La Velle E. Neal III Rumors

Angels In Need Of Another Arm?

At the end of his most recent column Ken Rosenthal posits a nightmare scenario for the Angles, going back to 2001 when the Mariners cracked out to a 20-4 start to seize the AL West crown before May Day. With John Lackey and Kelvim Escobar on the shelf for at least 4-6 weeks, should the Angels be concerned going into 2008? Is a move to pick up an extra starter in order?

The team is looking at filling 14-16 starts. With a surplus of outfielders the Angels are certainly in position to make a move. They could opt for a back of rotation innings eater like the Brewers Chris Capuano or the Reds’ Matt Belisle. Or, the team could really make a splash and dive head first into the Joe Blanton sweepstakes. David Bush might fill out the rotation nicely, through April and beyond.

Another possibility is a move toward the scrap heap, which got a slight upgrade this past week with the addition of Horacio Ramirez. Think Horacio might like a shot at the April 11 contest up at Safeco? How about reuniting brothers Jeff and Jared Weaver for one last sentimental run? And then there’s always the possibility of getting Southern Cali comfort David Wells off the couch for a month or two of solid work.

The LA Times sees General Manager Tony Reagins looking in-house to try and bridge the gap. Lefty Joe Saunders and righty Ervin Santana become your No. 3 and 4 starters, and Dustin Moseley, who made eight starts for the team in 2007, becomes your No. 5. Pencil in young gun Nick Adenhart for an outside shot at getting some innings, if not as a starter possibly as a long-reliever.

Aaron Shinsano writes for East Windup Chronicle.


Neal On Santana Staying

La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune was recently named Rumor Royalty for the Twins.  As part of the feature, he answered a few questions for MLBTR.

MLBTR: In your estimation what is the percent likelihood that Johan Santana stays with the Twins for all of ’08 and Bill Smith just collects the draft picks?  I imagine fans wouldn’t mind seeing Johan and Francisco Liriano paired up one last time.

Neal: I would guess 10 percent – and some people would say that’s too high. The Twins had to deal with Torii Hunter‘s lame duck season last year and, while it would be entertaining to watch Santana work his craft during a walk year, the Twins would be criticized all season for not dealing Santana to get players who could fill holes on the major league roster and boost the minor league system.


Neal On Garza Trade

I recently named La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune as Rumor Royalty for the Twins.  He answered a few questions for MLBTR.

MLBTR: Given the loss of Carlos Silva and probable trade of Santana, was it wise for the Twins to send Matt Garza to the Rays?

Neal: The Twins needed to address their offense. They were deficient last season at third base, left field and, on the days Joe Mauer wasn’t available, designated hitter. Scouts from other organizations keep talking about Delmon Young‘s 40-homer potential, and it was nice to hear Brendan Harris say, "everyone has to pull their weight at the dish," on the day of the trade. I’ve covered this team for 10 years and have seen a lot of bad offense.

You can’t blame the Twins for not re-signing Silva, but you wonder why they didn’t trade him during the season when the Phillies and other teams were interested.



Neal On Johan Santana Talks

I recently named La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune as Rumor Royalty for the Twins.  He answered a few questions for MLBTR, so let’s kick it off.

MLBTR: Are you sick of the Johan Santana saga yet?  These talks have been dragging for a month after it seemed like something would get done at the Winter Meetings.  Who will cave in – the Twins, Yankees, Mets, or Red Sox?

Neal: Can’t wait for this to end! I think the Twins have sent out signals in recent weeks that they have lowered their demands some in order to get something done. I initially felt that the Red Sox had the best chance to land Santana because I kept hearing how well talks were going. Then I thought the Yankees would step up and make the deal because they have a greater need for a front line starter than Boston. But the Mets have a greater need than the Yankees, and as soon as the Twins indicated that they would accept a deal with the Mets without Jose Reyes being involved the Mets’ chances shot upward.

I don’t blame a team for holding out to get what they want, but Santana will require a hefty contract extension wherever he winds up. A team won’t empty its roster and take on salary. So get what you can and move on.


Rumor Royalty: La Velle E. Neal III (Twins)

As originally described here, Rumor Royalty is an MLBTR series where I name the one journalist for each team who has done the most for us hot stove junkies.  If the writer is up for it, I ask that person questions for publication on the site.  You can see all of the entries in the series here.

Today we present the honor for the Twins to La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.  You may also know him by the nickname LEN3, which I first saw on Aaron Gleeman’s site.  In addition to filing stories as the Twins’ beat writer, La Velle keeps a blog for the paper.  This has become an invaluable resource, especially for Johan updates.  La Velle kindly answered three Twins questions for MLBTR, which will be appear over the next few days.