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.
MILWAUKEE -- I hesitate to make too much of this because it's common for teams to call agents at this time of year, but the Twins have made contact with Matt Sosnick, the agent for Ryan Doumit and Josh Willingham, expressing interest in both players.
No offers were made. Doumit and Willingham probably won't sign anywhere until the winter meetings in early December, and much of the Twins' plans hinge on whether they re-sign Michael Cuddyer.
But if Cuddyer signs elsewhere, Doumit and Willingham -- not to mention Jason Kubel -- are among the players the Twins might pursue aggressively.
Willingham, 32, batted .246/.332/.477 with 29 home runs and 98 RBI last season for the Athletics. He played most of his 136 games in left field and is a righthanded hitter who would fit in well alongside Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau.
I continued checking on Doumit, 30, after writing today's earlier post. He's not the perfect option as a backup for Joe Mauer because Doumit is a sub-par defensive catcher, a bit like Jose Morales, with a good arm but suspect receiving skills. The Twins are interested because of Doumit's bat.
The switch-hitter batted .303/.353/.477 in 77 games for the Pirates last season. With Morales, the Twins were always frustrated that they couldn't move him to another position. Doumit has made 32 career starts at first base and 54 career starts in right field.
Now that Jim Thome has signed with the Philadelphia, the Twins figure to have more flexibility on their bench. If they signed Doumit, they might keep three catchers on the roster, keeping Drew Butera for his defense.
But if something should happen to Mauer, where they need someone else to catch 50 or more games, they could turn things over to Doumit. The defense might suffer, but he should be able to make up for it at the plate.
Again, the talks were very preliminary, but a lot of readers have been asking. Yes, the Twins definitely have Doumit and Willingham on their prospective signing list.
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