The (slow) countdown to spring training

Posted on January 19th, 2009 – 1:23 PM
By La Velle

According to ESPN’s free agent tracker, there are 107 of 171 free agents still unsigned. Names like Jason Varitek, Orlando Hudson and Manny Ramirez are still looking for homes.

Seamheads (that’s what we call ourselves) usually are taking it easy during the final few weeks of spring training, making arragements to head to Florida or Arizona and getting some down time before the run of 10-12 hour days from the time pitchers and catchers report to Opening Day. Not this year.

The ecomony is hitting free agency hard, and teams have sat back and waited for the market to adjust to them. So the daily calls to agents and sources continues. (Sigh)

The Twins still would like to improve at third and in the bullpen but I get the sense that the Twins are closer to getting relief help. They are interested in Brandon Lyon but I was told last week they are not one of the teams to have made this offer. If you are Brando Lyon, do you go to the Twins to set up or look to hook up with Detroit or St. Louis as a closer?

I think the Twins are really trying to land Eric Gagne. Gagne was terrible with Boston a couple years ago and for a half season with Milwaukee last year. If the Twins can sign him for $3-4 million it’s worth a shot, especially if he can pitch like he did the second half of last season. And maybe pitching coach Rick Anderson can get a little more out of him.

Here’s something to watch out for if that doesn’t work out: Chad Cordero’s agent told  me that his client will throw off a mound sometime in mid-February. The Twins were one of several teams at his long toss session recently, so I expect them to show up when Cordero is ready throw a bullpen session.

That’s where we stand as baseball slowly moves back to the forefront in the Twin Cities this week.

Thursday: There’s the annual Minnesota Diamond Awards at the Marriott City Center. Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Joe Nathan, Denard Span and other Twins will be on hand to accept awards, talk about the upcoming season and raise money for a good cause.

Friday: TwinsFest begins.

Saturday: There’s the Second Annual Last Hot Stove League Banquet, held at the Harriet Island Pavillion. Corey Koskie, Tim Tschida and others will be in attendance.

So there will be plenty of baseball talk going on this week in town. The Twins haven’t given us much to talk about – so we can talk about why the Twins haven’t given us much to talk about!

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