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.
I thought the GM Meetings would produce more news this year, since several key dates on the baseball calendar are coming earlier. The meetings were pretty quiet, except for the Dan Uggla trade (from Florida to Atlanta) and the Joaquin Benoit signing (by Detroit).
It seems most of the player movement will come after the non-tender date, on Dec. 2, when a host of new players will become free agents. Last year's non-tender date was Dec. 12, so the 10-day difference should help spur some player movement. There are some other key dates coming up:
* Next Tuesday is the deadline for teams to offer arbitration to their Type A and Type B free agents, which puts them in position to receive draft pick compensation if they leave. The Twins have two Type A free agents (Carl Pavano and Matt Guerrier) and four Type B free agents (Jesse Crain, Brian Fuentes, Orlando Hudson and Jon Rauch).
* On Nov. 30, those free agents offered arbitration must decide whether to accept or decline that offer. Pavano accepted arbitration last year, forgoing free agency to re-sign a one-year deal with the Twins.
THE BENOIT EFFECT
When the Tigers agreed to a three-year, $16.5 million deal with Benoit, it set the bar for other righthanded relievers. He posted a 1.34 ERA in 60.1 innings for Tampa Bay and averaged 11.2 K/9 and just 1.6 BB/9, so he put himself in an elite category. But Guerrier, Crain and Rauch will eventually fall in line.
SPRING TRAINING INVITES
* The Twins signed former Pirates lefthander Phil Dumatrait to a minor-league deal with an invite to spring training. Dumatrait, 29, who has a 7.09 ERA in 42 big league appearances, pitched in Korea last year. Twins farm director Jim Rantz said the team is looking to add lefthanders, and Dumatrait can start or relieve.
* The Twins also signed first baseman/outfielder Jeff Bailey to a minor-league deal with a spring training invite. Bailey, who turns 32 on Friday, batted .228 with six home runs in 136 career at-bats for the Red Sox. He spent last year with the Diamondbacks' Class AAA Reno affiliate.
I received a nice e-mail, correcting some information about Luke Hughes from Wednesday's article about the Twins' middle-infield situation. Hughes has been at home in Perth, Australia, playing for the Perth Heat in the new Australian Baseball League. Next week, he's heading to play in the Venezuelan Winter League, not Puerto Rico.
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