Twins were in on Mike Lincoln…plus late updates

Posted on December 4th, 2008 – 3:07 PM
By La Velle

I’ve finally emerged from my Thanksgiving food coma. Joe C. is still on duty, but I’m getting up to speed before I head to Las Vegas next week for the winter meetings.  

The Twins will have to look elsewhere for bullpen help after righthander Mike Lincoln signed a two-year deal with the Reds today. The Twins were hot after Lincoln, who was a 13th-round pick in 1996 and has had two Tommy John operations since leaving the organization.

Word is that the Twins were barely outbid by the Reds, who signed Lincoln last season and gave him a shot to revive his career. Lincoln hadn’t pitched since 2004 before signing with the Reds but was hitting the low 90′s with his fastball and still has a good breaking ball.

So the Twins have to come up with another plan. We’re all waiting to see where closers will land, and which closers may wind up settling for set-up roles. The list of free-agent set-up men isn’t great. And, no, the Twins had no interest in Bob Howry, who signed with the Giants yesterday.

(By the way, $9 million a year for Edgar Renteria? Do the Giants ever learn?)

ESPN’s Buster Olney suggested that Brian Fuentes could return to the Rockies, which could allow them to trade Huston Street. Don’t get too excited about that development because the Rockies historically ask for a lot in return.

Hopefully there will be enough movement at the winter meetings to help the Twins find the reliever they want.

In other news, I’ve heard that Delmon Young has hit the gym big-time this offseason and has lost weight. And his ankle is much better. Remember, he jammed his ankle on Aug. 18 during a game against Oakland. He didn’t make a big deal out of it but the Twins felt he was hobbled the rest of the season because of it.

I know it can be gleaned from reports like this one that Young is a goner, but I don’t sense that’s the consensus opinion at the Dome. What’s wrong with opening the season deep in outfielders? Someone is going to get hurt. And I think the Twins would be wise to sit back and see if Young makes adjustments and continues to develop. What if everyone is playing well at the trade deadline and a team in need of an outfielder calls?

And this way you’ve got four outfielders thinking, `I’ve got to keep my job.’ Is that bad? I think there’s nothing wrong in letting this play out.

6:20 Update: The Twins have asked release waivers on designated hitter Randy Ruiz. Indications are that they want to clear space at Class AAA Rochester for younger players.

Ruiz, 31, made his major league debut last season, batting .274 with 1 homer and 7 RBI in 22 games. Ruiz is expected to clear waivers on Friday. The Twins now have 38 spots filled on their 40-man roster.

6:58 Update: The Twins continue to stay in touch with free agent infielder Nick Punto. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire would like to see Punto signed, but the Twins and Punto’s agent, Jeff Caulfield, might be wating for other shortstops to sign or be traded before beginning serious negotiations.

Several teams, including the Phillies and the Mets, have expressed interest in Punto.

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