, Brian McTaggart of hinted on Twitter that the team could have interest in free agent righty Hector Rondon. Whether that still stands remains to be seen, but the Astros are already chock-full of righty relievers as it is.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Pitching Rumblings: Twins, Darvish, Cishek, Cole, Mariners, Liriano, Watson]]> 2017-12-13T22:14:17Z 2017-12-13T19:21:28Z While the market for starters is still fairly slow to develop, relievers have been flying off the board at the Winter Meetings. Here’s the latest chatter on some hurlers from around the game:

    • The Twins are sending signals that they’re serious about their pursuit of free agent righty Yu Darvish. As LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star-Tribune writes, skipper Paul Molitor says the organization has “targeted [Darvish] as somebody we have tremendous interest in.” That follows prior public indications of interest from GM Thad Levine, who, as Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press examines, has a longstanding relationship with Darvish. That piece is well worth a full read, if only for Berardino’s enjoyable chat with catcher Chris Gimenez, who worked closely with Darvish with the Rangers and has played most recently with the Twins.
    • Meanwhile, the Twins are also among the teams looking into righty Steve Cishek, according to Berardino (via Twitter). The sidearmer has been left as one of the top remaining free-agent setup men after a spate of signings at the Winter Meetings. He finished the 2017 season on a strong run with the Rays.
    • The Orioles have at least checked in on Pirates ace Gerrit Cole, according to Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Certainly, Baltimore isn’t the only organization that would love to add Cole, whose name has arisen in chatter a few times in recent days. Whether the Bucs are really ready to deal him isn’t entirely clear; neither is it certain just what the club would seek in return. Yesterday, though, Buster Olney of gave perhaps the clearest indication yet that Pittsburgh may be prepared to strike an agreement, tweeting that there’s a belief from some around the game that Pittsburgh would pull the trigger if the right deal came across its desk.
    • Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto says his team is in the “red zone” on a deal, likely for a reliever, in an appearance on MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM (Twitter link). Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio tweets that Juan Nicasio is a “strongly rumored possibility,” though clearly that’s not a firm connection at this point. And it’s certainly worth noting that the M’s have, in fact, struck agreement on a trade since Dipoto went on the air — though it’s not clear whether the minor acquisition was the one he was referring to. Perhaps Dipoto was giving a nod to that swap, but it’s also possible there’s a more significant move still in store. Regardless, the M’s are clearly focused on pitching, as Dipoto has made clear and TJ Cotterill of the Tacoma News Tribune reports.
    • The Astros are weighing a reunion with lefty Francisco Liriano, according to Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter). Long a starter, the 34-year-old was added by the ’Stros at the 2017 trade deadline and moved into a relief role. He did not exactly thrive in that job initially, allowing seven earned runs and posting an ugly 11:10 K/BB ratio in his 14 1/3 frames over twenty appearances. Liriano will presumably also draw some looks from organizations that would propose to give him a shot at rediscovering his form as a starter.
    • Another lefty, Tony Watson, is a possible target for the Athletics, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. The 32-year-old has plenty of late-inning experience and finished strong after a mid-season swap to the Dodgers. In twenty innings with L.A., Watson posted a 2.70 ERA with 8.1 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Twins Considering Backup Catchers]]> 2017-12-13T16:38:40Z 2017-12-13T16:38:40Z
  • Rosenthal also notes within that piece that the Giants, Blue Jays, Rangers and Twins are all looking for backup catchers as well. Any from that bunch could stand out as a reasonable landing spot for Avila, though he’s stated that his preference is to play for a contender even if it comes at the expense of some playing time. Jonathan Lucroy is the biggest name on the catching market but probably doesn’t wish to serve as a backup option; Rene Rivera, Nick Hundley and Chris Stewart are among the other available catchers.

  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Twins Sign Michael Pineda]]> 2017-12-13T17:05:46Z 2017-12-13T14:44:03Z The Twins have announced a two-year deal with righty Michael Pineda. The former Yankees righty is still working back from Tommy John surgery. He receives a $10MM guarantee, split into consecutive $2MM and $8MM salaries.


    Pineda can also add up to $3MM via incentives, per Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press, on Twitter. He’ll land half a million upon reaching 150 innings and for every ten frames thereafter, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweets, maxing out upon hitting 200 frames.

    Pineda, who turns 29 in January, went under the knife in mid-July of 2017, so he’s certain to miss the bulk of the coming season. But it’s possible he could return late in the year. Clearly, though, the deal is aimed primarily at achieving value in the ensuing campaign.

    Much like Drew Smyly, who went to the Cubs yesterday (also on a $10MM deal), Pineda seems to offer ample upside. Though he carried only a 4.56 ERA over the past three seasons, Pineda has tantalized with his power arsenal and maintained 9.5 K/9 against 2.0 BB/9 in that span.

    Despite sparkling grades from fielding-independent pitching measures, home runs have to this point been a problem that Pineda has not solved. His rate of long balls permitted has steadily risen in each of his four years in the Bronx, topping out in 2017 at 1.87 per nine with a 22.5% HR/FB rate.

    There are also health questions that go beyond the TJ recovery process. Pineda has dealt with significant shoulder problems in the past, though he had recovered to the point that he took the ball 59 times over the 2015-16 campaigns.

    Regardless, it’s an intriguing move for a Minnesota organization that has a few unsettled spots in the current and future rotation. If the club can sustain contention as it did in 2017, it’s also imaginable that Pineda could return somewhat sooner and function as a possible impact reliever down the stretch.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Twins Notes: Darvish, Gimenez, Belisle, Kintzler, Colon, Shaw]]> 2017-12-12T23:06:40Z 2017-12-12T23:06:40Z
  • The Twins have been in touch with their own free agents (including Bartolo Colon, Matt Belisle and Chris Gimenez) as well as the agent of former Twins closer Brandon Kintzler,’s Rhett Bollinger reports (Twitter link).
  • Interestingly, Gimenez has also been answering Yu Darvish’s questions about Minnesota, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.  Gimenez was Darvish’s personal catcher when the two played together for the Rangers.  The Twins are known to be exploring the possibility of making an uncharacteristic big splash by signing Darvish, and the pitcher is apparently also doing his homework on the club.
  • One name apparently not on Minnesota’s target list is veteran reliever Bryan Shaw, as Mike Berardino (Twitter link) reports that the Twins “haven’t shown much interest” in the righty.
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Pitching Market Rumblings: Brewers, Rays, Duffy, Nicasio, Arrieta]]> 2017-12-12T17:59:15Z 2017-12-12T17:28:06Z Starting pitching is in the news this morning, with several notable names being discussed. But there are a whole lot of other moving pieces out there. Let’s run down the latest chatter on the pitching market:

    • The Brewers have chatted with the Rays about their potential rotation trade pieces, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (via Twitter), who cautions that there’s no indication to this point that “any traction was made.” It’s not immediately clear which Tampa Bay hurlers have piqued the interest of the Milwaukee front office, though surely they’d have the trade pieces necessary to swing a deal for just about anyone. Chris Archer remains the big name to watch, though we don’t yet know whether he’s truly available. The Brewers could conceivably have interest in other pitchers, too, including veteran Jake Odorizzi, but it’s all speculation at this stage.
    • Meanwhile, the Brewers are said to have interest in righty Jesse Chavez, Haudricourt also tweets. We heard yesterday the veteran swingman was likely to find a new home this week.
    • Veteran closer Fernando Rodney has met with the Rangers and Twins, per’s TR Sullivan (via Twitter) and Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press (via Twitter). It’s not clear at this point how serious the interest is, though Rodney might conceivably be an option for either club, both of which have largely unsettled ninth-inning plans.
    • Another interesting possibility on the rotation market is Royals lefty Danny Duffy. He has drawn interest from the Cubs, per Robert Murray of Fan Rag. Indeed, K.C. has been contacted by rivals on Duffy and a few other notably interesting assets,’s Jeffrey Flanagan tweets. It’s entirely unclear at this point what kinds of scenarios might be pondered on Duffy, but the Royals will surely want a significant return for a player they only recently extended. His contract runs through 2021 and promises him $60MM. While a DUI arrest and elbow surgery introduce some uncertainty into the situation, from a pure on-field perspective Duffy remains a valuable asset as he nears his 29th birthday.
    • The Mets are among the organizations with interest in free agent righty Juan Nicasio, according to Tyler Kepner of the New York Times (via Twitter). The 31-year-old pitched quite well throughout 2017, both before and after an odd series of August transactions. He ended the year with a 2.61 ERA over 72 1/3 innings, with 9.0 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9.
    • We’ve heard some possibility that the Nationals could have interest in free agent righty Jake Arrieta, and’s Jerry Crasnick tweets that agent Scott Boras is working to sell that potential fit to the team’s ownership. Then again, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post characterizes the Nationals’ interest as “tepid” in a tweet. The division-rival Phillies are reportedly also a possibility, along with several other teams, as we covered this morning. Given that the Nats have an opening in their rotation, it isn’t at all surprising to hear that Boras is pushing for it to be filled by Arrieta; after all, his connection to the organization’s ownership is quite well-established by this point. Of course, adding yet another high-priced starter would carry some pretty notable risk for the organization, so it stands to reason that the club will explore other possibilities before deciding whether to join the pursuit of the 31-year-old Arrieta. Crasnick also takes a broader look at Arrieta’s still-developing market, including an extensive examination of Boras’s marketing strategy.
    • While there is action at the top of the pitching market, the Blue Jays seem to be taking a patient approach, as Ben Nicholson-Smith of writes. While GM Ross Atkins says there’s a lack of depth in the rotation market, he also has indicated no interest in pushing hard to strike a deal. It seems the organization’s inclination remains to seek value in bolstering the rotation depth.
    • For the Diamondbacks, meanwhile, the team may at least be preparing to consider deals involving some fairly surprising players. Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic runs down the team’s options for trade candidates who might free up some payroll space and enable the team to achieve future value. At the top of the list are center fielder A.J. Pollock and lefty Patrick Corbin. Meanwhile, the D-Backs are certainly still looking to field a competitor in the near term as well. They are one team with some level of interest in reliever Seung-Hwan Oh, according to Murray. Oh was not able to match his compelling MLB debut season in 2017, but still posted 8.2 K/9 against 2.0 BB/9 while carrying a 4.10 ERA over 59 1/3 innings.
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Chris Archer Drawing Plenty Of Interest]]> 2017-12-12T05:17:24Z 2017-12-12T05:17:24Z Rays right-hander Chris Archer is drawing widespread interest early in the Winter Meetings, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. The Braves, Brewers, Twins, Cardinals and Cubs are some of the teams eyeing Archer, according to Topkin.

    Given that Archer’s one of the most valuable trade chips in the game, his popularity around the majors isn’t a surprise. He’d surely bring back a significant haul in a deal, thereby helping the Rays improve an already strong farm system, but it’s unclear whether he’ll be among the veterans the payroll-cutting club parts with this offseason. If the long-struggling Rays opt for a rebuild, which they may have to strongly consider in the wake of the division-rival Yankees’ acquisition of Giancarlo Stanton, it could indeed bring about the end of the 29-year-old Archer’s tenure in Tampa Bay.

    Archer has been with the Rays since they acquired him from the Cubs – who, as mentioned, seem to want him back – in a 2011 trade centering on righty Matt Garza. He turned into a front-line starter in 2013, his first full major league season, and has pitched to a 3.63 ERA/3.46 FIP combination with 9.72 K/9 against 2.94 BB/9 in 967 career innings. Archer’s a workhorse, too, having made no fewer than 32 starts four years in a row.

    Archer’s now fresh off his third straight 200-inning season, in which he racked up 201 frames with an ERA (4.07) that doesn’t do justice to his performance. After all, the flamethrowing Archer finished behind only Chris Sale, Robbie Ray and the reigning Cy Young winners – Max Scherzer and Corey Kluber – in K/9 (11.15). He also walked a respectable 2.69 batters per nine and placed seventh among starters in swinging-strike rate (13.4 percent).

    Archer’s track record on the mound is clearly enticing, and the fact that his contract is among the league’s most team-friendly pacts significantly adds to his value. He’s controllable for the next four years for $34MM, including club options for 2020 and ’21. If the Rays do make an earnest bid to move him, then, it’s likely to spark a bidding war.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[FA Rumors: LoMo, Rox, Hunter, Mets, Kintzler, Brewers, O’s, Tigers, Jays]]> 2017-12-11T23:41:02Z 2017-12-11T23:41:02Z The latest free agent rumors…

    • Contrary to a report from Sunday, the Rockies haven’t had any discussions about signing first baseman Logan Morrison, per Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post (Twitter link).
    • Reliever Tommy Hunter has emerged as a “prime target” for the Mets in their search for bullpen help, according to Marc Carig of Newsday (on Twitter). The 31-year-old right-hander was quietly excellent over 58 2/3 innings with the Rays in 2017, recording a 2.61 ERA and putting up 9.82 K/9 against 2.15 BB/9.
    • Count the Diamondbacks among those interested in reliever Brandon Kintzler, tweets ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, who expects the former Twins closer to land a two-year deal. Kintzler suggested last month that his wife is rooting for him to sign with Arizona. The Twins continue to monitor him, and they’ve also checked in on almost every other available pitcher, chief baseball officer Derek Falvey revealed (Twitter link via Rhett Bollinger of
    • Brewers GM David Stearns said Monday that he’s likely to “cross paths” at the Winter Meetings with the agents for second baseman Neil Walker and reliever Anthony Swarzak, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tweets. Walker and Swarzak ended last season with the Brewers after coming over in trades and performed quite well during their short stints in Milwaukee.
    • Although the Orioles badly need starters, they’re not inclined to dole out long deals. GM Dan Duquette suggested to Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun and other reporters Monday that four- to five-year pacts for pitchers generally don’t work out well (Twitter link). On the other hand, Duquette hasn’t closed the door on re-signing righty Chris Tillman, who figures to be an affordable, short-term pickup after enduring a dreadful 2017 (Twitter link via Roch Kubatko of
    • As is the case with Baltimore, the Tigers are in the market for a starter who won’t require a long commitment, GM Al Avila informed reporters (via Evan Woodbery of, on Twitter). Detroit is open to reeling in another starter on a one-year deal to join the just-signed Mike Fiers.
    • The Blue Jays are engaging with multiple starters and relievers, GM Ross Atkins told Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet and other reporters Monday. They “will most likely add an infielder,” too, and are looking at outfielders, Atkins said (Twitter link).
    • The Rangers are considering signing catcher Rene Rivera, per Jon Heyman of FanRag (Twitter link). The righty-hitting Rivera, who was with the Mets and Cubs last year, batted .252/.305/.431 in 237 plate appearances. Behind the plate, he caught an excellent 38 percent of would-be base stealers (10 percent above the league average) and, as has been the case for most of his career, held his own as a framer.
    • Right-hander Jesse Chavez appears likely to sign this week, MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes tweets. The 34-year-old Chavez spent last season with the Angels and posted an ugly 5.35 ERA across 138 innings and 38 appearances (21 starts), though he did log acceptable strikeout and walk rates (7.76 K/9, 2.93 BB/9).
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Twins To Sign Yunior Severino]]> 2017-12-09T02:24:21Z 2017-12-09T02:24:21Z The Twins have reached agreement on a deal with former Braves prospect Yunior Severino, as’s Jesse Sanchez was first to report on Twitter. Severino will receive a $2.5MM bonus, so long as his physical checks out.

    Severino was one of the prospects that was stripped from the Atlanta organization for its international signing violations. Unlike the others, he’ll now receive more in bonus money than he did initially. (He’ll get to keep his initial $1.9MM payout, too.)

    It seems the Twins will be dipping into next year’s pool money for the signing. The ad hoc rules put in place for this group of players allow for teams to use either their current pool or next year’s pool, but not both. Minnesota shipped out a big chunk of its remaining 2017-18 availability on Wednesday in a pair of deals (here and here), leaving insufficient funds to accommodate Severino.

    Severino, a switch-hitting middle infielder who recently turned 18, slashed .286/.345/.444 in his 206 plate appearances in the Gulf Coast League in 2017. He’s known more for his bat, as that showing suggests, but seems to have quite some promise. Indeed, he’ll end up scoring a larger second signing bonus than did the more heralded Kevin Maitan, who signed recently with the Angels for $2.2MM.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Twins Sign Three Players To Minor League Deals]]> 2017-12-08T14:45:55Z 2017-12-08T14:45:55Z
  • The Twins have signed infielders Brock Stassi, Gregorio Petit and Leonardo Reginatto to minor league deals, tweets’s Rhett Bollinger. Stassi, 28, made his big league debut with the Phillies last season, totaling 90 PAs with a .167/.278/.295 batting line and a pair of homers. The first baseman/corner outfielder has a lifetime .261/.354/.407 slash in 638 Triple-A PAs. Petit, 33 this weekend, has a .643 OPS in 426 PAs across parts of five big league seasons and can play second base, shortstop or third base. He’s a .267/.317/.370 hitter in parts of 10 Triple-A seasons. As for Reginatto, the Brazilian-born infielder will return to the Twins for a third season after hitting .303/.369/.390 in a utility role with the Twins’ Triple-A affiliate in 2017.
  • ]]>
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Twins Notes: Marte, Maki]]> 2017-12-08T02:51:34Z 2017-12-08T02:51:34Z
  • Although the Twins voided their contract with Dominican shortstop prospect Jelfry Marte last month after he failed a physical, they still “have a shot” to re-sign the 16-year-old, according to Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press (on Twitter). Marte’s next deal will unsurprisingly come with a lesser bonus than the $3MM the Twins had given him, relays Berardino, who adds that there are “no hard feelings” between the player and the team. The Twins made two trades on Wednesday that reduced their remaining international bonus pool space for 2017-18, but they still have $1.25MM available, Berardino notes.
  • The Twins have hired Pete Maki as their minor league pitching coordinator, Aaron Fitt of reports (on Twitter). Maki had been on Duke University’s staff since July 2015, serving as its pitching coach for two seasons. Duke had a combined four pitchers come off the board in the previous two drafts, the highest being fifth-rounder Bailey Clark (Cubs, No. 164) in 2016.
  • ]]>
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Twins Acquire Jacob Pearson From Angels In Exchange For International Bonus Money]]> 2017-12-07T04:32:57Z 2017-12-07T02:35:17Z 8:35pm: The Twins announced the trade and confirmed that they’re sending $1MM in international allocations.

    8:22pm: Rosenthal tweets that the Angels, like the Mariners, are adding $1MM in their deal with the Twins. That pushes their pool up to $2.315MM.

    8:18pm: After trading away $1MM of their international bonus pool to the Mariners, the Twins are set to trade away another portion of their pool to the Angels in exchange for outfield prospect Jacob Pearson, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports (on Twitter). Minnesota has $2.245MM available to send to Anaheim in the deal. Pearson, Rosenthal notes, was the Angels’ third-round pick in the 2017 draft and received a $1MM signing bonus.

    The Angels still trail the Rangers ($3.535MM) and Mariners ($2.5575MM) in overall international bonus money, but they’re nevertheless positioned to put forth one of the best financial offers to Shohei Ohtani. All four of the NL clubs reported to be among the finalists — the Cubs, Padres, Giants and Dodgers — are capped at a $300K offer as penalization for prior overages in international free agency.

    The Twins will pick up a recent third-rounder who was considered to be the fifth-best prospect in the Angels’ farm, per Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of, and now slots in 22nd among Twins farmhands per those same rankings.

    Pearson, 19, batted just .226/.304/.284 in 40 games this past summer in his pro debut with Anaheim’s Rookie-level Arizona League affiliate. However, Callis and Mayo laud his bat speed in their free scouting report and tout him as a plus runner who will eventually have 20-homer, 20-steal potential. Arm strength is an issue following a torn labrum in high school, Callis and Mayo note, though it’s certainly possible that he improves in that regard as he distances himself from surgery. Pearson played 60 innings in center during his debut campaign and another 278 in left field.