State of Play: Monday, January 23

A shot at the 25th-man spot for Sean Burroughs?

Here's your weekly news reset, covering what happened last week and looking forward to this week.

  • Francisco Liriano and Glen Perkins avoided arbitration, as Jesse covered last Wednesday. Alexi Casilla is still unsigned, with the midpoint between the team offer and his counteroffer sitting at $1.4 million. Way back last fall, MLB Trade Rumors predicted $1.3million for Casilla, but the Twins have a history of not striking a particularly hard bargain in order to avoid going to a hearing. Jesse predicted somewhere around $1.45 or $1.5 million. Arbitration hearings begin on February 1, so I'd expect Casilla to sign up for a million and a half or so sometime this week.
  • Speaking of Liriano, he started another game in the Dominican Winter League. He pitched two innings, and gave up two runs on two hits and a walk. This actually lowered his ERA down to 11.57, and may have been his best start of the winter so far. His team, Leones del Escogido, are in the Dominican League championship series, so he may yet pitch again. We'll keep an eye on it.
  • Ron Gardenhire told ESPN 1500 that we could be seeing Joe Mauer on first more this year (audio available from this page.) Gardy says the team will do whatever it takes to keep both Mauer and Morneau in the lineup, but he's going into the season with the idea that Morneau will be playing first base.
  • Justin Morneau says he's doing better this year than at the same time last year. I'd be more optimistic if this story isn't the exact same story that is published at this point of the offseason about every injured player in every sport since the dawn of time. This sounds overly cynical, but never ever trust what a high-level athlete says about his or her own recovery. High-level athletes don't get to where they are without having supreme confidence in their own abilities, and that includes the ability to overcome any obstacles that injury might erect on that path. I'm not saying this is a bad thing, either. I'm just saying that Morneau is saying optimistic things about his own recovery because he believes them because he has to believe them or he never would have got here in the first place.
  • Terry Ryan says the team may sign more pitching. Don't get too excited; this is just the sort of thing that general managers say. The exact quote to MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger was, "I don't think you should ever say you're set to go." This sounds like slightly less than a specific plan to sign someone.
  • Triple-A manager Gene Glynn thinks that Sean Burroughs will make the major league roster. So reports Patrick Reusse, who covers the tale of Burroughs, who spent four or five years drinking himself out of baseball, and is now on his way to playing his way back in.
  • In case you haven't studied it yet, here's the Twins' 2012 spring training schedule. First game is March 3. That page - springtrainingonline.com - also lists ticket prices for the games as $13, $24, $26, and $40, which I cannot quite believe. I always assumed that you paid $1.00 to a guy in a lawn chair when you got there, picked out a bleacher seat, and spent most of the game eating peanuts and trying to figure out who the guy wearing number 95 was. I figured it was exactly like town-team baseball, only you didn't personally know both umpires, the entirety of one team, and half the other team. Apparently it's real business. Who knew? (Apart from those of you who've actually gone to spring training, I guess.)
  • The first workouts of spring: four weeks from yesterday.
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