Today's sound track is called "Christmas Celebration," brought to you by the once and future geek rawk kings: Weezer.
Twins sign Wil Ledezma
According to International League transactions site, #MNTwins have signed LH reliever Wil Ledezma to minor lg deal. Turns 34 in Jan.— Mike Berardino (@MikeBerardino) December 22, 2014
Ledezma, as Berardino notes, is on a minor league deal. He's not listed as a non-roster invitee, but it wouldn't surprise me to see him show up in camp in one form or another. In 2014, he made 27 appearances for Yucatan in the Mexican league, posting a 1.91 ERA and allowing less than a base runner per inning.
The owner of a 5.40 career ERA in 396.1 Major League innings, he hasn't seen regular time in The Show since 2008. For a guy who will be 34 next month, what's nice about the Ledezma signing is that - if he sticks - he'll be a good guy to have around in Rochester for when future bullpen arms arrive in Triple-A. His experience will help prepare those young pitchers for the next step.
Twins release Nick Punto
Nick Punto will be released to clear roster spot for #Athletics, who were at 41 on 40-man.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) December 19, 2014
I mean, it's a natural fit, right? I'd still rather have Punto as the second backup infielder than Eduardo Nunez. Considering how much playing time that roster spot would get, it can't make much of a difference either way - I just know I'd get a kick out of seeing Punto in a Twins uniform one more time. I'd have to believe he could still be a better defensive option than Nunez, too.
Dodgers release Brian Wilson
The Twins are known to be looking for another right-handed reliever for their bullpen. Right now, I have to think that Rule 5 pick J.R. Graham gets that spot. But if the brain trust wants to make a headline or two, could they take a shot on Wilson?
Because the Dodgers on on the hook for the $10 million dollars they promised him in Year 2 of his two-year contract, the result of his exercising of a player option, Minnesota could very easily get away with paying him the league minimum. He's had Tommy John surgery twice (once while in college in 2003, and again early in the 2012 season), the most recent of which led him to miss most of 2013. He ended up with the Dodgers, posting a 0.66 ERA in 18 appearances down the stretch. The Dodgers thought he looked good enough for a big two--year deal.
Wilson's 2014 saw him put in 61 appearances and 48.1 innings. While he continued to pick up strikeouts (10.06 K/9, 24.2 K%), he also struggled with command (5.40 BB/9, 13.0 BB%). His cutter became less effective and his batted ball splits reflect it, with fewer ground balls.
We've seen first-hand how that first year back from Tommy John can mess with a player. Would you be willing to bet on a bounce-back season from Wilson as he heads into his age-33 season? I might take a shot.
Twins don't like Colby Rasmus
I'm not sure if this should be a disappointment or just expected; alternatively it could be that the Twins know that Rasmus just wants more money and/or years than they're willing to commit. Which would be fair. Because while Rasmus has posted two seasons of 4.0+ fWAR (2010, 2013), 2011, 2012 and 2014 have seen him combine for 2.1 fWAR. In terms of value he's an odd player; in center his offense would increase his value while his defense would decrease it; in a corner spot, his defense would probably increase his value while his offense could decrease it.
The thing is, if Rasmus was a guy who you could rely upon to post 4+ fWAR seasons, he'd be in line for the biggest free agent outfielder contract of the winter. Instead, he's a gamble. Somebody is likely to give him two or three years for $20 to $30 million, and that's a lot of money if he turns out to be the guy he's been in three of the last four years.
Could the Twins still trade for another center fielder? Absolutely. And I'll cover another option later this morning.
Twins not interested in Asdrubal Cabrera?
Poking around, and I'm not buying that the #MNTwins are legitimately in on Asdrubal Cabrera.— Darren Wolfson (@DarrenWolfson) December 17, 2014
We knew this when I posted my due diligence on Cabrera late last week, but if you A) didn't actually read the article or B) read it but skipped over some of the points, then it's probably worth reiterating here. He's not a great fit for a team that seems committed to Danny Santana at shorstop, especially since Brian Dozier and Trevor Plouffe are both highly likely to out-perform Cabrera going forward.
Asdrubal C. & Jung-Ho Kang have the same agent. So the leak seems obvious. #MNTwins not seriously in on Kang either. Maybe place small bid.— Darren Wolfson (@DarrenWolfson) December 18, 2014
For those asking if they should buy Kang #MNTwins jerseys: led to believe they don't have the winning bid. Not so sure they even tried.— Darren Wolfson (@DarrenWolfson) December 20, 2014
Kang, a 27-year old shortstop from KBO's Nexen Heroes, has apparently had his bid accepted by an unknown team. He hit 40 home runs in 2014; a massive amount for a guy who had already been a pretty decent hitter in his league. Whether or not his prowess can translate to Major League Baseball is up for debate. Whether the Twins still feel a little bitten by the Tsuyoshi Nishioka deal, or whether they just aren't that hot on Kang for their own reasons, it certainly feels like this is one foreign posting that Minnesota won't win. And I'll be honest: based off of everything I've read, that's okay.
Feel free to remind me I said that when Kang shows up this year and posts records.