Monday, November 28, 2011

Hot Stove Report: Broxton, Nathan, Cuddyer

With the free agent departure of Joe Nathan, the Twins are looking for a new closer for the 2012 season. One of the most intriguing names on the free agent market could be Jonathan Broxton. He has struggled through some injuries during the last two season with the Los Angeles Dodgers. But prior to that in parts of 2009 and 2010, he had been one of the best closers in MLB and he was selected to multiple All-Star appearances. 

The hope for any team signing Broxton to be a closer is that the arthroscopic surgery he had on his elbow in September will clear up his struggles on the field. Because of the injury concerns, Broxton could be a cheap closer option with tons of upside. It would be nice for the Twins to sign him to a reasonable one-year contract with a club option for a second-year. On the other hand with all of the injuries concerns of last season, the Twins might not want to add another question mark to the roster for next year. 

Nathan wanted to go to Texas
In the aftermath of Joe Nathan's exit from the Twins, there have been many different reports that have surfaced about his relationship with his organization of the last eight seasons. The Twins also offered Nathan a two-year deal but it was for less than the $14.5 million he got from the Rangers. It was hard to know what the market would be like for a pitcher who had his fair share of struggles last season. Dave St. Peter made sure to let Twins fans know that the Twins were not given the opportunity to match the offer from Texas.  

There have been some hints that the injury situation this past year was hard to ignore for Nathan. Remember that Nathan had to go to Rochester to rehab during last season and one specific player did not have to make that trip as part of his rehab process. This might be fishing for some kind of reason for Nathan's exit but as Phil Mackey tweeted, "...you see $23 million sidelined for various vague reasons, it's natural to be frustrated." In the end, it came down to Nathan leaving the Twins to sign with a better team for more money than he was offered by Minnesota. 

Cuddyer buzz has died down
A couple of weeks ago it seemed that Michael Cuddyer was almost assuredly going to sign a free agent contract with the Philadelphia Phillies. Much of that buzz has died down in recent weeks and it wasn't helped by the Phillies trading for Ty Wigginton. Another factor in the lack of progress on Cuddyer might be the new collective bargaining agreement. Teams looking to sign Cuddyer were not sure if they would have to forfeit their first round draft pick. The new CBA changed some of the compensation rules and this could changed the market for Cuddyer. Now more team's might be willing to offer a contract to Cuddyer since they won't lose a draft pick over the deal. 

The Boston Red Sox could be one of the teams that would be most interested in signing the versatile Cuddyer to a multi-year contract. The Boston Globe published their suggestion box to the Red Sox and the top name to fill their open spot in right field is Cuddyer. With some of the reports coming out of Boston this offseason, the voice and leadership Cuddyer could bring would be a welcome addition to their clubhouse. According to the article, he also has the "dirt-dog mentality" that would be welcomed in Boston. 

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