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Monday Morning Twins Notes: Tanaka, Suzuki, Santana, Quick Hits

I wonder if the South Pole is enjoying their nice, balmy late-December weather? It's all relative, right?


Good morning, Twins Territory - here's hoping you still have power this morning. If not, I hope you found a place to go or found ways to stay warm. If you're reading us this morning it likely means your hierarchy of needs allows you to do so, and for that we should all be thankful. Here's the latest on the hometown nine.

Twins Have Interest In Masahiro Tanaka

There seems to be a real belief that Tanaka could be the next Yu Darvish of Major League Baseball. Darvish, after playing in America for his age-25 and 26 seasons, has pitched 401 innings, averaged 11.2 strikeouts per nine innings, and is allowing just 6.8 hits per nine innings. He's a legitimate ace for the Rangers, who will be paying him just $41 million over the next four seasons. If 2012 and 2013 are any indication, that's a steal.

Tanaka has never pitched in the majors and has thrown more innings than anything we've seen in the modern game. - Tom Verducci,

Tanaka appears to be on the same level. If the Twins want an opportunity to play with the big boys for his services they'll need to bid the maximum $20 million dollars. Would they do that? It couldn't hurt, mostly because it seems unlikely that Tanaka would want to play in Minnesota anyway. Part of the allure of being posted to Major League Baseball is playing in a premier city for a premier team, and right now the Twins don't fit that bill.

Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci has an article well worth your time, in which he examines Tanaka's workload at such a young age and, quite naturally, wonders how that will impact the pitcher's long-term value and effectiveness.

Kurt Suzuki: Defensively Capable

Michael Rand runs a few numbers examining the defense of new Twins backup catcher, Kurt Suzuki, including defensive runs saved, pitch framing, fielding percentage, caught stealing, and pitcher ERA. Some of those things have more to do with the catcher than others, but it does give The Big Picture in terms of Suzuki's defensive abilities.

For more on Suzuki and examinations of his defense, you could also see:

Johan Santana Sweepstakes

It's understandable that there are a number of teams interesting in seeing what Johan has left in the tank, but I'm doubtful that his arm or shoulder or elbow could hold up long enough to give his stuff a chance to show itself. But it's worth taking a flyer on, considering he'd only cost a minor league roster spot. I'd like to see the Twins make an offer, even if it's just for sentimentality's sake, and then if he decides to sign elsewhere, no hard feelings. I just think that if he's going to take one last crack at his career, he should have the opportunity to do so with the franchise that turned him into an All-Star and multiple Cy Young award winner.

Quick Hits