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.

Afternoon update from the winter meetings

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: December 7, 2011 - 4:32 PM

Tonight should be interesting.

There's a 11 p.m. deadline for players to accept or reject arbitration offered by their teams. Outfielders Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel are expected to decline the offers.

But, at that time, the Twins might make their final push to sign Cuddyer. That push could take 15 minutes. It could take 15 hours. But the Twins want to wrap up a deal soon or they will examine other outfield options - which could include a stronger push to sign Kubel.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was asked if he had a feeling about what will happen with Cuddyer.

``You know what, I just left him a message matter of fact, just to congratulate him on the birth of his twins,'' he said. ``And, as I told him, it's kind of an omen, having Twins, he should be a Twin.''

We find out later today. Or tonight. Or tomorrow.

It was Gardy's turn for his annual presser, during which he covered many topics. Some of his comments.

On Joe Mauer: ``Sometimes it's not a bad thing to get knocked around a little bit because you come back fighting a little bit. I'm sure Joe is going to come back fighting. He doesn't have a lot to prove other than getting back on the field and being able to stay out on the baseball field and getting back to being the All‑Star that he is.''

On Justin Morneau: ``He's going through rehabs with the surgery that he had, but as far as the concussion stuff, everything is going along good. His workouts, the cardio and all those are great.''

On the state of the rotation: ``Well, we're still working on it. We're working on a lot of different things. It's a process. Terry and the guys are up there getting after it pretty good. I've been on phone conversations with Terry pretty much every day. There's a lot of names out there.

``And the first thing you have to do is sign your free agents. Michael Cuddyer is the big one. And after Jason, we'll see where that goes.''

One other note: The Twins next week will be among about 12 teams in Houstin to watch the workout of former Detroit pitcher Joel Zumaya, who is working his way back from.right elbow surgery.

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