While national reports have declared the Dodgers’ pursuit of Brian Dozier “at an impasse” and suggested the Twins don’t want to allow trade talks to drag on, Twins General Manager Thad Levine said Wednesday that the team never will put an artificial time limit on any transaction that could improve the team.
“We would never use [a deadline] to leverage a negotiation. I think that’s pretty flimsy and transparent,” Levine said in a radio interview on the team’s flagship radio station, Go 96.3. “There’s going to be a time this offseason where we may stop initiating calls, but we’re always going to pick up the phone and hear teams out. We would be imprudent not to do that.”
Fox Sports reported Tuesday that negotiations with the Dodgers, who have pursued the Twins’ All-Star second baseman, “stalled when the teams could not agree on the package that the Twins would receive beyond righthander Jose DeLeon.”
Levine did not comment specifically on the trade rumors, but said he empathized with Dozier in dealing with a winter of uncertainty. “It’s remarkable the pressures these guys have on them when they’re rumored to be in trades,” Levine said. “… They have a lot of loved ones asking, ‘What’s going on?’ It’s tough for them to continually have to answer, ‘I don’t know.’ ”
The general manager also said the signings this week of veteran pitchers Ryan Vogelsong and Nick Tepesch to minor league contracts might have a greater impact on the Twins than fans realize. The 39-year-old Vogelsong is a clubhouse asset who, if he makes the team, gives the Twins “a utility pitcher. He can start, he can relieve, he can pitch long, he can pitch late,” Levine said. And Tepesch “has a chance to compete. I do believe he’s going to have a chance to impact us this year.”
Plouffe to join A’s
Trevor Plouffe has agreed to a one-year contract with the Oakland A’s, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Wednesday.
Plouffe, released by the Twins in November, is expected to be the A’s starting third baseman, with second-year infielder Ryon Healy moving to first base to make room. The 30-year-old Plouffe, who spent all seven seasons of his MLB career with the Twins, batted .260 in 84 games last season.
Torii Hunter and LaTroy Hawkins, hired in November along with Michael Cuddyer to serve as special advisers to the team, will also make their broadcasting debuts this season, joining play-by-play man Dick Bremer on Fox Sports North broadcasts.
Hall of Fame pitcher Bert Blyleven will return for his 22nd season alongside Bremer, but will take occasional breaks during the season, allowing Hunter, Hawkins and two other former Twins, Roy Smalley and Jack Morris, to work in the booth on a rotating basis.