SAN DIEGO -- Are the Twins in on free agent lefthanded pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu, who was second in National League Cy Young voting last season?
There's some buzz about that here at the Winter Meetings. No doubt they've checked in on Ryu, who with Madison Bumgarner is one of the two top remaining starters in the "second tier" behind big dogs Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg.
Strasburg, as I expected, is going back to the Nationals on a record-setting seven year, $245 million deal. That's the same number as is being kicked around on Cole, with some reports saying the Yankees have offered it already.
For now, I'm going to go with what at least two Twins sources have told me recently that Ryu wants to stay on the West Coast. The Dodgers are said to be interested in bringing him back, especially if they miss on one of the big two, and teams are a little leery of Ryu's age (he'll be 33 next season) and injury history, although he had a tremendous 2.32 ERA last season.
Now Ryu could always open his mind to other locales as the process continues so we'll see how this plays out. The Twins have contacted all the free agent starters they felt they had a chance to land. That includes Ryu, Bumgarner, Rick Porcello, Dallas Keuchel and others. The degree of the interest in each one in unknown, but they have been pretty thorough in their efforts to upgrade their rotation.
Bumgarner could re-sign with the Giants, but indications are that he's looking to see what free agency shakes out elsewhere. There were reports last week that he wanted to sign before the winter meetings began, but that has not happened. My guess is that he could be waiting to see who doesn't land Cole or Strasburg before he makes a move.
We have been fixated on how the Twins will spend their free agent dollars, but there could be a trade solution they might pursue. I was told they are open to taking on salary in the right deal, so perhaps that is something they could be exploring.
Derek Falvey and Thad Levine arrived here late Sunday night and the Twins will have availability today; we'll see if they shed more light on the efforts to land a front line starter.