This year's Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tenn., will remain on the weekday schedule that began two years ago as the meetings open up on Monday and end on Thursday, Dec. 7. While many of the big-name free agents have already signed in what was a diminished market to begin with, it appears that a lot more wheeling and dealing could occur at the annual event.
The Twins are among the many clubs looking to fill their current holes through trades, and that includes what could be a blockbuster involving ace southpaw Johan Santana. Twins general manager Bill Smith will be experiencing his first Winter Meetings from the GM perspective with all eyes on him, as teams wait to see what the Twins might be seeking for the two-time Cy Young Award winner.
Among the other issues that the Twins will try to address is their need for a third baseman and a designated hitter. After finishing in the bottom half of the American League in nearly every offensive category in 2007, the Twins' main goal is to upgrade their offense. They will need to find those bats outside of the organization due to the lack of position prospects in their system.
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79-83, third place, American League Central
Deals so far: Picked up the 2008 option for closer Joe Nathan; acquired outfielder/DH Craig Monroe in a trade with the Cubs; acquired outfielders Delmon Young and Jason Pridie and infielder Brendan Harris from Tampa Bay for pitchers Matt Garza and Eduardo Morlan and shortstop Jason Bartlett.
Players eligible for arbitration:
First baseman Justin Morneau, outfielders Michael Cuddyer, Jason Kubel, Monroe and Jason Tyner and right-handers Matt Guerrier and Juan Rincon
Carlos Silva and Rondell White
Center field, third base and designated hitter. The loss of Torii Hunter, who signed a multiyear deal with the Angels on Thanksgiving, creates a gaping hole in center. The club once again will try to fill holes at third and DH, positions which have been revolving doors for the Twins over the past few seasons.
The Twins have an ace in their pocket, literally, in Santana. With only year remaining on Santana's contract, the Twins are shopping the pitcher and he is expected to be the top draw in Nashville. In addition to Santana, the club has a stockpile of talented young pitchers in its organization. The Twins have been hesitant to mortgage the future in past seasons, but the team's need to fill so many holes makes it seem likely that at least one arm will be dealt.
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.