Twins second baseman Brian Dozier drew trade interest from multiple teams at this week’s GM Meetings, tweets MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. That’s hardly a surprise, considering Dozier finished the season with 42 home runs on a last-place team and is controlled cheaply ($15MM total) for two more seasons. While many rightly tout Dozier’s preposterous second half — he hit 28 home runs and slashed .291/.344/.646 in 72 games following the All-Star break — the 29-year-old has somewhat quietly been playing at a high level for quite some time, averaging 3.5 fWAR and 3.7 rWAR per season from 2013-15. The St. Paul Pioneer Press’ Mike Berardino noted earlier this week that the lack of teams with obvious holes at second base might make it difficult for new Twins CBO Derek Falvey and GM Thad Levine to extract maximum value in a Dozier trade, but it’s still not a shock to see some teams kick the tires.
A few more notes on the Twins…
- Berardino spoke to Falvey and Levine about the likely trade interest that the Twins will receive in right-hander Ervin Santana this winter, and the new Minnesota front office duo didn’t sound especially anxious to move him. “I think we look at him as the anchor of our starting rotation and certainly something we want to build around,” said Levine of Santana, who is owed $28MM over the next two seasons and has a club option for 2019 on his contract as well. “…We think (Santana) is one of the most attractive pitchers that could be in consideration, but we view him as the No. 1 starter on our team. That’s an area we’re trying to build, not subtract from.” Berardino spoke to execs from other teams that said the Twins haven’t been aggressively marketing Santana in trades.
- Also via Berardino (Twitter links), the Twins met with agent Casey Close of Excel Sports Management this week and discussed several of Excel’s free agents, including Joba Chamberlain and possibly fellow right-handed relievers Joe Smith and Shawn Tolleson. Both Chamberlain and Smith pitched with the Indians while Falvey was a member of the team’s front office, and Levine of course is quite familiar with Tolleson, who spent the past three seasons with the Rangers. The Twins are almost certainly casting a wide net when looking at free-agent relievers, so it’s probably early to read too heavily into that trio of relievers. As can be seen in MLBTR’s Agency Database, Excel also reps free agents Alex Avila, Aaron Barrett, Jerry Blevins, Aaron Crow and Brian Matusz. Additionally, Dexter Fowler, Neil Walker, Steve Pearce and Colby Rasmus are all Excel clients, too, although there’s less of a fit in Minnesota for that group.
- Twins closer Glen Perkins, who made just two appearances this season before hitting the disabled list and eventually requiring shoulder surgery, is about four and a half months through what is expected to be a nine-month rehab process, the left-hander tells Phil Miller of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Perkins tried to rehab the injury for three months before ultimately going under the knife and having screws inserted into the labrum of his left shoulder. Perkins conceded that given his age (34 in March) and the severity of the surgery, he’s not sure if he’ll recover all of his velocity, but he expects to be competitive next year and hopes to remain with the Twins beyond his current contract. (Perkins is set to earn $6.5MM next year and has a $6.5MM option for the 2018 season.) “I see myself being a part of this organization for a lot longer than my contract,” he said.
- Also of note from Miller’s column, assistant GM Rob Antony offered praise for the job that right-hander Brandon Kintzler, who inked a minor league deal with the Twins last winter, did upon stepping into the ninth inning out of necessity in 2016. However, Antony suggested that the organization isn’t necessarily expecting Kintzler to reprise that role in 2017. “I’m not sure we see him as a closer,” said Antony, who also acted as the interim GM prior to the hiring of Falvey and Levine. “I don’t think we’ve penciled in anybody.” That would suggest that the Twins could potentially lure a bullpen arm to Minnesota by offering a chance to compete with Perkins and Kintzler for the ninth-inning job.