November 2012

Span traded to Nats for RHP Meyer

MINNEAPOLIS — The Twins traded center fielder Denard Span to the Nationals for Minor League right-hander Alex Meyer, the club announced Thursday.

Meyer, 22, posted a 2.86 ERA with 139 strikeouts and 45 walks in 129 innings split between Class A Hagerstown and Class A Advanced Potomac. It was his first professional season, as he was drafted by the Nationals as the No. 23 overall pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft.

The 6-foot-9 right-hander is ranked as the No. 50 overall prospect according to MLB.com and was Washington’s No. 2 prospect. Meyer is regarded as a power arm, as he possesses a 97 mph fastball with a slider in the upper 80s.

Span, meanwhile, leaves the Twins after five years in Minnesota. The center fielder has a career .284/.357/.389 batting line with 23 homers, 230 RBIs, 360 runs and 90 stolen bases in 589 games.

He fills two major needs for the Nationals, as they were looking for a center fielder and leadoff hitter. The two clubs were heavily linked as trade partners for Span before the Trade Deadline in 2011 and 2012.

Twins agree to Minor League deal with Wood

MINNEAPOLIS — The Twins agreed to terms on a Minor League deal with right-handed reliever Tim Wood, according to a Major League source. The deal includes an invitation to Major League Spring Training.

Wood, 29, posted a 2.19 ERA with 21 saves in 54 appearances at Triple-A Indianapolis while in the Pirates organization last season. He struck out 67 and walked 23 in 70 innings while being honored by Baseball America as the best reliever in the International League for a second straight year.

The 6-foot right-hander last appeared in the Majors in 2011, when he had a 5.63 ERA in eight innings with the Pirates. He also had 23 saves and a 2.84 ERA in 40 appearances at Indianapolis that season.

Wood has a career 4.50 ERA in 57 big league appearances. His best season came in 2009 with the Marlins when had a 2.82 ERA in 22 1/3 innings.

Wood is mostly a fastball/slider pitcher with his fastball coming in at 94-98 mph and his slider at 89-91 mph.

He was originally drafted by the Marlins in the 44th round of the 2002 First-Year Player Draft out of Pima Community College in his hometown of Tucson, Ariz.

Willingham wins Silver Slugger Award

MINNEAPOLIS — After a career-year offensively, Twins left fielder Josh Willingham was rewarded with his first-ever Silver Slugger Award on Thursday.

In his first season in Minnesota, Willingham set career highs in homers (35), RBIs (110), runs (85) and OPS (.890). The slugger also set a career high in games played with 145, as he was able to avoid the disabled list.

For his efforts, he joined Angels center fielder Mike Trout and Rangers center fielder Josh Hamilton as the three Silver Slugger Award winners in the outfield.

Other winners in the American League were White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski, Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder, Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano, Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera, Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter and Royals designated hitter Billy Butler.

The Silver Slugger, which was first awarded in 1980, is voted on by coaches and managers from both leagues, and voters are prohibited from rewarding players on their own team.

Willingham proved to be one of the better offseason signings before last season, as the 33-year-old had a breakout year with the Twins after signing a three-year deal worth $21 million before the season.

He got out to a hot start, hitting .347 with five homers in April and entered the All-Star break hitting .261 with 19 homers and 60 RBIs in 81 games. He failed to make the All-Star team but stayed consistent in the second half of the year, batting .259 with 16 homers and 50 RBIs in 62 games.

Willingham is Minnesota’s first Silver Slugger Award winner since Mauer took home the award for the fourth time in his career in 2010. Other Twins who have won the award are Kirby Puckett (1986-89, ’92), Paul Molitor (‘96), Chuck Knoblauch (’95, ’97) and Justin Morneau (’06, ’08).

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