Greetings from the ridiculously humongous Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center, home of the 2015 MLB Winter Meetings. Today is the first full day of of the event, but there's already been some news made here.
Joakim Soria has agreed to a three-year, $25 million contract with Kansas City.
Ryan Madson, at age 35, is going to Oakland for three years and $21 million.
The Dodgers are close to signing Hisashi Iwakuma and trading for Aroldis Chapman.
The Tigers are going to sign Mark Lowe to a two-year deal to be a setup man.
The Marlins are listening to offers for Jose Fernandez (wow).
So we have a lot of stuff going on already.
Twins GM Terry Ryan appeared on the MLB Network this morning to go over the Twins offseason. He reiterated that the plan is to use Byung Ho Park as the primary DH and move Miguel Sano to the outfield. He acknowledged that the club hasn't decided if Sano will play left or right field.
``If he buys into this, we'll make it work,'' Ryan said of Sano, who is working in the outfield before Dominican Winter League games. ``If he doesn't then we're in trouble.''
Twins fans seem to prefer keeping Sano as a third baseman while trading Trevor Plouffe. Let's address that.
First of all, the Twins offense was not a well-oiled machine last season. The club did hit well with runners in scoring position (.279, third best in baseball). But they were 18th in runs scored, 28th in on base percentage and 23rd in on base plus slugging percentage. I understand why Ryan would want to keep both Plouffe and Sano on the team. As of right now, Plouffe is a better defensive player than Sano. Can Sano become reliable with the glove? He sure can. But those who have watched him in the minors have concerns.
The move to the outfield is not a slam dunk, especially with a 260-pound man. But Sano is pretty agile and has a strong arm. It will be a matter of him learning to get good jumps and take good routes on batted balls.
Remember, Sano was signed as a shortstop, and you should be able to move a shortstop to other positions. Gary Sheffield came up as a shortstop. Plouffe was drafted as a shortstop. Dan Gladden? Drafted as a shortstop. My favorite player of all time, Dick Allen, was signed in 1960 and played shortstop at Elmira for a year. Moving Sano to the outfield is not that dangerous of a move. He can always go to third if needed. Learning the outfield now will be something that could greatly benefit him down the road.
(Was told last week that Sano has started to lose a few pounds. His goal is to lower his weight from 270 to 250).
The Twins seem committed to keeping Plouffe at this point. That could change with the right phone call. And there will be a lot of phone calls this week.
In ex-Twins news, Joe Nathan will arrive at the winter meetings today to update clubs on his comeback from a second Tommy John surgery. Nathan would be a reclamation project. He's not scheduled to get on a mound until April, and would likely not be ready until late May. His agent likely will check in with the Twins, because they have a great relationship, but no more than that. This is not intended to suggest that there is a Nathan-Twins reunion in the works.
Will try to post two to three times daily, barring unforeseen events. This would be the week to start following me on twitter at @LaVelleNeal. This is the one week where rumor-mongering is reasonable and, oh, is twitter the best platfom for that!
In fact, I'll float one out now. I think Justin Morneau possibly landing in Cleveland makes sense.