Not too much is going on for the Twins these days. Every year we seem to come into the offseason with some modest free agent hope, something to really get us going here in the frozen north, only to ultimately have our hopes dashed and reminded of how the Twins do bussiness.
Furcal went to the Dodgers and the Yunel Escobar talk died, reports have indicated the Twins are doubtful they'll find the right price in the Ty Wiggington sweepstakes, the Brewers and the Twins haven't seemed to click much over JJ Hardy.
There are a couple small things for Twins fans to mull over though. Let's start with the intriguing: the Twins have been reportadly interested in pursuing Japaneese pitchers Kenshin Kawakami and Koji Uehara. Kawakami had a 2.30 ERA last year and, according to LEN III, would make the Twins confident enough to trade one of their young starts. Uehara would probably be a reliever for the Twins. Before you get too excited about fancy imports though, the market for these guys is rapidly expanding (San Fransisco, Atlanta, Boston, Anaheim, and Baltimore have all been reported involved) after the Yankees snatched up Captain Cheesburger and AJ Burnett and we're probably likely to read those " years and dollars might be a little bit of a stretch" words Twins fans are so accustomed to. It seems to me like with the attention Kawakami is receiving at the moment, unless the Twins really like Kawakami enough to beat out his other suitors, which the probably don't, the Twins should aggressively pursue Uehara while he's still overshadowed by Kawakami.
Now for the horrifying. Another pitcher the Twins have recently been linked to is Brett Tomko. That's right, while we're sitting on a staff of 5 up and coming young hurlers, all of whom had success last year, with several good prospects in the high minors nipping at their heels, the Twins are thinking about filling out their rotation with a guy that got cut from not one, but two teams in the last year. Tomko's 4.68 career ERA (mostly compiled in the NL) is lukewarm enough, now consider that he'll turn 36 before his second start of the season, and has a 5.42 ERA over the last three years. He's spent time in the rotation and the pen, but hasn't been much different in either, and his 5.26 ERA in the bullpen over that time does nothing to indicate he could be the bullpen help the Twins need.
Then again, since paying a high price for Delmon Young, signing Livan Hernandez and Mike Lamb, and letting several cheap bullpen options go by, Bill Smith hasn't done anything for me to demonstrate he's any kind of competent, so I wouldn't be surprised if this is the one rumor that ends up with legs.
I tried to find a write up on Kawakami to offer some reading for those more interested, but I couldn't come up with much of anything. If anyone finds, or has, anything going into detail on what kind of a pitcher Kawakami is, please post it in the comments section. For now, all I know is he has a great cutter but scouts aren't sure if his flat, 90 MPH fastball is good enough when his cutter isn't working.
And because he's a great writer, he's been doing it for free for so long, and I'd like him to shameless plug for me if I ever write a book someday, check out Seth Stohs's Twins prospect book. It details 200 Twins prospects, has a foreward by Pat Neshek, and is available for only 8 bucks by download or $12.95 for an oldschool paperback copy. I've downloaded in myself, and it's a great read. Pat Neshek calls it "deeper than anything ever published on the Twins Minor League System." The best part about learning about these guys is they actually might play for the Twins someday, unlike the free agents in the news the Twins are reportedly "pursuing."