The latest buzz from the Twin Cities…
- The Twins made the Rays a trade offer involving Chris Archer “as recently as two weeks ago,” La Valle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. The two clubs have often been linked in rumors this winter as Minnesota explores seemingly all free agent and trade options for starting pitching, with Archer and fellow Ray Jake Odorizzi both drawing attention from the Twins. Earlier reports stated that the Rays had interest in Max Kepler, and Neal notes that Kepler would be likely be targeted “as part of any package for Archer.” Of course, it remains to be seen if the Twins or any team can meet the Rays’ enormous asking price for the controllable young ace; Archer said last month that he feels that he’ll still be pitching in Tampa Bay in the coming season.
- Also from Neal’s piece, he lists several other free agent pitching options for the Twins, though Jake Arrieta doesn’t appear to be a likely candidate. “The Twins’ chances of signing Arrieta…are remote,” Neal writes. While Minnesota was willing to offer a five-year, $100MM+ deal to Yu Darvish, it doesn’t look like the club is willing to make such a splurge for Arrieta, and will instead look at less-expensive options.
- Major League Baseball’s investigation into assault accusations leveled against Miguel Sano isn’t likely to be completed before the Twins begin full Spring Training exercises, Brian Murphy of the St. Paul Pioneer Press writes. Past league investigations (as per the domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse policy) have varied in length, so there isn’t any clear timeline for when the results of the Sano case could be made public.
- With his career as a starting pitcher faltering in 2013, Zach Duke decided to embrace being a reliever after some blunt words from his wife Kristin, the newly-signed Twin tells Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “She kind of had to beat it through my head that I was done as a starter,” Duke said. “My wife just kind of said, ’Listen, nobody is interested in you as a starter anymore. They’ve seen it, babe. There’s nothing changing. They know what they’re going to get as a starter, and nobody wants it anymore.’ ” Kristin’s advice ended up turning her husband’s career around, particularly after a late-season run of success out of the Reds’ bullpen in 2013. Over the last four seasons, Duke has a 2.85 ERA, 2.62 K/BB rate and a 10.0 K/9 over 198 2/3 relief innings.