FanPost

Remaining Free Agents


How bored are we at this point in the off-season?  Everyone here is clamoring for something real to talk about.  Not only is it -15 outside but if feels the same in my little baseball heart.  I need the bright Florida sun, pitchers playing catch, catchers putting on the gear, the pop of the mitt & interviews by Lavelle, Joe C and Souhan.

 

Yet, there is still the possiblility that  the Twins will do something else to bolster this team in 2011 and that keeps us talking about all the hot stove activity.  If you look at the roster the way it is set up (see: http://www.twinkietown.com/2011/1/18/1942891/2011-mn-twins-25-man-roster by PhatJ1111 for example) I see a very good line-up.  A line-up that is really dynamic from a speed & power perspective.  This is, of course, assuming all players in the starting line-up have seasons that mimic the better years of their past.

 

The bench is a pivotal part of any team and looking at the Twins you have some players that fill some of the typical roles you see on most teams.  The soft-hitting, good glove & arm catcher (Drew Butera), the solid defensive outfield replacement that can't hit very well (Jason Repko), the big, late inning, pinch hitter (Jason Kubel or Jim Thome - depending on what camp you are in) & the do-it-all Nick Punto prototype who will play anywhere when asked, pinch run when needed & hold a clipboard the rest of the time (Matt Tolbert).

 

All things perfect; the entire roster stays healthy, they all get along and, most importantly, they all have near career high type years statistically,  there is no need to do anything with the Twins roster.  The Twins will win 95-100 games with this scenario.

 

Unfortunately, this won't happen.  Someone or a number of players will get hurt.  Some will not perform to expectations.  And some, even on the loveable - let's win one for Gardy - Twins, will not get along, cause some trouble and possibly need to get moved.

 

That being said, to add depth to this team with MLB ready talent I think it is wise to look at the available players just one more time.  Do we have options on any players that can wait out a month or two at AAA before they are really needed?  Is there a player on this team that isn't quite the player the Twins need at this point that is expendable?  Is there an available player that is still waiting for a phone call for the Twins to fill a role they would be comfortable with and affordable enough for the Twins to make the move on?

 

I apologize for the length of this list but here are all the free agents still sitting unsigned:

 Player

POS

Frmr Tm

 Notes

  Branyan, Russell

 1B

 SEA

 Club declined option

  Johnson, Nick

 1B

 NYY

 Mutual option with buyout

  Kotchman, Casey

 1B

 SEA

 Elected free agency

  Lamb, Mike

 1B

 FLA

 Minor league free agent

  Romero, Niuman

 1B

 BOS

 Minor league free agent

  Belliard, Ronnie

 2B

 LAD

 Released

  Cora, Alex

 2B

 TEX

 Released

  Grudzielanek, Mark

 2B

 CLE

 Released

  Lopez, Felipe

 2B

 BOS

 Club declined option

  Blalock, Hank

 3B

 TB

 Released

  Crosby, Bobby

 3B

 ARI

 Released

  Dobbs, Greg

 3B

 PHI

 Elected free agency

  LaRoche, Andy

 3B

 PIT

 Elected free agency

  Luna, Hector

 3B

 FLA

 Minor league free agent

  Punto, Nick

 3B

 MIN

 Club declined option

  Cabrera, Orlando

 SS

 CIN

 Club declined option

  Alfonzo, Eliezer

 C

 SEA

 Minor league free agent

  Burke, Jamie

 C

 WSH

 Minor league free agent

  Hoover, Paul

 C

 PHI

 Minor league free agent

  Aybar, Willy

 DH

 TB

 Non-tendered

  Chavez, Eric

 DH

 OAK

 Club declined option

  Guerrero, Vladimir

 DH

 TEX

 Club declined option

  Hessman, Mike

 IF

 NYM

 Minor league free agent

  Ojeda, Augie

 IF

 ARI

 Non-tendered

  Aldridge, Cory

 OF

 LAA

 Minor league free agent

  Anderson, Garret

 OF

 LAD

 Released

  Church, Ryan

 OF

 ARI

 Non-tendered

  Feliciano, Jesus

 OF

 NYM

 Minor league free agent

  Gross, Gabe

 OF

 OAK

 Elected free agency

  Inglett, Joe

 OF

 MIL

 Non-tendered

  Matthews, Gary

 OF

 CIN

 Released

  Milledge, Lastings

 OF

 PIT

 Non-tendered

  Nix, Laynce

 OF

 CIN

 Elected free agency

  Podsednik, Scott

 OF

 LAD

 Player declined option

  Ryan, Michael

 OF

 LAA

 Minor league free agent

  Stern, Adam

 OF

 MIL

 Minor league free agent

  Sullivan, Cory

 OF

 HOU

 Minor league free agent

  Aceves, Alfredo

 RP

 NYY

 Non-tendered

  Albaladejo, Jonathan

 RP

 NYY

 Released

  Banks, Josh

 RP

 HOU

 Minor league free agent

  Bowers, Cedrick

 RP

 OAK

 Minor league free agent

  Boyer, Blaine

 RP

 ARI

 Non-tendered

  Byrdak, Tim

 RP

 HOU

 Declared free agency

  Castillo, Alberto

 RP

 BAL

 Minor league free agent

  Coffey, Todd

 RP

 MIL

 Non-tendered

  Condrey, Clay

 RP

 MIN

 Elected free agency

  Cormier, Lance

 RP

 TB

 Non-tendered

  Corpas, Manuel

 RP

 COL

 Released

  Cruz, Juan

 RP

 KC

 Released

  Delcarmen, Manny

 RP

 COL

 Non-tendered

  Donnelly, Brendan

 RP

 PIT

 Released

  English, Jesse

 RP

 WSH

 Minor league free agent

  Houser, James

 RP

 FLA

 Minor league free agent

  Howry, Bob

 RP

 CHC

 Released

  Jackson, Steven

 RP

 PIT

 Minor league free agent

  Majewski, Gary

 RP

 HOU

 Minor league free agent

  Manuel, Robert

 RP

 BOS

 Minor league free agent

  Medders, Brandon

 RP

 SF

 Minor league free agent

  Meredith, Cla

 RP

 BAL

 Minor league free agent

  Nippert, Dustin

 RP

 TEX

 Non-tendered

  Owings, Micah

 RP

 CIN

 Minor league free agent

  Ray, Chris

 RP

 SF

 Non-tendered

  Rincon, Juan

 RP

 COL

 Minor league free agent

  Riske, David

 RP

 MIL

 Released

  Rivera, Saul

 RP

 CLE

 Minor league free agent

  Sampson, Chris

 RP

 HOU

 Minor league free agent

  Schoeneweis, Scott

 RP

 BOS

 Released

  Strickland, Scott

 RP

 FLA

 Minor league free agent

  Thayer, Dale

 RP

 TB

 Minor league free agent

  Threets, Erick

 RP

 CWS

 Non-tendered

  Walker, Tyler

 RP

 WSH

 Released

  White, Sean

 RP

 SEA

 Minor league free agent

  Davis, Doug

 SP

 MIL

 Club option declined

  Hendrickson, Mark

 SP

 BAL

 Club declined option

  Hill, Shawn

 SP

 TOR

 Released

  Maine, John

 SP

 NYM

 Non-tendered

  Martin, J.D.

 SP

 WSH

 Released

  Moyer, Jamie

 SP

 PHI

 Elected free agency

  Wellemeyer, Todd

 SP

 SF

 Released


I highlighted a few of my favorites but a couple of interesting players jump out at me.  Those are Hank Blaylock, Ryan Church and Lastings Milledge.

 

Blaylock looks like he may be signing with the Rays soon but would be a very good option in my opinion.  With the depth of minor league outfielders in the Twins system it seems logical to utilize that depth by trading it for other pieces.  Jason Kubel's bat off the bench would be a nice asset to have but because of the defensive inadequacies he doesn't add much else.  If Blaylock is healthy this addition would be a great low risk buy.  He woulld still be the left handed bat off the bench but also be able to play some 3B against tough righties and spell Morneau or Valencia as needed.

 

Ryan Church has had a very solid, under-the-radar, career.  He is a very solid defensive outfielder & bats left-handed.  Church really has never gotten a chance to establish himself in the big leagues as he has almost always been the 4th outfielder on his respective teams.  That role wouldn't change with Minnesota but he, in essence, would replace Repko from a defensive standpoint and give them a left-handed option off the bench.

 

Okay, Lastings Milledge?  A bit of a stretch to say the least.  But hear me out for a minute.  Milledge's problems have been 100% mental.  He has been berated for his lack of hustle, his un-coachability and his attitude towards teammates.  So much so that this former 1st round pick (2003, 12th overall - HS Outfielder) is looking for work.  Here is an article from last year on Milledge. http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20100918&content_id=14817642&vkey=news_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb  

There has never been a question in his abilities, but now at age 25, there is a question of whether he will even get a chance to capitalize on it.  I say this is a great opportunity for the Twins to get a tremendous outfielder with excellent offensive potential. 

 

Among the other free agents of course I have my opinion of their value as well.  I would like Nick Punto back on the Twins team, use him as our utility guy and move Tolbert back to AAA (UPDATE:  ). Jamie Burke would be a much better Catching option than Butera and Butera can still be utilized later in the year if needed.  Aybar and Guerrero would be great "vs. lefties" DH options.  Inglett would be another "Nick Punto" type option.  And finally, out of the pen, I still like Delcarmen, Meredith and Ray.  All would allow the young relief pitchers on the team to get more properly prepared in the minors before coming up and enduring the roles they would have on a major league roster.

 

Let me know what you guys think about the list of available players & if you think any of them would help the Twins win this year.  Brian Cashman said the reason that Rafael Soriano was signed was it made the Yankees better.  I know the Twins will never take on the financial model of the Yankees but I do like the concept of improving a team when possible.

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