Trevor Plouffe Rumors
It's been relatively quiet for the American League Central so far today, but here are some late-night rumblings surrounding the division...
- The Twins are closing in on adding someone to give Trevor Plouffe competition at third base, writes 1500 ESPN's Phil Mackey. Twins GM Terry Ryan said that piece could be in place before the end of the Winter Meetings. Mackey writes that it's probably a solid glove at a reasonable salary, given the Twins' desire to spend nearly all of their offseason budget on the rotation.
- White Sox GM Rick Hahn says the team is still actively pursuing A.J. Pierzynski, but he's comfortable with Tyler Flowers opening the season as the everyday catcher (Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune reporting). Hahn says he'd be confident with Flowers and Hector Gimenez as the team's backstop tandem in 2013.
- Flowers was quite frank when talking to reporters, including Chuck Garfien of CSNChicago.com. He said flatly that he hopes Pierzynski will not be retained, though he hopes the best for his former teammate. Said Flowers: “I have no intentions of being a backup catcher the rest of my career. My career is getting shorter and shorter everyday that goes by. So I feel like I’d like the chance to be a starter.”
- Earlier today it was reported that Joe Blanton, Kevin Correia and Brett Myers are on the Twins' radar.
The Twins wrapped up their organizational meetings late last week, and Phil Mackey of 1500ESPN.com has the highlights. Mackey writes that the Twins' front office officials are embarrassed by the past two seasons, and that the majority of the team's offseason budget will be spent on starting pitching.
Mackey goes on to say that while the Twins' goal is to add three starters to what was a dreadful rotation in 2012, the team hasn't necessarily ruled out pursuing top arms like Zack Greinke. It's more likely that they'll pursue a handful of solid starters that can be counted on for quality starts and to spare the bullpen, however.
Of players on the current roster, only Scott Diamond will be penciled in for a rotation spot in 2013. The Twins are hopeful that Nick Blackburn will rediscover himself to provide some form of value next season, but his $5.5MM salary won't guarantee that he earns a chance. Blackburn was removed from the 40-man roster earlier this season.
In addition to free agency, trades will very much be in play for general manager Terry Ryan. Mackey writes that no one, aside from Joe Mauer (who has a full no-trade clause), will be off limits on the trade market.
The Twins also aren't convinced that Trevor Plouffe, who cracked 24 homers in 2012, is the answer at third base, but it sounds like that situation has taken a backseat to improving the rotation.
Only the Rockies had a worse collective ERA than the 5.40 mark posted by Twins' starters this season. According to Fangraphs, the Twins' rotation was worth a meager 3.1 wins above replacement -- easily the worst mark in all of baseball. Diamond was the team's lone bright spot, as the 25-year-old broke out with a 3.54 ERA in 173 innings.
In addition to Greinke, the free agent market includes names like Anibal Sanchez, Brandon McCarthy, Shaun Marcum and Ryan Dempster. Jake Peavy and Dan Haren are also expected to become free agents after their options are declined. MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith recently featured the Twins in his Offseason Outlook series.
On this date 20 years ago the Mets sent right-hander David Cone to the Blue Jays for 24-year-old second baseman Jeff Kent. Cone helped Toronto win the first of two consecutive World Series titles and Kent went on to become a borderline Hall of Famer (though he spent his most productive seasons in San Francisco). Here are today’s links as we await the next major trade of the 2012 season...
- Alan Blondin of the Houston Chronicle writes that Roger Clemens called his recent performance for the Sugar Land Skeeters a favor to Skeeters manager Gary Gaetti. Clemens told Blondin he doesn't have plans for further pitching performances, but cautioned, "That could change in a couple days."
- Twins general manager Terry Ryan feels that now is the time for Trevor Plouffe to step up and establish himself as the team's long-term answer at third base, writes Phil Mackey of 1500 ESPN. Mackey quotes Ryan as saying Plouffe "[has] the rest of the year" to show the Twins that third base isn't a position they need to address.
- Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson and general manager Kevin Towers told Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic that they don’t regret trading Stephen Drew to Oakland, even though Willie Bloomquist experienced a setback in his return from a back injury. “No. We wanted to see what [Jake] Elmore was capable of doing,” Towers said. “He’s held his own, I think, defensively out there.”
- David Ortiz, a free agent this offseason, wants to re-sign with the Red Sox, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com. “This is what I know and this is something I want to be part of,” Ortiz said.
- The Athletics and Astros have improved their farm systems considerably in the last year, Jim Callis of Baseball America writes in this week’s edition of Ask BA.
- The Blue Jays should have publicly told the Red Sox that manager John Farrell is off-limits long ago, Shi Davidi writes at Sportsnet.ca. The Blue Jays have failed to limit speculation about the possibility of Farrell returning to Boston, Davidi writes. Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos has said the Blue Jays won’t announce an extension with Farrell, even if the sides agree to one.
Some links on this Sunday afternoon..
- In an interview with "Sunday Morning SportsTalk," Twins GM Terry Ryan indicated that Trevor Plouffe will likely play in the outfield and DH in 2012, writes Phil Mackey of 1500ESPN.com. Mackey (via Twitter) sees this as a sign that Michael Cuddyer won't be back in Minnesota.
- Regardless of what Albert Pujols decides to do this winter, Cardinals GM John Mozeliak doesn't envision making major changes to the team's core, writes Joe Strauss of the Post-Dispatch.
- The Phillies can’t keep adding and retaining the biggest, most expensive stars, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The club's signing of Jonathan Papelbon to a four-year, $50MM deal could hamper them both in the short-term and long-term.
- The Dodgers can fetch a record price tag of $1 billion can be expected for the organization, Dodger Stadium and the surrounding real estate, writes Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com. One of the biggest reasons for the team's value is all of the undeveloped real estate surrounding Dodger Stadium, which sits on 275 acres of land that is largely used for parking.
Major league executives told ESPN.com's Jayson Stark which starters they would most want to have for the next ten years. Zack Greinke and Tim Lincecum didn't make the cut, but Felix Hernandez, Josh Johnson, Ubaldo Jimenez, David Price, Brett Anderson and Jon Lester did. Here are Stark's latest rumors, as the trade market starts taking shape:
- Two teams say that the Orioles would listen on Kevin Millwood right now.
- A rival executive says the Orioles are "sniffing around for a shortstop." Stark hears rumors that they have interest in Twins prospect Trevor Plouffe.
- The Mariners won't seriously consider trading Cliff Lee before they're sure they can't salvage their season.
- There's increasing pessimism that the Astros will be able to obtain salary relief and prospects for Roy Oswalt.
- Teams are giving up on acquiring Adrian Gonzalez this summer, since the Padres continue to win.
- Two officials believe Heath Bell could be traded even if the Padres stay in contention. Check out this post from earlier in the week for more on Bell's trade value.
- Tom Gorzelanny could be on the market in a couple weeks when John Grabow comes off the DL.
- Stark hears that the Marlins will call Mike Stanton up next week. The Marlins are being cautious, since they want to prevent Stanton from obtaining super two status and teams believe the cut-off will be later than ever this year.
- Stark's sources don't expect the Angels to start searching for a bat to replace Kendry Morales for a few weeks. When they begin looking for offense, they're expected to look for someone who is about to hit free agency or a versatile player who can defend around the diamond. Kendry Morales is under team control through 2013, so Prince Fielder wouldn't be a fit for the Angels.