Thursday, November 29, 2012

Tracking 8 Twins Off-Season Stories

Here are a few of the offseason stories swirling as the Winter Meetings approach. Get yourself caught up on all the happenings from the rumor mill. Step up to the table because there are plenty of Twins tidbits to go around. Starting the countdown at number 8:

8. Pat Neshek avoids arbitration with Oakland, signs a one-year deal
Neshek has always been a fan favorite in Minnesota and he had a rebirth with the resurgent A's in 2012. He had plenty to deal with in the past year with the tragedy that struck his family. It is good that he has something positive happen to him and he can hope to improve himself for next season. He is an easy person to root for and I hope he finds continued success in Oakland.

7. Carl Pavano might be looking to return to the Marlins
Pavano pitched in Florida before signing his big deal with the Yankees and reports are that he wouldn't mind a Miami reunion. He has plenty to prove after a rough year in 2012. The big ballpark in Miami might help him to have another productive season but his results from last year make it seem like he is on the downward slide.

6. Denard Span doesn't look like he will be going to Atlanta
The Braves signed BJ Upton to a 5-year, $75 million contract to fill-up one of their outfield spots. Reports say the Braves were discussing signing Upton and trading for Denard Span. Unfortunately, trade talks have stalled with the Twins. It would have been nice for Minnesota to get a pitcher or two back from the Braves but it doesn't sound like it will happen at this point. He could still be on the move to another team during the Winter Meetings.

5. Twins haven't approached Justin Morneau about a contract extension
Morneau's deal is up at the end of the coming season and the club hasn't sat down to discuss the possibility of an extension with their Canadian slugger. There could be a chance the club is looking to deal him this winter and that might be one of the reasons these talks haven't taken place. He made it clear that he loves playing in Minnesota but he knows his recent injury history will play a role in getting a deal done.

4. Francisco Liriano could be back in Minnesota
Sources from the Twins have told the Star Tribune that the left-handed pitcher and his representation have been in contact with the Twins. There are plenty of openings in Minnesota's starting rotation so a player like Liriano might be necessary. It can be assumed that he is looking for a mulit-year contract and that might not be something the Twins are willing to do. Never say never though....

3. Could Joe Mauer be traded to Boston?
The Red Sox dumped a lot of salary at the end of last year and they could be looking to add some pieces this offseason. One of those pieces could be Joe Mauer but as their first baseman since the team is going hard after Mike Napoli. This is complete speculation at this point since there probably isn't much of a chance of the Twins dealing the face of their franchise. If Boston came calling with a good deal, it might be hard for the Twins to ignore. Clearing all of that salary space would be nice for the future.

2. Danny Valencia on the move again
The Red Sox sold Valencia to the Orioles for cash considerations on Wednesday. The 28-year old infielder seemed to be locked in for the Twins at third base after a good rookie season. His bat never looked the same after his first year and the Twins parted ways with him after the emergence of Trevor Plouffe. Maybe Valencia and former infielder Alexi Casilla can start a reunion tour in Baltimore's infield.

1. Friday is deadline day for Duensing, Burton, and Butera
Minnesota has three players eligible for arbitration this year and the deadline to tender them a contract is Friday. Most likely the Twins will certainly want to keep Duensing and Burton around for next year so the only question mark could be Butera. If the Twins want a spot open on the 40-man roster for the Rule 5 Draft, Butera might be the odd man out.

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