La Velle E. Neal III filed his afternoon report from the Winter Meetings about an hour ago, mentioning that "the Twins had been very active in pursuing players." That's the impetus behind this update, where we have a new name to throw into the mix and an old favorite that with some added detail.
Stephen Drew is a new name to toss into the rumor mill. The Red Sox made him a qualifying offer after the season, which he declined, which means there's a draft pick attached to his services. For the Twins, who have their first round pick protected, signing him would mean giving up their second round pick. Depending on how big of an upgrade the organization believes he would be. Over the last five years, UZR has rated his defense as better than average. Offensively he has superior strike zone judgement, which has led to a walk rate of roughly 11% over the past two seasons.
Drew would be 31 years old on Opening Day. If you believe in UZR he was a better defender than Pedro Florimon in 2013, and there's no question that he's the superior player with a bat in his hands. Would you be willing to pay a few million dollars a year for that trade off? I would be.
Aj Pierzynski, who lives near Orlando stopped by winter meetings to have lunch. Said Twins offered 2 yrs but RS 2 good Oppty to pass up— Nick Cafardo (@nickcafardo) December 10, 2013
LEN III's report concurs with Cafardo's, with A.J. Pierzynski telling Neal "Minnesota made it hard." Ultimately he couldn't turn down the chance to play for the Red Sox, and it's hard to blame him. He's played in the post-season quite a bit in his long career, and at his age it's understandable that he'd eschew the chance to finish his career where it started in order to take one season with a much better chance at another championship.
It sounds like Gardy made a good pitch, and I have no doubt that putting a solid team on the field is just as important to him as it is to anybody. If I'd been Pierzynski and I had to listen to Gardy, I probably would have been tempted, too.
That's everything for now. How's your Tuesday? Good?