There are ex-Twins on the free agent market this year, as always. Where are they headed? Let's take a quick spin through the market.
Henry Blanco - Ol' Hank White is still a free agent, and entering his age-42 season it will be interesting to see exactly how much interest remains in his skills. Last we heard he still wanted to play one more season. Coming off of a year in which he played for Seattle and Toronto, would he be able to grab a job in one of those two cities?
A.J. Pierzynski - From 2004 through 2013, A.J. has had just one season with an OPS+ better than 94, but that doesn't mean he's been short on interest. He signed with Boston on a one-year, $8.25 MM contract.
Garrett Jones - The former Twins minor league slugger hit .261/.342/.472 in his first four seasons in Pittsburgh, but really struggled this year and eventually lost playing time as the Pirates made their run for the post-season. Could he find a job on someone's bench? His splits versus right-handed pitching are impressive, even though those numbers took a dip in 2013 as well. Somebody may see him as an inexpensive platoon bat due for a bounce back season.
Justin Morneau - Signed a two-year, $13 MM deal with Colorado on Tuesday. It's certainly more than I thought he'd get, but I also think he could see an offensive rebound in Denver.
Jamey Carroll - I did expect a bit better from him in his time with Minnesota, but it's always difficult to expect too much when any player is playing in their late 60s. The Royals were never going to pick up that option, so he's still a free agent. I'm not confident that he'll find an offer this winter.
Alexi Casilla - Baltimore declined their $3 MM club option for 2014, but as a 29-year old free agent who can play a decent second base and provide some speed he could get a minor league contract somewhere.
Nick Punto - Oakland snapped him up early on a one-year, $3 MM deal ($2.75 MM plus a $250K buyout of vesting 2015 option). A good bench option for a contending team.
Jason Bartlett - Signed a minor league deal with the Twins. That's fun.
Darnell McDonald - The Cubs re-signed McDonald to a minor league contract recently. His splits versus right-handed pitching are solid, but going into his age-35 season he's running out of time and opportunities, too.
Delmon Young - The last we heard from Elmon is that he'd like to return to Tampa Bay next season. But seriously...who wouldn't? I'd worry about him getting work if he was 34, but even now he's still just about to enter his age-28 season. He won't ever duplicate the success he had with the Twins in 2010 at age 24, but could he find an AL team willing to give him DH at-bats? I'm not sure, but if you want a bat there are worse options you could make out of the bargain bin.
Jason Kubel - Going into his age-32 year, Kubel is coming off of his worst season as a pro. Cleveland declining his option was a no-brainer. Just one season after hitting 30 bombs for Arizona, it seems like he's bottomed out. His best asset has always been mashing right-handed pitching, but it's worth remembering that Target Field was one of the reasons he was happy to move on from Minnesota. A reunion makes no sense for Kubel and the Twins, but he might find a job as we get closer to February.
Scott Baker - Back in September, Baker indicated he'd like to return to the Cubs. Of course he did. It's typical of players trying to rebound from an injury and having an unimpressive season to want to return to their current team. I'm not sure Theo Epstein will feel the same way, but it will be interesting to see what kind of a deal Baker gets. He'll be 32 this season.
Matt Garza - I've been saying it since the season ended: he's the best combination of youth and talent on the free agent market for starters. He should get big money to play somewhere. It would be great to see him return to Minnesota, but I don't see the front office tying up three starters to long-term deals in one winter. If they bring in somebody else, it will be for a maximum two-year deal.
Philip Humber - A minor league offer from the Athletics was enough to lure him, and he probably didn't take long to sign on the dotted line, either. His days as a professional pitcher are numbered.
Mike Pelfrey - It sounded last week like the Twins were holding their interest in Pelfrey, although I'm not convinced they wouldn't be better off letting Sam Deduno try that last rotation spot. Or Kyle Gibson, depending on your outlook.
Johan Santana - Just over a week ago we heard that Johan was throwing from 90 feet, but throwing from a mound was still upcoming. It sounds like the Twins may have had a spark of interest early on, but that it disappeared very quickly once they saw his medical reports. Somebody may take a flyer on the man who was, for three or four years, the best lefty in the game - but I have to believe any innings to be gotten from him now are on borrowed time. He turns 35 in March.
P.J. Walters - He signed a minor league deal with the Royals. You take your opportunities where they're offered, when you're a career minor leaguer. Good for him.
Relievers (by closers, then by righty/lefty combined)
Grant Balfour - He'll be 36 next season, but who doesn't want their closer shouting Australian insults in the general direction of batters? There was early speculation that he could land with the Yankees and it was Seattle who was most recently tied to the right-hander, but he remains a free agent.
Joe Nathan - This looks like a two-year, $20 MM contract with the Tigers, including a $10 MM third year option in what would be his age-41 season. He's the greatest closer in Twins history and one of the best of this generation, but still...the tigers? Dick.
Luis Ayala - I could see him eventually garnering a minor league offer.
Jesse Crain - Who else loves that he was traded and then didn't pitch an inning with his new club? That's just a sucker punch. Anyway, he's entering his age-32 season and has been one of the best relievers in baseball during his time with the White Sox. Somebody is going to get a potentially very good bullpen option for, potentially, relatively little money. There was interest from the Rockies in October.
Matt Guerrier - From a guy who I thought was just filler, he's turned in one hell of a career. Going into his age-35 season he could get a one-year or minor league deal somewhere, but his command has gotten worse over the last three seasons and it's cutting down on how effective he can be.
LaTroy Hawkins - At 41, he'll be the oldest reliever in the Majors. Colorado signed him to a one-year, $2.5 MM contract.
Jeff Manship - Yet another Colorado connection, as that's where Manship pitched 30.2 innings this past season. He's just organizational filler for somebody at this point, but that's a good career to have.
Jose Mijares - San Francisco outrighted him and he chose free agency. Because he's left-handed and can get a strikeout, he'll land on his feet somewhere. But like most relievers, he's still a free agent.
Pat Neshek - He elected free agency instead of staying with Oakland and being arbitration-eligible for one more season. At the very least I'd expect a minor league offer from somebody, although he's certainly capable of being a Major League reliever at age 33.