December 21, 2008

Catching Up

The Twins have expressed interest in Japanese reliever Koji Uehara.

A lot has happened since I last posted, so let's jump right in...

The Twins don't believe that they'll sign Ty Wigginton. The team believes that his asking price will be out of their price range, likely exceeding their offer that they gave to Casey Blake. Although one could argue that Wigginton is better than Blake, the important thing to discuss is whether or not he is that much better than a platoon of Brendan Harris and Brian Buscher.

We also have to keep in mind that we do have two players that are about a year away who could both step up and be third base options for our team. Luke Hughes had a monster year at the plate last year but is not a seasoned veteran like his competition Danny Valencia. With solid 2009 season's both could fight for starting roles come 2010.

There are also a few third basemen expecting to hit the open market next fall including Adrian Beltre, Chone Figgins, Troy Glaus, Chipper Jones and Mark DeRosa. The way I see it, Wigginton would be a good short term fix, but since he is looking for a multi-year deal, it doesn't seem to be the greatest move this club could make. However if they don't anticipate being contenders (at all) for any of the names mentioned above (if Hughes/Valencia/Harris/Buscher don't figure to take full reigns that is), adding Wigginton does make some sense.

I like Wigginton, but I will not at all be upset if they do not sign him.

Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported that the Twins are interested in a couple Japanese pitchers, starter Kenshin Kawakami and reliever Koji Uehara. I think that Uehara makes more since since he is a proven reliever (former starter) in Japanese baseball, compiling 33 saves while a closer. He is a crafty right-hander with a good, low-90's fastball that has great command. He could be a right-handed version of Hideki Okajima who's the same build and has the same "stuff."

Christensen mentions that he may be looking for a 3-year $9 million deal, which may scare some, but if the Twins were really looking to sign an impact reliever, he could be worth a gamble.

The bullpen already seems a bit crowded likely using 7 spots between these players:
  • Joe Nathan
  • Jose Mijares
  • Matt Guerrier
  • Jesse Crain
  • Craig Breslow
  • Boof Bonser
  • Philip Humber
  • Jason Jones
So adding one more will likely mean that two are out. Jones seems likely and I would think that the other comes down to Boof Bonser and Philip Humber. Breslow is not a lock either, so it may be an o.k. idea to go into Spring Training with as many options as possible (including Bobby Korecky and Brian Duensing).

The Twins are also interested in former D-Backs reliever, Brandon Lyon. Joe Christensen also reported that the Twins have expressed interest in Brett Tomko. The Twins have plenty of bullpen options both in house and on the market, there's no reason that our bullpen should not be improved next season.

The Twins signed outfielder Luis Matos, Sean Henn, Bob Keppel and Joe Gaetti to minor league deals. More on that, here.

Joe Christensen reported that in the midst of the Rafael Furcal-back-to-Atlanta fiasco, the Twins made another inquiry on Braves shortstop Yunel Escobar. Despite re-signing Nick Punto to play shortstop, the Twins are still looking at the shortstop options. The Twins were turned away after the Braves indicated that they had intentions on using both Escobar and Furcal at shortstop and second base while moving current second baseman Kelly Johnson to left field.

Minnesota still has strong interest in Brewers shortstop J.J. Hardy, but the Brewers don't seem interested in trading the 26-year-old.

Anything else I missed?