Crown Gems: Twins, Tigers, Indians, and White Sox

I had designs on recapping the movements of all the teams this offseason, but quickly realized the enormity of my grand plan.  Since time constraints don’t allow me to cover things on a such a level, I have resolved to dedicate myself to keeping tabs on the transactions and rumors of the AL Central instead.  I thought it best to break this review into two posts every week.  One covering the non-Royals related news and the other covering the Royals specific news.  In theory I will do this every week, but as the news dictates, I will adjust on the fly.

Minnesota Twins:

  • It looks like 3B Joe Crede is still on the Twins radar.  Check out the article by the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Joe Christensen and follow it up with Aaron Gleeman’s take via Circling the Bases.  The Twins could do worse than Crede as an insurance policy but if they believe he can be a full season stopgap, they’re kidding themselves.  That line of thinking is almost as flawed as trading a reliver for Coco Crisp and then acting surprised when he underperforms and gets hurt.
  • Closer Joe Nathan popped up on MLB Trade Rumors Trade Market: Closers post today.

Nathan has long been among the game’s best closers. He’s guaranteed $24.5MM over the next two seasons, and some have wondered if the Twins might trade him as a way to clear payroll.

Some may have wondered, but that doesn’t make it a remote or likely possibility.  The other day I wrote that I would consider trading Alex Gordon and Brian Bannister to the Phillies in exchange for Dominic Brown.  I “wondered” but that doesn’t merit any of those players being listed in a trade market post.  I’m perfectly fine with speculation and theorizing, and I suppose, MLBTR is right to cover the “wondering” but plain and simple, there is no way the Twins trade Joe Nathan.  They are coming off another division title and look to be the early favorite for 2010.  The Royals and Indians are clearly a ways off, Detroit is potentially embarking on a sell off, which could leave the White Sox as the only true competition next season.

Minnesota is a competitive team with playoff aspirations and happen to have one of the best closers in the game.  Like all teams, the Twins have needs to address this offseason, but none of those needs are significant enough to part with Nathan.  They need to show that they plan to be competitive if they have any hope of resigning Mauer, and the opening of Target Field next season should help accomidate any necessary increase in payroll.  The Royals have a better chance of trading Betancourt and Guillen to the Phillies for Chase Utley.

  • Depending on who you believe the Twins may or may not have started those contract extension talks with C Joe Mauer.  Regardless of when it happens, I expect him to sign an extension with the team and stay in Minnesota for many years to come.
  • RHP Carl Pavano’s agent met with the Twins this week and called the meeting “excellent.”  Both sides seem willing to wait until later in the offseason to reach a final agreement but there is clearly strong interest on both sides to work out a deal.  I think this wait and see approach is prudent for both the Twins and Pavano.  It seems likely that the framework of a deal is already in place that can be adjusted as both sides see how the market develops.
  • The Twins and LHP Glen Perkins reached a settlement this week and the St Paul native has dropped his grievance against the team.
  • Last week the Twins released C Jeff Christy and OF Ozzie Lewis.
  • Also last week, 3B Brian Buscher was removed from the 40 man roster and outrighted to Triple-A.
  • Twinkie Town takes a closer look at SS J.J. Hardy’s defense.  As it turns out, it’s pretty good.
  • The trade for Hardy seemed to signal the end SS Orlando Cabrera’s brief stint with the Twins career.  Apparently, however, manager Ron Gardenhire wants him back as the team’s 2B.

Detroit Tigers:

  • The list of Tigers rumored to be on the block is starting to take on ridiculous proportions.  The latest Detroit player tossed into the rumor mill is CF Curtis Granderson.  Not surprisingly several teams, including the Angels, are interested.  This is all good news for the Twins who will certainly benefit from a weakened Tigers roster if a few of the rumored players are dealt.  3B Brandon Inge and surprisingly LHP Edwin Jackson are two of the other Tigers being shopped.
  • MLB Trade Rumors offers some other Tigers related tidbits.

Cleveland Indians:

  • Remember RHP Jake Westbrook?  Remember how prior to the 2008 season he was going to be a secret weapon after figuring things out in the Spring Training?  He’s back on the radar and he will be making an appearance in Puerto Rico as he tries to get back to the majors after his 2008 elbow surgery.
  • Paul Hoynes from the Plain Dealer speculates that the Indians might go after Carl Pavano if Westbook can’t come back healthy in time.  Pavano is a Type B free agent so if he does return to Cleveland, the Twins will get a supplemental pick out of the deal.  Seems like a win-win for Minnesota.  If Carl chooses the Twins, they get a solid starting pitcher.  If he chooses the Indians, the Twins get a draft pick.
  • Hoynes also examines the current state of the Indians and it doesn’t look good for 2010.  The question, as of right now, is who will be the AL Central’s last place team in 2010, Royals or Indians?
  • LHP Mike Gosling was granted free agency.
  • LHP Scott Lewis and SS Niuman Romero were removed from the 40 man roster and outrighted to Triple-A.

Chicago White Sox:

  • The team declined his $12 million option, electing instead to pay the $950,000 buyout, but RF Jermaine Dye wouldn’t mind returning to the club.
  • Last week, the White Sox released RHP Greg Johnson, RHP Ryan Rote, and OF Michael Tavarez.
  • According to GM Ken Williams, 3B Chone Figgins will not be a free agent target, but OF Scott Podsednik could be brought back.

(Wally Fish is Kings of Kauffman’s lead blogger.  Subscribe to his RSS feed and add him on Twitter to follow him daily.)

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Tags: AL Central Baseball Chicago White Sox Cleveland Indians Detroit Tigers Minnesota Twins MLB

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