NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- While Brian Dozier's name generated some buzz as a trade candidate, it was ultimately a quiet first Winter Meetings for new Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey and general manager Thad Levine.
The Twins left Thursday without making a splash, but it was a productive week for the new front office to learn more about their own organization and meet with teams and agents.
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The Twins had the No. 1 overall pick in Thursday morning's Rule 5 Draft but maneuvered a three-team trade with the Padres and Angels to acquire right-hander Justin Haley.
The Twins selected right-hander Miguel Diaz but sent him to San Diego for a player to be named later or cash considerations; the Padres are expected to receive cash. Los Angeles then sent Haley, who was taken eighth from the Red Sox organization, to the Padres, who traded him to the Twins for cash.
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- While the division-rival White Sox initiated their rebuild with two major trades at the Winter Meetings, the Twins continue to listen on their veterans such as second baseman Brian Dozier.
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- With the late start to the offseason for the new front office, the Twins have been using the Winter Meetings as their own mini-organizational meetings to further analyze their roster.
Twins manager Paul Molitor has been at the Winter Meetings all week as a result, and he said he's meshed well with chief baseball officer Derek Falvey and general manager Thad Levine. He's been able to voice his opinion to the new front office on several topics, including the final coaching staff hire, which is expected to come soon and be a coach familiar with analytics.
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- With chief baseball officer Derek Falvey and general manager Thad Levine still getting to know their new organization, the Twins have focused more internally than externally in the first two days of the Winter Meetings.
Falvey and Levine have spent most of their time in meetings, learning more about their roster after talking with their scouts, the agents of their current players and other teams to see how the Twins' players are valued. They both met with second baseman Brian Dozier late Monday night and were impressed with his passion and desire to remain in Minnesota.
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- Before he presented Larry Corrigan with an award at the Scout of the Year reception Wednesday night, Twins general manager Thad Levine took a moment to address the audience.
"I truly believe as an industry that we're always chasing the next competitive advantage," Levine said. "I've always believed that the competitive advantage is the people in this room. It's the scouts. You people are the lifeblood of this game."
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- With trade rumors involving his name swirling, Brian Dozier got his first taste of the Winter Meetings on Monday, making a one-day trip to represent Under Armour in its new partnership with MLB.
The Twins' second baseman, coming off a 42-homer season, met chief baseball officer Derek Falvey and general manager Thad Levine for the first time in person. Dozier said he understands why he's been subject to trade rumors but ultimately wants to remain with Minnesota.
Q. This brief time you've had with kind of the new regime, Derek and Thad, how is it working? What are your thoughts? Big changes, obviously.
PAUL MOLITOR: It's a change, but it's working. When you make major moves like that, it's going to take time on both sides of the coin. I think everyone's put forth our best effort in trying to expedite building the relationships.
They have inviting personalities in terms of, you know, there is obviously a fairly easy connection. But going up the time with Derek leading up to the Indians and the end of their run and bringing Thad in, probably spent more time with Derek to this point. And just to get a feel for how they want to run this meeting down here. You got a guy like Terry who did it for so long, you know what that's like. And it hasn't been dramatically different, but they have a little different way they're operating.
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The Twins made their first move of the Winter Meetings on Monday, signing first baseman/outfielder Ben Paulsen to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training.
Paulsen, 29, spent parts of the past three seasons with the Rockies, hitting .271/.316/.446 with 16 homers and 70 RBIs in 186 games. He's coming off a down year, however, as he hit .217/.258/.304 with a homer and 11 RBIs in 39 games with Colorado this past season. But Paulsen did hit .278/.331/.434 at Triple-A Albuquerque.
Brian Dozier has reportedly been the subject of a more than a few trade inquiries, and it's not at all hard to see why. His 42 homers this past season tied for third in the Majors, and his .299 Isolated Power (slugging percentage minus batting average) was merely the best by any second baseman since 1929. He's a competent if unspectacular defender, and he's owed only $15 million over the next two years. Of course contenders are going to be interested in his services, and of course the Twins would ask for a high return.
But how, exactly, did a player who doesn't have elite distance on his fly balls and wasn't considered a power prospect turn into such a slugger? "His gap power should provide plenty of doubles," wrote a Baseball Prospectus scouting report in 2012, "but he rarely hits balls over the fence." The report wasn't wrong; Dozier hit only 16 homers in more than 1,600 Minor League plate appearances.
Mike Petriello is an analyst for MLB.com and the host of the Statcast podcast. He has previously written for ESPN Insider and FanGraphs. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Gordon, Garver on Fall League's Top Prospects Team
Selected by AFL managers and coaches, the team recognizes 24 players who stood out
By Mike Rosenbaum
The 2016 Arizona Fall League came to an end on Nov. 19, when the Mesa Solar Sox, powered by a two-homer, 4-for-4 performance from Cubs top prospect Ian Happ, defeated the Surprise Saguaros, 6-1, in the championship game at Scottsdale Stadium.
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- With the Twins set to make the No. 1 overall selection in the MLB Draft in June, the new front office made changes to its scouting department on Monday, as Deron Johnson was promoted to senior advisor of scouting and Sean Johnson was promoted to scouting director.
Deron Johnson had previously served as scouting director for the Twins since the end of the 2007 season, and he has been with the organization since 1994. Sean Johnson was the club's West Coast supervisor since '08, and he joined the Twins in '02 as an area scout. Deron Johnson's role will now expand to both international and professional scouting, while Sean Johnson will run the amateur scouting department.
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins tendered contracts to all five of their arbitration-eligible players before Friday's deadline, but they cleared a spot on their 40-man roster ahead of next week's Winter Meetings by non-tendering Minor League right-hander Yorman Landa.
Beginning Monday, MLB.com and MLB Network will have wall-to-wall coverage of the 2016 Winter Meetings from the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center outside Washington, D.C. Fans can watch live streaming of all news conferences and manager availability on MLB.com, including the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday at 9 a.m. ET. The Twins have the No. 1 pick.
MINNEAPOLIS -- After a lengthy search that featured several external candidates, the Twins officially hired James Rowson as their new hitting coach on Friday.
Rowson, who had served as the Minor League hitting coordinator for the Yankees for the past three seasons, replaces Tom Brunansky, who was Minnesota's hitting coach for four years. Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey said he met Rowson a few years ago and immediately recognized his people skills. Rowson's ability to build relationships came across in his interviews with the front office and manager Paul Molitor, while those in baseball had nothing but positives to say about him.
MINNEAPOLIS -- Longtime Twins media relations director Tom Mee, widely regarded as the organization's first employee as it made the move from Washington, D.C., to Minnesota in 1961, died Friday at the age of 88.
Mee, who was the club's media relations director until retiring in 1991, was inducted into the Twins Hall of Fame in 2013. Mee also received the Robert O. Fishel Award for Public Relations excellence in 1988, and he was the club's second recipient of the Herb Carneal Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007. At Target Field, the Tom Mee Library in the Twins' communications office is named in his honor.
New agreement includes change to home-field advantage in World Series
By Richard Justice
IRVING, Texas -- Major League Baseball's players and owners reached a tentative five-year Collective Bargaining Agreement through the 2021 season on Wednesday night. The parties will follow up today with a formal document, which then must be ratified by representatives of both sides.
At 8:40 p.m. ET, an assortment of happy players, owners, lawyers and staffers poured from meeting rooms to exchange handshakes and hugs. That's how quickly 36 hours of round-the-clock negotiations ended, nearly four hours before today's deadline of 12:01 a.m. ET to reach a deal. Short of an agreement, the sport was faced with the best-case scenario of an extension or owners could have imposed a lockout.
MINNEAPOLIS -- In the first major move under the new front office led by Derek Falvey and Thad Levine, the Twins and free-agent catcher Jason Castro on Wednesday finalized a three-year deal worth $24.5 million.
It fills a crucial need for the Twins, who were looking for a starting catcher with Kurt Suzuki a free agent after his 2017 option didn't vest. Castro, an All-Star in 2013, brings a strong defensive presence behind the plate and is known for his pitch-framing and pitch-calling abilities as well as his leadership skills.
MINNEAPOLIS -- When Derek Falvey was introduced as the Twins' chief baseball officer in early November, one of his major themes was the importance of establishing a better culture throughout the organization.
One major change heading into next year to help address that is the organization's Minor League coaches and instructors will be able to take breaks during the season to attend family-related events. It allows Minor Leaguer staffers a chance to get away from the grind of the baseball season when an important family event comes up.
Baseball players are absurdly busy during the season and, as a result, may not get to shower their loved ones with all the attention and care they otherwise would like. The good news is they can make up for it in the offseason. Just ask Brian Dozier.
For a quarter-century, the Arizona Fall League has helped the top Minor League talent in the game get ready for the big leagues. It's done so with remarkable consistency, sending more than 60 percent of its alumni to the highest level.
The AFL has produced 247 players who have earned roster spots in the All-Star Game, including 33 in last year's Midsummer Classic. There have been 16 MVPs (Mike Trout is a two-time winner), seven Cy Young Award winners and 27 Rookies of the Year to come through the league since it started in 1992.
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins announced plans on Tuesday for their annual TwinsFest, which will be held at Target Field for a fourth straight year from Jan. 27-29.
TwinsFest, which began in 1989 and was previously held at the Metrodome until moving to Target Field in 2014, is one of the largest fundraisers for the Twins Community Fund. It's set to feature more than 60 current, former and future Twins players.
MINNEAPOLIS -- When the new front office led by Derek Falvey and Thad Levine was officially introduced in early November, both men talked about the importance of bringing back former players to the organization.
The Twins did just that on Monday, hiring former Minnesota stars Torii Hunter, LaTroy Hawkins and Michael Cuddyer as special assistants to baseball operations. All three players, who retired after the 2015 season, will be resources for the front office, coaching staff and players. They'll also report to Spring Training as instructors, which is a role that Hunter and Hawkins filled last year. They'll also visit Minor League affiliates throughout the year.
With the help of the Twins and the American Heart Association, the Heart of 29 Campaign was established to help raise awareness and funds to prevent heart attacks, like the one Carew suffered while golfing near his home in Southern California on Sept. 20, 2015.
Some of the most exciting plays in baseball are the results of a fast runner using his speed to apply pressure to the defense. In celebration of the joy that comes from watching speedsters race around the basepaths, let's take a look at a few of the fastest baserunning plays of 2016.
MINNEAPOLIS -- With two weeks left until baseball's Winter Meetings, the Twins have yet to make any outside additions to a roster that lost 103 games last season.
But the Twins did make some surprising moves Friday, when they outrighted third baseman Trevor Plouffe, outfield prospect Adam Walker and catcher Juan Centeno to clear roster space for six prospects to be protected from the Rule 5 Draft.
English makes amazing catch in Fall League Championship
By Michael Clair |
The phrase "put some English on it" means to hit a ball with some serious curve on it. But for Twins prospect Tanner English, he wants that phrase to refer to an absolutely absurd catch. Playing for the Surprise Saguaros in the Arizona Fall League championship game against the Mesa Solar Sox on Saturday, English made his best attempt at changing the dialect.
In the bottom of the first, Indians prospect Bradley Zimmer hit a liner to the right-center gap. English simply raced across the outfield moors and, with a hat-losing dive, made the catch:
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins made some surprising roster moves Friday, as third baseman Trevor Plouffe and catcher Juan Centeno were outrighted off the roster, while outfield prospect Adam Walker was claimed off waivers by the Brewers.
With a corner infield logjam that includes Joe Mauer, Miguel Sano, Byungho Park and Kennys Vargas, the Twins decided to part ways with Plouffe after not finding a trade partner early this offseason. Plouffe was eligible for arbitration for the final time, and was due for a raise on his $7.25 million salary from last season. Walker also found himself the odd-man out among a glut of outfielders, as he's struggled to get on base because of strikeouts in the Minor Leagues despite his prodigious power. Centeno had a solid year offensively as a backup catcher, but has had trouble defensively.
MINNEAPOLIS -- With two weeks left in the regular season, Major League Baseball approached Twins second baseman Brian Dozier and asked him if he'd be interested in being the league's representative as part of the MLB Ambassador Tour in Taiwan.
Dozier didn't hesitate, as he was excited about the opportunity to promote baseball abroad and always wanted to travel to Asia. Dozier and his wife, Renee, spent last week in Taiwan as part of the Ambassador Tour, and he said it went better than he even expected, especially because of the immense fan turnout.