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.

A Twins blog, only because there hasn't been one in awhile

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: January 2, 2012 - 3:07 PM

Happy New Year everyone!

I'm in the office today, getting organized with a few things and figured I drop a note here.

From talks with Twins officials over the last week or so, it doesn't look like they will sign any more free agents this offseason. The Twins' projected payroll is around $99 million for 2012. They have 24 non-roster invites. They are out of money and out of spots.

A trade is always possible if the right deal came along. But, again, the Twins can't take on payroll unless they move payroll. And that seems unlikely. So those e-mails I've been getting about Matt Garza? Looks doubtful. Besides, the Cubs want a lot for Garza and the Twins might lack the prospect firepower Chicago wants, especially in pitching prospects.

I learned all this last week while investigating a rumor about the Twins and reliever Dan Wheeler. I was told a move for him wasn't possible, then learned the reasons why. I'm very interested to see where Wheeler and some of the other free agent relievers wind up - and for how much. A few of them have to be nervous that they remained free agents. By the way, how can Wheeler turn down arbitration from the Red Sox after making $3 million last season.

Can't wait for the Twins to announce their non-roster invites for 2012. As of today, here's what we have reported:

Jason Bulger, RHP;  Jared Burton RHP; Samuel Deduno RHP; Phil Dumatrait, LHP; Luis Perdomo, RHP;  Aaron Thompson, LHP; Brendan Wise, RHP; Brian Dinkelman, INF-OF; Matt Carson, OF; Wilkin Ramirez, OF; J.R. Towles, C; Rene Rivera, C; Steve Pearce, INF-OF; Sean Burroughs, 3B; P.J. Walters, RHP. Also expect home-grown prospects like shortstop Brian Dozier and catcher Chris Hermann to get invites as well.


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