Hope everyone is having a nice Thanksgiving weekend.
Thought I would provide some jottings about the Twins, since they haven't made many player moves so far during the offseason.
There was a report earlier this week that the Twins and D-Backs were discussing a deal for first baseman, and former MVP, Paul Goldschmidt. After checking with sources with both teams - including a couple with the Twins who were adamant with denials - the Twins are not interested in the slugger.
The Twins sure could use his career .930 OPS in their lineup. But he's hitting his age 31 season with one year left on his contract. That affects how much the Twins would be comfortable giving up in a trade. Then he's a free agent at age 32, and clubs recently have been reluctant to extend players into their mid-30's.
Anyway, the Goldschmidt report got Twins fans worked up pretty quickly, as they have had little to debate this offseason.
Most news out of 1 Twins Way has been related to the re-shaping of the coaching staff. After adding several new faces, look for some of the responsibilities to change.
Most recently, the Twins named Bill Evers as a Major League Coach. He replaces Jeff Pickler, who will move into another role within the organization. But Evers will focus on catching instruction on the major league level, a key role as the Twins look to continue to develop Mitch Garver's skills behind the plate. Evers has over 30 years of experience, and knows manager Rocco Baldelli from his time in the Rays organization. It's a good fit for Baldelli to have a sage-like presence on the staff.
Roles aren't just shifting there. Jeremy Hefner's move from being the advance scout to bullpen coach helps insure that all the advance data the Twins prepare will be disseminated throughout the relief corps. Hefner, actually, will focus on pitching and catching strategy. It's a different approach after Eddie Guardado was not brought back. Guardado's niche was the mental side of side pitching. He was aware of the analytics, but felt having the mental fortitude to pitch in high-leverage situations was just as important.
The Twins plan to fill Hefner's former postilion as advance scout. Guardado has been offered another role withing the organization, but there's no word if he has accepted. My guess is that the Twins will figure out a way keep him connected.
The other eye-opening move was the hiring of Wes Johnson as the pitching coach. Johnson comes straight to the majors from the University if Arkansas, where he was considered a bright mind. Some have referred to him as a velocity guru, able to get pitchers to throw harder. He's also had a few pitchers break down and have Tommy John surgeries. It will be an interesting mix. The Twins have seen a reduction in Tommy John surgeries since Falvine took over.
While college coaches in other sports move to the top professional leagues, it just doesn't happen in baseball. According to Baseball America, Dick Howser was the last college coach to make the jump, when he left Florida State to manage the Yankees in 1980.
The Brewers pitching coach in 2018 was Derek Johnson, who was a pitching coach in college before the Cubs hired him in 2012 as a pitching coordinator. He then moved to the Brewers - but just took a similar position with the Reds.
Johnson actually was on the Twins radar a year ago. But the thought then was that someone with major league experience would be a better fit with Paul Molitor. Now that Molitor is no longer the manager, the Twins made the move for Johnson. It will be very interesting to see how this move works out, and it's a move that other clubs will be watching closely.
Player acquisition news has to move to the forefront now, as the winter meetings, scheduled for Dec. 9, aren't that far away.