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.

It's Day Three of the winter meetings in Dallas

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III under Vikings draft Updated: December 7, 2011 - 10:48 AM

A couple Twins takes before Day Three of the winter meetings begins,

I'm not going to act like I know everything that goes on in a clubhouse. No beat writer does. But it's been obvious to us the last couple of years that the Twins and Kevin Slowey were headed for a breakup. Slowey did some things that disappointed folks in the clubhouse and he wasn't happy about his situation, especially last season. I think both sides could have handled last season differently, but Slowey really brought some things on himself.

Do not underestimate the signal Slowey sent in May when he told media that he didn't think he the Twins were a good fit for him anymore. That didn't go over well in a clubhouse that was looking for any arm it could find to help win. Now he's a fly ball pitcher in Coors Field.

Don't expect to get much in return for Slowey. He was a candidate to be non-tendered next week. The Rockies knew that.

All the move really did was send Slowey somewhere instead of giving him a chance to go where he wants. Good grief, the Twins NEED starters and STILL traded Slowey. That should tell you something,

Fans already are up in arms about selling low again. I can see why. But Slowey was going to make about $3 million next season and was coming off a 0-8 season with a 6.67 ERA. The Twins had to get rid of him. It's like the housing market with the Twins right now. Bad timing.

A STARTER? A STARTER?

Where does that leave the Twins? Screwed, I think. Their rotation, right now, is Scott Baker, Francisco Liriano, Carl Pavano, Nick Blackburn and......yikes. There's been talk of moving Brian Duensing to the bullpen but he might end up starting. Anthony Swarzak, Scott Diamond and Liam Hendricks are lined up in the starting pitching pecking order.

Boy, do the Twins need another starter! Kyle Gibson's elbow injury is turning out to be a huge blow.

The price of good pitching is high. Chris Capuano getting $5 million a year? Wow. Bruce Chen? Wow. And teams are going to hold onto decent pitching because of it, making trades harder.

The free agents field doesn't look good if you don't have $10 million to spend. That's why I think the 6-16 Jeff Francis could end up with the Twins. Let's see who else is out there who doesn't have a big price tag: Paul Maholm, Rich Harden, Armando Galarraga, Oliver Perez, Dontrelle Willis. Wow.

Well, it's time to head down to the media room and then stake out the lobby. Today's highlight will be Ron Gardenhire's appearance at the annual manager's press conference. Should be interesting.

IT'S OFFICIAL

The Twins just made the Matt Capps signing official. The Twins now have 39 players on their 40-man roster. If Cuddyer agrees to a deal before the Rule 5 draft, they will have to move someone else off the 40-man so they can participate in the draft on Thursday.

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