Well that was fun. Yesterday, the Twins outrighted Brian Buscher to AAA, then not five minutes later, it was announced that the Rays were close to dealing Akinori Iwamura. Of course, the Twitterverse blew up with speculation that Aki was coming to Minnesota, but alas, it was not to be. For some reason, he was dealt to the Pirates instead. It's a shame, too, because Aki would have fit in well with the Twins. He can play second and third and, get this, he can hit! Iwamura is a career .281/.354/.383 hitter, so he doesn't have much power but he does get on base a lot. Well, a lot more than Alexi Casilla, anyway. *Sigh* Oh well, there are still plenty of other fish in the sea. The Twins have a lot of work to do in the offseason, and as usual, the Twins' blogosphere is on top of it:
- On a more personal note, I do feel a little bad for Buscher. Getting outrighted/released is a lot like getting fired, and that really sucks. Buscher as a player wasn't really anything special: he made decent contact and drew a lot of walks, but he didn't have much power and couldn't hit lefties. He also was terrible on defense, and since roster space is at a premium, Buscher became expendable. There is a small chance he might remain with the organization, but most likely he'll opt for free agency and a fresh start somewhere else. Best of luck, Justin Morneau's buddy!
- Should the Twins try to retain any of their impending free agents? Twinkie Town weighs the possible risks/rewards of re-signing Joe Crede, Josh Johnson does the same for Carl Pavano, and Nick Nelson for Orlando Cabrera. What do I think? Maybe (if Luke Hughes isn't going to stick at third, if Danny Valencia isn't ready, and if he isn't too expensive), yes (again, if he isn't too expensive), and no (he's declining both offensively and defensively, the Twins can and should do better).
- Granny Baseball examines the nightmare that is the 40-man roster and the prospects that might need protection from the Rule V draft. There's a lot of them, and there are only a few available spaces on the roster. I am really glad that I don't have to make these decisions, I just get to second-guess them.
- One way to clear space on the roster is to simply dump a crapload of dead weight, and Twinkie Town looks at all of the possible non-tender candidates. Barring any sort of trade, Boof and Glen Perkins will probably be back, since the rotation isn't very deep and the Twins are loath to simply let their major-league ready pitching talent walk away. Well except for Jesse Crain, who will receive a $2 million raise in arbitration and I doubt the Twins will want to pay him. Brendan Harris, also due a substantial raise, is a pretty average hitter and a pretty below-average defender, so it's unlikely he will be back. The Twins will probably go with the younger, cheaper, similarly mediocre Matt Tolbert as a utility infielder instead.