Thursday, December 8, 2011

Cuddyer resolution, Rule 5 Draft emphasized in Dallas

It has been a very active couple of days for Major League Baseball at the Winter Meetings in Dallas. To the chagrin of other teams looking to sign free agents, most of the signing action has led players to South Florida and the Miami Marlins. Jose Reyes, Heath Bell, and Mark Buehrle are the three big names signed so far by the Marlins and they might not be finished with their wheeling and dealing as other rumors continue to swirl.

The Twins came to the Winter Meetings with a couple of items on their wish list. With Joe Nathan leaving as a free agent, the team was looking for a closer for next year. Monday night brought word that the team had resigned former closer Matt Capps to a one-year deal with an option for second year. The other items on the Twins wish list have yet to be resolved as the team looks to sign an outfielder and add depth to their pitching staff. Thursday marks the final day of the meetings and these are just some of the items on the agenda for the Twins as the Winter Meetings wind to a close.

Traditionally on the last day of the Winter Meeting, the Rule 5 Draft is held for teams to take players from other organizations that another club would be willing to place on their 25-man roster.The drafting order is based on the win-loss record of the teams from the previous season. The selection eligibility of players is based on a few different stipulations. Players are eligible for selection in the Rule 5 draft if they are not currently on their major league organization's 40-man roster and:
-were signed at age 19 or older and have been in the organization for four years; or
-were signed at age 18 or younger and have been in the organization for five years

In 2010, the Twins selected Scott Diamond in the Rule 5 Draft but had to work out a trade with the Braves since he wasn't kept on the 25-man roster coming out of Spring Training. The most famous Rule 5 transaction for the Twins was receiving Johan Santana as part of a pre-agreed trade with the Florida Marlins in 1999. Since the Twins will have a high pick in the draft, there is a chance they could get a player who would be able to help out the club next season.

Nate Gilmore over at Puckett's Pond did a great job of profiling some of the choice the Twins have in the Rule 5 Draft. His first post of the day focused on outfielders, pitchers, and catchers but later in the day he showed some love for the middle infielders. The Twins are also in jeopardy of losing a couple of different players from their own organization who were not protected on the 40-man roster. Tom Stuifbergen, Angel Morales, and Mauel Soliman were some names not selected when it came to 40-man roster decisions. Out of those players it seems that Stuifbergen could be the likeliest to find himself with a new organization by Thursday evening. During Talking Twins on Wednesday night, Phil Mackey mentioned the Twins have received trade offers for their pick in the Rule 5 Draft but the club has a pretty good idea about who they want to select.

The other major piece of the Twins offseason puzzle should hopefully be decided before the start of the weekend. Terry Ryan has not met with Michael Cuddyer's agent since Tuesday because both sides know where each other stands at this point. The organization has their best offer on the table for free agent Cuddyer and they are waiting for a response from the player and his agent. According to reports the deal is a three-year offer for $25 million that would keep him with the Twins until he was 35-years old. Cuddyer has been busy this week with his wife giving birth to twins on Tuesday so this could be holding back the final details of the deal.

Many of the other deals the club is looking to make this offseason are hinging on whether or not Cuddyer rejoins the club for next season. Signing Cuddyer would mean the Twins are near the $100 million mark for next season and it seems that number is the magic figure for the 2012 payroll. The team would still be able to make some small moves but it would be cheap offers for players to complete the roster. If Cuddyer chooses to go elsewhere, the Twins could look to free agents Jason Kubel or Josh Willingham or they have been mentioned in talks for a David Murphy trade.

It has been a fun week of non-stop baseball coverage from Dallas but the Twins still have things to cross off their list in the final hours of the Winter Meetings.

No comments: