-- Robby W., Edina, Minn.
-- Aaron H., Burnsville, Minn.
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Going back to the whole Kouzmanoff thing, do you think if the Twins dangled Alexi Casilla as well as Glen Perkins that the Padres would bite? It would solve the third-base issue and what to do at second base with both Casilla and Nick Punto as options for the spot.
-- Harry G., Ledyard, Conn.
-- Bryan B., Alta, Iowa Watching Blyleven finish just five votes short of earning induction into Cooperstown this past week was frustrating for many Twins fans. The consensus of most people around baseball is that based on the close vote, Blyleven will see his dream of ending up in the Hall of Fame realized in 2011. But of course there is no guarantee, since voters have been unpredictable and some can change their votes. Bert has given credit to people like Rich Lederer of baseballanalysts.com and Bill Hillsman, who runs bertbelongs.com, for helping his vote totals to increase in recent years. Those Web sites have put together statistical analysis to help support the case for Blyleven to be in the Hall of Fame. There are also stories of fans of Andre Dawson who sent informational packets to the BBWAA voters who have a Hall of Fame vote to make their case for Dawson -- based on stats, analysis, etc. -- and as we all know, Dawson was finally elected this time. So fans can have an impact on the balloting, and from talking with Bert this week, I know he appreciates all the efforts on his behalf. I saw a rumor that a Francisco Liriano for Jose Lopez of the Mariners trade might be in the works, Any truth to that?
-- Bradley M., Golden Valley, Minn. This is the time of year when rumors abound. I was told by a Twins source that this particular rumor had no validity and I'm only addressing it here to use it as an example that rumors must be taken with some sort of skepticism. Some rumors do wind up to be true, but there are many that don't stick around for long. If there's news to report, we'd have a story about it. Are the Twins having another Winter Caravan this year? If so, when will the dates/times be announced?
-- Jason G., Moorhead, Minn. The dates for the Twins' 50th annual Winter Caravan were announced this week. There will be four legs (Northwest, South, Central, and Southwest) headed out this year, running from Jan. 18-28 and making stops in more than 50 communities. Current Twins players who will participate in this year's caravan include pitchers Nick Blackburn, Matt Guerrier, Pat Neshek, Jesse Crain and Jeff Manship; infielder Matt Tolbert; outfielders Jason Kubel and Denard Span and shortstop J.J. Hardy. Gardenhire and hitting coach Joe Vavra will also take part, along with Twins great Tony Oliva. A more detailed schedule for the Caravan can be found right here.
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.