Hall Of Famer Rod Carew recently had successful heart and kidney transplant surgery, the Twins have announced. Carew is expected to fully recover. “After a 13-hour procedure that started shortly after midnight Pacific time, Rod is resting in recovery,” the Twins wrote in a statement. “We ask that all of Twins Territory and the entire baseball community keep Rod, his wife Rhonda, and the entire Carew family in your thoughts and prayers as Rod recovers.” We at MLBTR wish Carew and his family the best. Here’s the latest from the Twins organization.
- The Twins are looking for experienced bullpen help, Phil Miller of the Star Tribune writes. The 2016 Twins didn’t have an especially young bullpen, but they did lean hard on less experienced players, including Taylor Rogers, J.T. Chargois, Michael Tonkin and Buddy Boshers. “It seemed as if the Twins had tremendous arms in the bullpen, but not a lot of experience. A lot of young guys coming out of the bullpen into extremely stressful situations,” said new GM Thad Levine at a fan event Wednesday. “We’ve got a lot of plus arms out there, but if you have veterans for the eighth inning, ninth inning, they can shoulder the load and take the stress off the kids.” The team hopes to improve its veteran leadership in the rotation as well, although they might get some veteran pitching help from players they already have — new chief baseball officer Derek Falvey said on Wednesday that the team was hoping for more help in 2017 from closer Glen Perkins and starter Phil Hughes, each of whom missed much of 2016 to injury. Perkins had surgery to repair a torn labrum in June, and Hughes had surgery in July for thoracic outlet syndrome; Miller says Hughes is the further along of the two.
- The Twins also have a good veteran starter in Ervin Santana, although if he winds up in the headlines this winter, it might be because he’s headed elsewhere. The Twins have received calls about Santana, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweets, noting that the Twins (who won just 59 games last season) don’t deem anyone untouchable. That doesn’t mean Santana (who’s controllable at reasonable salaries through 2019, including a team option in the final year) is a great bet to be traded — just last month, the Twins’ new front office understandably characterized Santana as the sort of player they would like to add to, not to deal. Speculatively, though, it wouldn’t be hard to imagine the Twins dealing Santana for younger talent and then adding one or two cheap veterans to replace him in the rotation. Santana would be a particularly attractive trade piece this winter due to the poor free agent market for starting pitching, and it would be easy to imagine a team like the Astros, who have lately been connected to various starting pitching trade candidates, having interest. Given Santana’s years of control remaining, though, keeping him would also be a reasonable route. Santana’s 2016 performance was one of the Twins’ best — he posted a 3.38 ERA, 7.4 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 in 181 1/3 innings.