Do you ever get the sense that the job of a Twins beat writer at the Winter Meetings is to beat their heads against a wall? I think so, too. Anyway, here's what we've skimmed off the top of what went down yesterday.
Via LEN III, nothing is happening with former closer and famed mustache aficionado John Axford, and a similar amount of activity is happening with Alexi Ogando. Ogando's future is likely to be decided in January, after he throws.
Pat Neshek is in serious talks with three clubs, including the #astros, said two industry sources. Resolution expected soon.— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) December 10, 2014
Mike Berardino, meanwhile, points out that the Twins and Pat Neshek's agent have had a "social" conversation but nothing that could be construed as talk of an offer. Neshek is clearly a hot commodity and, as great as it would be to have him back and as welcome as Twins fans would make him feel, he's probably going to get paid by somebody. Right now, a Twins-Neshek reunion is leaning more Liriano than Hunter. Neshek's representative says Minnesota is a "natural fit," but most of the time that means nothing in the grand scheme of things.
Actually, this just in:
The Houston #Astros, who tried to sign Andrew Miller and David Robertson, now closing in on Pat Neshek after Gregerson"s $18.5 million deal— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 10, 2014
Source w/direct knowledge: RHP Edinson Volquez is looking for a two-year, $20 million deal after going 13-7, 3.04 in 192.2 IP for #Pirates.— Mike Berardino (@MikeBerardino) December 10, 2014
It's worth noting that, after signing Francisco Liriano to a very fair three-year, $39 million contract, the Pirates appear to be done working on their rotation. While Volquez should be relatively low on Minnesota's wish list for adding to their rotation, he's the type of pitcher the team seems likely to land. Guys like Justin Masterson and even Brett Anderson may be more attractive targets, but sometimes you ask the boy/girl to dance who you know will say yes.
I'm told #MNTwins have yet to engage Ervin Santana in talks but his camp is open to the idea. "He loves pitching in the cold," source says.— Mike Berardino (@MikeBerardino) December 9, 2014
Ervin Santana is a name we haven't heard much in regards to the Twins this winter. He came up last season, and it came out earlier this week that Santana turned down a three-year, $33 million dollar contract from Minnesota to take Atlanta's one-year deal. Volquez, who will be 32 in July, is a few months younger than Santana (who will be 32 on Friday), but there's no doubt that Santana has been the better pitcher over the last two years.
Volquez ('13 - '14): 63 GS, 363 IP, 4,19 FIP, 7.0 K/9, 3.7 BB/9, 1.40 WHIP
Santana ('13 - '14): 63 GS, 407 IP, 3.67 FIP, 7.5 K/9, 2.5 BB/9, 1.22 WHIP
Of course, two years and $20 for Volquez is far more palatable than five years and whatever Santana thinks he could get. If Minnesota can get Santana to agree to a three or four-year deal, I could see this happening.
Dillon Gee, meanwhile, is a name that Bryz told us about last night. Add the Giants to the short list of the Rockies and Twins who are interested. I'd still rather see Minnesota go elsewhere. Like Justin Masterson. But that road was blocked off for most of the day.
Oh, and in an interview yesterday, Terry Ryan said Mike Pelfrey is still very much in the mix for things, and that he'll - at least in the first instance - have a chance to start. Not that there are any good options for what to do with Pelfrey, but if he's in the rotation out of spring training something has gone wrong.
With Danny Santana shifting back to shortstop full-time, Escobar is becoming something of a commodity. He's a good defender coming off of a decent offensive season, and as a shortstop he'll be coveted. He's been mentioned as a possible piece to flip to the Mets for Gee, but that feels like too much for a pitcher the Twins already have duplicates of in-house. The Angels, however, are also looking for a shortstop.
Pestano, a right-handed reliever, will be 30 in February. He's a big-time strikeout arm (231 strikeouts in 191 Major League innings; 248 strikeouts in 226 minor league innings) who sometimes struggles with command but, when healthy, looks mystifying to hitters. If Pestano were a shut-down reliever, would you flip him for a potential everyday shortstop? I wouldn't, although it's certainly better than trading J.J. Hardy for relievers or Wilson Ramos for Matt Capps.
Other bits and pieces
- LEN III heard whispers that the Twins are aligned with a "position player with pop."
- Phil Mackey's take on Minnesota's off-season approach: "Should general manager Terry Ryan add a pitcher this offseason? Yes, I think he absolutely should - someone like Edinson Volquez or Justin Masterson. But if the Twins fail to take huge steps forward in 2015 and 2016, it won't be because they didn't trade for Samardzija. It'll be because Miguel Sano and Alex Meyer didn't pan out." I couldn't agree more.