La Velle E. Neal III has covered baseball for the Star Tribune since 1998 (the post-Knoblauch era). Born and raised in Chicago, he grew up following the White Sox and hating the Cubs. He attended both the University of Illinois and Illinois-Chicago and began his baseball writing career at the Kansas City Star. He can be heard occasionally on KFAN radio, lending his great baseball mind to Paul Allen and other hosts. Mark Rosen borrows him occasionally for WCCO-TV.

Phil Miller covered three seasons of Twins baseball, but that was at a different ballpark for a different newspaper. Now Miller returns to the baseball beat after joining the Star Tribune as the Gopher football writer in 2010, and he won't miss the dingy dome for a minute. In addition to the Twins and Gophers, Miller covered the Utah Jazz and the NBA for six years at The Salt Lake Tribune.

Twins might not be done looking at pitchers, plus plenty of other notes

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: December 26, 2012 - 3:02 PM


After adding Vance Worley, Kevin Correia and Mike Pelfrey to the starting rotation, and signing Rich Harden to a minor league deal with hopes he can contribute in 2013, the Twins appear to be done shopping for pitchers.

Not so fast.

"I wouldn't say we're done," assistant General Manager Rob Antony said. "I wouldn't say were pushing hard. We have our feelers out there. If the situation is right, we could do something else. If not, we're O.K. too.''

Indications are that they are not going to hand out the two-year deal for $14-15 million that has become the rage this offseason (see Brandon McCarthy, Joe Blanton and Francisco Liriano).  They will let Joe Saunders walk if that is the case. Same for Brett Myers and Shawn Marcum (there are health issues with Marcum too).

But if the offseason continues and the those pitchers remain unsigned, the Twins will take a harder look at them if they lower their demands. Despite having money to spend (they could open the season with a payroll in the low $80M range) they are not going to pay what they think is too much for average pitching.

Let's see how this plays out.

Here are some other notes on the day after Christmas:

THE TWINS' THINKING ON PITCHING

I'm not asserting that the Twins made a good move or not, but their approach to Kevin Correia is their classic move.

The Twins see value in Correia making at least 26 starts in each of the previous four seasons. They feel he was on his way to 190-plus innings last season when the Pirates dealt for Wandy Rodriguez for the stretch drive and bumped Correia to the bullpen. To them, $5 million a year for a back of a rotation guy is reasonable.

Now, Correia has to prove he can pitch in this league and in a park that's not as pitcher-friendly as PNC Park. The Jason Marquis experiment was a disaster last season, so there's concerns about Correia attempting to make a similar jump. But the Twins believe that Correia has a little bulldog in him and will go at hitters and get them to put the ball in play.

Based on their thinking, giving McCarthy $15 million over two years isn't wise. McCarthy has not thrown more than 170 innings in a season and has had injuries (not counting the line drive off his noggin last year).

So let's watch how Correia and McCarthy fare in 2013. McCarthy has the potential to be very good. Correia has been reliable. Who will have the better season?

My take: If you want to stick to your guns and not pay McCarthy because of health concerns or not pay Edwin Jackson because $13 million a year is too much for a career .500 pitcher, that's fine. But keep in mind that if all the cool kids are doing it and you don't take a chance once in awhile, you'll be stuck on an island alone with your principles when it's time to dance.

One of these years, the Twins have to take the plunge.

PACKED CAMP

I need to clarify that the Twins have 34 pitchers coming to camp in February.

They have 22 pitchers on their 40-man roster who automatically get to report with the major leaguers. Last week, the Twins signed Harden and announced that righthanders Bryan Augenstein, Nick Blackburn, Deolis Guerra, Alex Meyer, Lester Oliveros and Anthony Slama were being invited to camp.

But there's more. Over a month ago, the Twins announced that right-handed pitchers Samuel Deduno, Shairon Martis, Luis Perdomo, Esmerling Vasquez and P.J. Walters were invited to camp as well. That's what I failed to mention last week.

So the Twins will have a record 34 pitchers in camp in February, one more than last spring.

WINTER LEAGUE UPDATES

Miguel Sano is batting .265 with 4 homers and 14 RBI for Estrellas of the Dominican Winter League. Not great numbers - and he's not playing every day - but the Twins are pleased. "Any time you can get playing time at age 19 in a league like that, it's a good thing," Twins GM Terry Ryan said last week. "He's holding his own down there."

Eddie Rosario is balling in Puerto Rico. He went 3-for-5 with a home run on Saturday and was a triple shy of the cycle. His .349 batting average is second in the league to go with his four homers and 15 RBI. He's playing the outfield in winter ball but the Twins intend to keep him at second base, where his bat could really be an asset.

Chris Colabello spent seven seasons in independent ball before signing with Class AA New Britain last season, going .284-19-98. He's gone nuts in the Mexican League, going .332-17-44 in 57 games. He's third in batting, tied for third in home runs and first in slugging percentage. Remember, this is the Mexican League. And Colabello is 29 and hasn't played above Class AA.

I have a friend who reads the Latin papers for winter ball news. Drew Butera had to leave Estrellas because of bronchitis but returned to the club a few weeks later. My friend said the papers made a big deal about about Butera returning to help the cause.

You can look up stats of every Twins player in an offseason league here.

Etc.

The Twins, as of now, have 66 players scheduled to report to camp. That's 34 pitchers and 32 position players. Add 22 coaches and that's 88 people in uniform - close to a numbers crunch.

The Twins will hand out 88 uniform numbers but have eight retired numbers. That's 96. There will be some 93's 94's and 95's handed out this spring.

Ryan Doumit will take over Steve Liddle's old No. 9.

Oliveros will be at camp but will be rehabbing from Tommy John surgery he had in August.

One more thing. With Pelfrey, Diamond and Correia all being ground ball pitchers, the Twins' need to make sure they have reliable fielders behind them.


 

ADVERTISEMENT

Golden State 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Oklahoma City 9:30 PM
Phoenix
Vancouver 1 2nd Prd
Buffalo 1
Arizona 3 2nd Prd
NY Rangers 1
Montreal 3 2nd Prd
Columbus 1
Philadelphia 0 1st Prd 10:55
Toronto 0
Chicago 1 1st Prd 9:08
Florida 0
St. Louis 7:00 PM
Winnipeg
Minnesota 7:30 PM
Nashville
Ottawa 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Detroit 9:30 PM
San Jose
Northern Ky 78 FINAL
Kennesaw St 53
East Tenn St 71 2nd Half 0:48
Citadel 69
Winthrop 25 2nd Half
Campbell 30
Delaware 35 2nd Half
Drexel 28
Jacksonville St 23 2nd Half
Eastern Ky 29
Northeastern 27 2nd Half
Elon 28
Sacred Heart 44 2nd Half
Fair-Dickinson 40
Western Carolina 24 2nd Half
Furman 19
Char Southern 37 2nd Half
Gardner-Webb 44
Western Ill 25 2nd Half
IUPUI 34
Nebraska Omaha 28 2nd Half
IUPU-Ft Wayne 36
Radford 30 2nd Half
Liberty 32
St Francis-NY 25 1st Half 1:08
Long Island 28
Wofford 35 2nd Half
Mercer 25
Minnesota 36 2nd Half
Michigan State 41
High Point 42 2nd Half
UNC-Asheville 41
Samford 33 2nd Half
UNC Greensboro 36
Nebraska 24 2nd Half
Ohio State 42
Wagner 29 2nd Half
Robert Morris 44
Mount St Marys 26 2nd Half
St Francis-PA 30
Houston 34 2nd Half
Temple 29
Vanderbilt 19 2nd Half
Tennessee 30
Chattanooga 31 2nd Half
Va Military 36
Milwaukee 26 2nd Half
Wright State 28
Coastal Carolina 23 2nd Half
Presbyterian 34
Central Conn St 34 2nd Half
Bryant 29
Ga Southern 16 1st Half 11:01
Appalachian St 2
SIU Edwardsville 7:00 PM
Austin Peay
Green Bay 7:00 PM
Ill-Chicago
Texas-El Paso 7:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
FIU 7:00 PM
Marshall
Rider 7:00 PM
Monmouth
Eastern Ill 7:00 PM
Murray State
Charlotte 7:00 PM
North Texas
North Dakota St 7:00 PM
Oral Roberts
Old Dominion 7:00 PM
Rice
TX-San Antonio 7:00 PM
Southern Miss
UT Martin 7:00 PM
Tennessee St
Fla Atlantic 7:00 PM
Western Ky
Northern Ariz 7:00 PM
North Dakota
Grand Canyon 7:05 PM
Chicago State
Utah Valley U 7:05 PM
UMKC
ULM 7:05 PM
South Alabama
Texas-Arlington 7:30 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 7:30 PM
Ark-Little Rock
Troy 7:30 PM
Texas State
Arizona 8:00 PM
Colorado
SMU 8:00 PM
Memphis
Tenn Tech 8:00 PM
Morehead State
Rutgers 8:00 PM
Purdue
Southern Utah 8:00 PM
Northern Colorado
Montana State 8:05 PM
Eastern Wash
UC Davis 9:00 PM
UC Santa Barbara
UC Irvine 9:00 PM
Cal Poly
Cal State Fullerton 9:00 PM
CS-Northridge
Montana 9:00 PM
Idaho
BYU 9:00 PM
Portland
Pacific 9:00 PM
Santa Clara
Arizona State 9:30 PM
Utah
San Diego 10:00 PM
Gonzaga
St Marys-CA 10:00 PM
San Francisco
Oregon State 10:00 PM
Stanford
Long Beach State 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Rice 68 FINAL
Old Dominion 83
Manhattan 67 FINAL
Monmouth 84
Georgia Southern 39 FINAL
Appalachian St 66
Marshall 74 FINAL
FIU 50
TX-Arlington 60 2nd Half 0:38
Arkansas State 63
ULM 40 2nd Half 1:28
South Alabama 34
Troy 54 2nd Half 8:35
Texas State 48
Georgia State 33 2nd Half 15:00
Ark-Little Rock 43
William & Mary 45 2nd Half
Coll of Charleston 33
Delaware 34 2nd Half
UNC-Wilmington 22
UMBC 13 1st Half 1:51
Maine 26
UMass Lowell 30 2nd Half
Vermont 25
Albany 27 2nd Half
Hartford 18
Stony Brook 30 2nd Half
Binghamton 28
Boston College 31 2nd Half
(8) Louisville 46
(23) Syracuse 33 2nd Half
Clemson 23
(16) Duke 19 2nd Half
Georgia Tech 33
Florida 22 1st Half 0:10
Alabama 25
NC State 27 2nd Half
(9) Florida State 39
Miami-Florida 33 2nd Half
Wake Forest 34
LSU 23 2nd Half
Ole Miss 27
(11) Miss State 23 1st Half 0:54
(2) South Carolina 35
Fairfield 38 1st Half 0:02
Iona 26
Marist 28 2nd Half
Saint Peters 27
Quinnipiac 51 1st Half 1:22
Rider 19
Virginia 33 2nd Half
(15) North Carolina 35
Pittsburgh 27 2nd Half
(4) Notre Dame 40
Ohio State 36 2nd Half
Penn State 30
Massachusetts 30 2nd Half
Dayton 40
(22) George Washington 33 2nd Half
Richmond 29
Saint Louis 21 2nd Half
Rhode Island 38
Wright State 34 2nd Half
Detroit 33
Green Bay 38 2nd Half
Oakland 20
Western Ky 23 1st Half 6:59
Florida Atlantic 14
Indiana 35 2nd Half
(5) Maryland 47
North Texas 23 1st Half 3:25
Charlotte 29
Central Arkansas 2 1st Half 13:47
Sam Houston St 6
SE Louisiana 17 1st Half 10:41
Northwestern St 6
Nicholls 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Incarnate Word 7:00 PM
Stephen F Austin
Denver 7:00 PM
No Dakota State
IUPU-Ft Wayne 7:00 PM
Nebraska Omaha
IUPUI 7:00 PM
South Dakota
Lamar 7:00 PM
McNeese State
Western Ill 7:00 PM
South Dakota St
Missouri 7:00 PM
(12) Texas A&M
(13) Kentucky 7:00 PM
Arkansas
(20) Rutgers 7:00 PM
(25) Northwestern
Southern Miss 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wisconsin 7:00 PM
(17) Iowa
North Dakota 7:30 PM
Northern Ariz
Northern Colorado 8:00 PM
Southern Utah
Louisiana Tech 0 Postponed
Texas-El Paso 0
Eastern Washington 8:00 PM
Montana State
Idaho 8:00 PM
Montana
Auburn 8:00 PM
Vanderbilt
(6) Tennessee 8:00 PM
Georgia
Gonzaga 8:00 PM
San Diego
USC 8:00 PM
Washington
Portland 8:00 PM
BYU
(24) California 8:00 PM
Oregon
(19) Stanford 8:00 PM
(7) Oregon State
Chicago State 8:00 PM
Grand Canyon
UMKC 8:00 PM
Utah Valley U
San Francisco 8:00 PM
St Marys-CA
UCLA 9:00 PM
Washington St
Santa Clara 9:00 PM
Pacific
CS-Northridge 9:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
UC Santa Barbara 9:00 PM
Cal-Irvine
Hawaii 9:00 PM
Long Beach St
Cal Poly 9:00 PM
UC Davis
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which Twins player are you most interested in during spring training?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT