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Day 3: La Velle E. Neal III's Winter Confidential

  • December 12, 2013 - 1:08 AM

Winter Confidential

La Velle E. Neal III at the winter meetings

– There were many league meetings on Wednesday. Managers met to discuss the new replay system, and many came away concerned that the league hasn’t thought of everything. One concern: What if all challenges have been exhausted but a controversial decision is made in the eighth inning of a close game? Managers want assurance that the play will be reviewed. Twins GM Terry Ryan, a member of the rules committee, said they expect a three-year adjustment process. “They don’t expect it to go smoothly and have it absolutely nailed the first year because there are a lot of things that could come up that we don’t have yet.’’

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The Twins, by the way, did sign someone this week: C.J. Ziegler, a 6-foot-5, 245-pound first baseman who hit .318 with 30 homers and 99 RBI for Class AA Wichita last season. Ziegler, 27, signed a minor league deal.

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One thing that could hurt the Twins’ pursuit of Matt Garza is length of contract. Garza might want up to a five-year deal, and the Twins might not want to go there.

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Ryan also said on Wednesday that he’s willing to give up a draft pick as compensation “in the right situation.’’ The Twins’ first-round pick is protected since they were one of the 10 worst teams in the league, so they would have to give up their second-round pick in the June draft. That could bring such players as shortstop Stephen Drew and outfielder Nelson Cruz into play once Ryan is done looking for starting pitching and starts looking for offense.

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The Rule 5 draft is Thursday, and the Twins will not select a player during the major league phase because they have no room on their 40-man roster. “This is kind of a rarity,’’ Ryan said. The Twins, however, plan to be active in the minor league phase.

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It was nice to see Alex Ochoa, former Twins outfielder, at the hotel on Wednesday. Ochoa, a brilliant defensive player, now works as a recruiter for agent Scott Boras.

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Twins super prospect Byron Buxton will appear here Thursday at the annual Baseball America banquet, where he will accept his award for Minor League Player of the Year.

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