Clay Condrey Rumors

Examining Minnesota’s Bullpen

It’s not easy to imagine a bullpen with more question marks than Minnesota’s. That's not to say the Twins don’t have quality relievers, it’s just hard to predict which ones will return in 2011. Kelly Thesier of breaks down the team’s bullpen, which includes six free agents and a non-tender candidate.

Matt Guerrier, Jesse Crain, Jon Rauch, Brian Fuentes, Ron Mahay and Randy Flores all hit free agency but they won’t all return. Thesier says the Twins are not likely to keep Mahay or Flores and seem most likely to target Crain and Guerrier.

Crain, who ranks as a Type B free agent, says he loves Minnesota but would like the chance to close. That won’t happen if he stays put, since Joe Nathan should return from Tommy John surgery next year. Matt Capps, who saved 42 games in 2010, figures to be next in line for saves.

The Nathan-Capps duo promises to be effective, but it will definitely be expensive. Nathan earns $11.25MM next year and Capps will get a raise from his $3.5MM salary through arbitration.

If the Twins lose certain pitchers after offering arbitration, they could gain picks in next year’s draft. Crain, Rauch and Fuentes rank as Type B free agents and could each bring the Twins a supplementary first round pick. Guerrier is a Type A free agent, so the Twins would get two top picks if he leaves after declining arbitration.

Clay Condrey, who didn’t pitch in 2010 due to elbow problems, is a non-tender candidate. Despite all the uncertainty in the 'pen, Bill Smith & Co. head into the offseason with a more stable rotation.

Twins Agree To Terms With Clay Condrey

The Twins agreed to terms with reliever Clay Condrey, according to a team press release.  The communication also notes that Bobby Keppel, whose release was reported yesterday, will join the Nippon Ham Fighters in Japan.

Condrey, 34, posted a 3.00 ERA, 5.4 K/9, and 3.0 BB/9 in 42 innings for the Phillies this year, missing time with an oblique strain.  Condrey's 55.3% groundball rate was among the best for free agent relievers.  The Phillies non-tendered him on December 12th.  Since Condrey has four years of service time, the Twins will have the option of retaining him for 2011 as an arbitration-eligible player.

Overnight Links: Myers, Castillo, Verlander, Padres

As we gear up for another long night, here's some links to take a look at if you're still awake:

  • Paul Hagen questions the Phillies' logic when refusing to look at bringing Brett Myers back. The Phils are looking for an inexpensive fifth starter candidate; Myers fits the bill and brings plenty of upside. Do they feel he's just not worth the trouble anymore?
  • Ben Shpigel explains why, in spite of a resurgent season from Luis Castillo, and in spite of the Mets' feeling that his contract is better than that of Milton Bradley, Pat Burrell, Juan Pierre, and Gary Matthews Jr., they're still looking to move him.
  • Michael Rosenberg of the Detroit Free Press feels the Tigers must do whatever it takes to keep Justin Verlander in Detroit for as long as possible. Rosenberg makes the interesting point that with one more dominant season, Verlander could put the Tigers in a similar position that Johan Santana put the Twins, though he concedes that Verlander's not as good. At least not yet.
  • Corey Brock tells us that new Padres GM celebrated his 36th birthday by kicking off the Winter Meetings and fielding calls on about "half a dozen" of his players, including Heath Bell, who could be due as much as $5MM through arbitration. Still, Brock suggests the Padres would prefer to keep Bell.
  • The Phillies payroll for 2010 will likely be around $140MM, says David Murphy. He also quotes Ruben Amaro Jr., implying that Chad Durbin and Clay Condrey will be tendered contracts.
  • Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer says that the Indians could look to trade Kerry Wood during the Winter Meetings, but then discusses why it might be smarter to wait until midseason.
  •'s Brian McTaggart feels that Jose Valverde's probable departure is probably for the best, given the economics of the situation. 
  • Danny Knobler at CBS Sports explains why the Pirates would even bother showing interest in Juan Pierre, whom they were linked to last night.
  • Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Sun-Times says White Sox GM Kenny Williams declined to comment on the Roy Halladay sweepstakes, and implies that Hideki Matsui may not be a fit for the South Siders, even if Carlos Quentin moves to right field. Scott Podsednik, however, may still fit.
  • Aaron Gleeman looks at what it means to the Twins to have Carl Pavano back for 2010. Gleeman says Pavano's a better fit than past veteran starters the Twins have tried, as well as a safer bet than signing Jarrod Washburn to multiple years.