Former Twin Jim Thome signed $1.25 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies over the weekend in a move that was surprising to many. With his age and back issues, there is little chance he will be asked to play in the field. He will be relegated to the role of pinch hitter with another player then taking over for him on the base path. Thome does provide a powerful bat off of the bench and the Phillies could be the team to lead him to the title he has sought for his entire career.
With Thome making his way back to the City of Brotherly Love, reports soon swirled that the Phillies were also pushing hard for the services of free agent Michael Cuddyer. Thome and Cuddyer have struck up quite the friendship in the past couple seasons and it's not too hard to imagine seeing the two on the same roster for next season. With Ryan Howard out for the first part of next season, Cuddyer's versatility to play first base would be critical to Philadelphia. The Phillies would provide both of these players an avenue to the playoffs and a chance at a title before they retire.
For the last few months, speculation has trickled out that the Colorado Rockies have a strong interest in Cuddyer. With the news mentioned above that came out of Philadelphia over the weekend, the Rockies might be out of the running for Cuddyer. The Phillies higher payroll means they can offer a much higher contract and the Rockies don't want to get in a bidding war with a big market club. It seems that after being the early frontrunners, the Rockies are now a long shot to land Cuddyer. The Twins might also be a long shot at this point with word coming out that even if they make the best offer to Cuddyer, he could refuse it.
Twins fans may still want to keep an eye on the Rockies even if they are out of the Cuddyer free agent sweepstakes. The top members of the Rockies organization met last week to plan out their path for the offseason. It seems that the Rockies are very interested in trading for starting pitching for next season. The Twins have a plethora of pitchers who have experience with starting games. The names of Carl Pavano and Kevin Slowey came out of their organizational meetings as possible trade candidates.
It is interesting to note that Parker Hageman release his offseason blueprint for the Twins and in it he had the Twins trading Slowey to the aforementioned Rockies for catcher Chris Iannetta. This looks like it could be a very real possibility at this point. Twins beat writer for MLB.com, Rhett Bollinger said at the beginning of last week that the Twins might be in line to non-tender Slowey and make him a free agent. Obviously if there was a team interested in a trade, the Twins could tender him a contract and then deal him to fill another need. It seems that there is very little chance that Slowey will be on the Opening Day roster of the Minnesota Twins.
Two other free agent names on the radars of Twins fans are shortstop Clint Barmes and catcher Ryan Doumit. Barmes is a tremendous defensive shortstop who can show a little bit of pop with his bat. Doumit is a switch hitting catcher who could relieve Joe Mauer behind the plate and be an upgrade over Drew Butera. Unfortunately, it seems that at this early portion of the free agent period, the Twins have failed to get in contact with either of these players. In my offseason blueprint, I had the Twins adding Barmes and it would have been nice for the organization to aggressively approach him to get a deal in place.