The Winter Meetings are at its midpoint. As usual, there have been more rumors than transactions. It does appear that the league's decision to push forward many of the offseason dates has created much more discussions about players than in many years in the past. Despite the lack of Twins transactions, there are plenty of Twins topics to discuss. At 10:00 tonight (through Thursday night), Seth will be hosting a nightly Twins Winter Meetings podcast with guests to discuss what we are hearing and where we go from there. Tonight is his weekly SethSpeaks.net Weekly Minnesota Twins podcast, so it will be one full hour tonight. Tonight, the guests will include JJ Stankevitz, the White Sox blogger for Examiner.com, and Aaron Gleeman of Aaron's Baseball Blog, Hardball Talk and many other gigs. You can listen to the show live at 10:00, or listen to the podcast later, by clicking here.
(Note - On Sunday night, we started the Winter Meetings podcasts with guests Jim Crikket of Knuckleballs and John Bonnes of TwinsCentric and The Twins Geek. On Monday night, TwinCentric's Nick Nelson of Nick's Twins Blog was the guest. On Wednesday night, the guest will be 1500espn's Phil Mackey, live from the Winter Meetings in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. By the way, if you would like to listen to the most recent SethSpeaks.net Weekly Minnesota Twins podcast, with guest Danny Valencia, click here.)
The Twins have tried to stay under the radar, as they typically do, through the Winter Meetings so far. However, they have a lot of balls up in the air right now. Tonight we will discuss many Twins topics including the following potential cycles of events:
- Carl Pavano - The Twins clearly are interested in bringing Pavano back to their roster, but only at a price and for a length of time that makes sense. The Twins likely wouldn't finalize any other transactions with big league starting pitchers until the Pavano situation is resolved. If he signs elsewhere, the Twins could move forward with the idea of bringing in a starter via trade or free agency. If he stays with the Twins, it is possible that the Twins would deal one of their current starters. However, Pavano would be wise to wait until Cliff Lee signs because some of the teams that don't get Lee could target Pavano.
- Tsuyoshi Nishioka - The Twins have until December 26 to sign the 26-year-old middle infielder from Japan, but I assume they would love to get the deal done quickly. Why? Because signing Nishioka may be the catalyst to ending all of the JJ Hardy discussions. Whether or not we agree with moving Hardy and trusting Nishioka and Casilla to the Twins middle infield, it does appear that either he is being shopped or other teams are asking about his availability.
- Bullpen - With LaVelle's note yesterday that neither Nishioka or his wife speak any English, if he is signed, the Twins will have to invest in someone to help them with their transition. Of course, they could just hire a translator for on the field and in the clubhouse, but they could also sign someone like Hideki Okajima or, as Parker wrote early today, Koji Uehara (who may be near a deal to return to the Orioles).
- Bullpen (Part II) - Jesse Crain and Matt Guerrier are free agent relievers with several teams interested in their services. Crain likely priced himself out of the Twins budget, but it's possible one or both of them could decide to return. Based on those decisions, the Twins will need to determine which minor leaguers they believe are ready to contribute, and they will have to add some depth.
Add to all of those decisions, the Rule 5 draft will take place at 8:00 a.m. on Thursday, and that all of the Twins front office will have meetings throughout the week. There are a lot of things up in the air right now, but as a few of them gain some resolution, the Twins will fill in quickly.
But again, at 10:00 tonight, be sure to join the Twins Winter Meetings podcast for an hour of Twins-related talk.