December 2012

Twins close to an extension with Burton

MINNEAPOLIS — The Twins are close to signing reliever Jared Burton to a contract extension, a source familiar to the negotiations told MLB.com on Thursday. The extension is expected to be a two-year deal with a club option for 2015.

The Twins, however, have yet to officially comment, as the deal is not yet finalized.

Burton, 31, had an impressive 2012 campaign with the Twins after signing a Minor League contract before the season. The right-hander posted a 2.18 ERA with 55 strikeouts and 16 walks in 62 innings.

Burton, who was coming off shoulder problems while with the Reds, was able to remain healthy throughout the season and reached a career high in appearances with 64.

Burton owns a career 3.08 ERA with 198 strikeouts in 231 innings. He was eligible for arbitration this offseason but will avoid going to arbitration with the new deal.

He’s expected to be the club’s top setup man again next season behind closer Glen Perkins.

Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN was the first report the two sides were close to an extension.

Hannahan doesn’t appear to be a fit with Twins

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — With the Twins in the market for a third baseman to add competition for Trevor Plouffe, St. Paul native Jack Hannahan has been linked to the club the last few days at the Winter Meetings.

But it doesn’t appear to be a fit, as he’s been offered a Major League deal from at least one other club while the Twins are only offering a Minor League deal, according to a source.

Hannahan wants the chance for regular playing time with a Major League contract and has garnered interest from seven clubs, including the Twins, Yankees, White Sox and Reds.

Hannahan, 32, hit .244/.313/.341 in 105 games last season and is a career .234/.316/.355 hitter.

Day 1 updates from Terry Ryan

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Twins general manager Terry Ryan met with the media on the first day of the Winter Meetings, and said he’s reached out to every free-agent starting pitcher on the market.

He admitted that some options are more realistic than others, which indicates the club isn’t likely to spend top dollar on pitchers such as Zack Greinke or Anibal Sanchez.

The Twins have instead been linked to more affordable starters such as Brett Myers, Joe Blanton, Kevin Correia, Francisco Liriano and John Lannan.

I’ll have the full story up on the site on Twinsbaseball.com later tonight but here are a few nuggets from Ryan’s media session:

  • Aside from starting pitching help, Ryan said he also hopes to acquire a third baseman to give Trevor Plouffe some competition. He said there’s even a chance they could acquire a third baseman before the Winter Meetings are over on Thursday.
  • Ryan added that he doesn’t plan to add any middle infield help from the free-agent market, as both spots will be up for grabs with Jamey Carroll, Pedro Florimon, Brian Dozier and Eduardo Escobar competing for those positions.
  •  Ryan said the same about right field, as Chris Parmelee is the frontrunner to take over there with Ben Revere shifting to center field in Span’s absence. Ryan Doumit and Darin Mastroianni are also expected to see time in right field.
  • Both Joe Mauer (USA) and Justin Morneau (Canada) are slated to participate in the World Baseball Classic. But Liam Hendriks (Australia) is out, as he had his elbow scoped in early November.
  • The Twins are expected to take a player in Thursday’s Rule 5 Draft. Minnesota has the No. 4 pick.
  • Ryan said he doesn’t know where Alex Meyer, who was acquired in the trade that sent Denard Span to the Nationals, will start the year. He’s likely to open up in Double-A after ending last year in Class A Advanced but Ryan said it’s not guaranteed. He did add the club has had interest in him since the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, when he was selected as the No. 23 overall pick, and also had interest in him before the Trade Deadline.

Welcome to the Winter Meetings

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — It’s the first day of the Winter Meetings here at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center, and so far there’s not much going on with the Twins.

The Twins, though, will be actively seeking starting pitching this week, as it remains their top priority. But don’t expect them to splurge on an ace such as Zack Greinke or even Anibal Sanchez, as Sanchez reportedly scoffed at the Tigers’ four-year offer worth $48 million.

So stay tuned, as there will be plenty of updates throughout the week on Twinsbaseball.com, the blog and on twitter.

We’re scheduled to meet with Twins general manager at Terry Ryan today at 5 p.m. Ron Gardenhire is also appearing on MLB Network at 2:30 p.m.

For a primer on what the Twins are looking to do this week, click here. And click here to see what to expect for the rest of the week over at Twinbaseball.com.

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