It's been deathly quiet around the Twins rumor mill lately, huh?
Let's reflect, briefly, on where this team stands right now. We're sitting at about $100 million in payroll, and are actively pursuing both Carl Pavano and Jim Thome. We also appear to be kicking the tires on our old friend Brian Fuentes. Signing both Pavano and Thome would put us around a $115 million payroll on opening day. Adding Fuentes - or a similarly priced reliever - would put us in the $120 million range.
A few more Twins-related notes, after the jump:
- Brandon Webb, who several Twinkie Towners suggested might be a good buy-low option for the Twins, signed a one-year deal with the Rangers. Seems like a pretty smart move for the Rangers: they'll only pay $3 million if Webb is a bust, and if he returns to form they'll only be on the hook for $8 to $10 million. Then again, this fascinating analysis suggests the Rangers may have just thrown $3 million down the drain.
- Several teams - including the Orioles and Nationals - are in discussions with Derrek Lee. While many on the site had suggested Lee might be a good target for the Twins this off-season, I, personally, had written off the suggestion, believing Lee (even at 34) would find a team to give him a two or three-year deal. Now, however, it seems that most of the rumors are suggesting teams are trying to sign Lee for a one-year deal around $8 million. Anyone want to argue that instead of offering Thome $5 or $6 million for next season, we should throw in a couple extra million to target Lee instead? He's right-handed, more versatile, and hit very well in the second-half of last year (playing through a thumb injury that required surgery in November). In fairness, Lee evidently would like to play for a west coast team, and very well may have zero interest in being a platoon/role player on the Twins. But, c’mon, it’s a slow news week, we gotta have something to argue about.
- Following Dan Szymborski from Baseball Think Factory on Twitter, it appears we should have 2011 ZIPS projections for the Twins very soon. Some nuggets he revealed on Twitter: Scott Baker is projected for a 4.02 ERA, ZIPS thinks Kyle Gibson would be as good as Nick Blackburn right now, and, what I found most intriguing, Nishioka is projected to hit 281/337/403, with 38 steals in his rookie year.
- Last but not least, the Hall of Fame Ballot Gathering Machine (also via Baseball Think Factory) has tallied HOF voting for the 49 official ballots that have been publicly revealed. Of those 49 ballots, 79.6% have included Bert Blyleven. A player needs to be named on 75% of ballots to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Last year, Bert was achingly close, getting named on 74.2% of the 539 ballots cast.
That's all I got for now. Hope everyone has a happy new year. Spring training is right around the corner.