Looking ahead….

Posted on December 28th, 2009 – 11:58 AM
By La Velle

I’m supposed to be off today. I still have some use-or-lose-it time off, but it’s been about three weeks since I last posted and I was tired of seeing that my last entry was about a minor leaguer I might never cover.

I’ll get more involved after the new year. That’s’ when Joe C. will be away on one of his super-cool excellent adventures.

Twins officials are in the transition phase between the Dome and Target Field. The next time I’ll try to contact one of them will be on a new phone number at the new park.

They continue to monitor the market for third basemen. Mark DeRosa? There have been reports that his asking price has gone down. Heard at the winter meetings that he wanted three years and $21-24 million (boy, did that Placido Polanco contract set the bar). Now it might be two years and $6 million per. Is that in the Twins’ wheelhouse now?

UPDATE: DeRosa looks to be headed to San Francisco.

Adrian Beltre? No chance. He’s going to want more than DeRosa.  But many teams appear to be waiting for the market to drop. Players like Jason Bay and Matt Holliday don’t have jobs and might not end up with what they originally sought.

Haven’t heard anything on Kevin Kouzmanoff since the winter meetings (then again, I’ve been off). Kouzmanoff for Glen Perkins makes sense to me. But I did hear in Indy that the new Padres GM doesn’t want to swing and miss with his first trade – which is why he asked for more than Perkins for Kouzmanoff.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire  said during the winter meetings that the club might still be interested in starting pitching. We know about Jarrod Washburn’s interest in pitching close to home. I know other names have been mentioned elsewhere.

I can see the Twins  adding a moderately-priced starter for the back end of their rotation. But I also see that they have a few bodies around – Perkins (for now) and Francisco Liriano are at the top of the list. And Brian Duensing has raised the stakes.

My opinion is that if they need a couple million to get a deal with DeRosa done, don’t worry about adding another starter. The pitchers they are looking at aren’t front of the rotation types, anyway.

I have heard nothing concrete about the Joe Mauer negotiations recently. I must say, however, it seems like everyone I run into has a mutual a friend or a neighbor of a friend who’s heard this or that about the deal.

Believe me, we will let you know whenever we hear anything about talks. There’s usually someone on one side or the other who lets a detail slip out here and there. Both parties are working extremely hard to keep this one quiet. That won’t stop us from trying…

I noticed that Buster Olney of ESPN wrote about the opening of Target Field . You wouldn’t believe h0w many people approached me at the winter meetings about playing outdoors. Most people think we live in Siberia. I met new Cleveland manager Manny Acta, and the first thing he said to me was, “what’s it’s going to be like playing outdoors up there?”

It’s on everyone’s mind.

The Star Tribune took a tour of Target Field before the holiday season kicked off. The place is going to rock. Fans will be right on top of the action. The foul territory is among the smallest in the game (Scott Baker won’t be happy). The last row in left field is closer to the field than the first row of the upper deck at the Dome.

The thing that jumped out at me the most: bars.

Yes, bars. They’re everywhere. And for good reason.

First of all, the Twins have tried to provide places where fans from any part of the park can get warm when the temperature dips. Every time I saw a bunch of heat lamps, a bar seemed to be nearby.

The coolest thing I learned during the tour:  There will be a spot called the Town Ball Tavern. I don’t know how the Twins pulled it off, but they acquired the old floor that the Minneapolis Lakers played on and have installed it in the Town Ball Tavern. A spot worth visiting….

That’s about it, baseball-wise, for now. I hope you got what you wanted for Christmas, and I hope you achieve everything you strive for in 2010. I leave you with a couple non-baseball notes.

One of my gifts to my brother was a Star Trek DVD. I’m not a Trekkie, but the movie was pretty good.

And I ask all Packers fans to unite with Bears fans tonight as we fight off the attack of the Purple-clad horde from the north…

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