December 2009

Twins will watch Cuban phenom Chapman

The Twins will be among a handful of teams represented when Cuban phenom Aroldis Chapman throws for scouts on Tuesday in Houston.

According to a report by the Minneapolis Star Tribune, two Twins scouts will be on hand to check out the hard-throwing left-handed pitcher who defected when the Cuban
national team was in the Netherlands in July.

ESPN.com has reported that Chapman, 21, has already been offered a $15.5 million deal by the Red Sox. Although that offer reportedly came when Chapman was still represented by agent Edwin Mejia. He has since switched to the Hendricks Brothers, who are based in Houston.

Scouts have already had a chance to watch Chapman up close when he pitched for Cuba during the World Baseball Classic last spring. His fastball was clocked at 102 mph during that tournament and it’s no surprise that he has drawn the interest of teams like the Red Sox, Yankees, Angels — all of which are expected to be on hand for Tuesday’s workout. The Astros have also confirmed that they will have people in attendance to watch Chapman.

“This is one of any number of these workouts we attend each year,”
Twins General Manager Bill Smith told the Star Tribune. “It’s as much information
gathering as anything else. We’ve seen this guy a number of times.
We’ve seen him in the WBC and in a number of tournaments.”

While it seems unlikely that the Twins would be able to compete financially with the types of offers that Chapman is expected to receive, the club has been making an effort to be more aggressive on the International market. That included signing Dominican shortstop Miguel Sano (Jean) to a $3.15 million bonus and also landing German outfielder Max Kepler, who was considered to be the premier European prospect this year.

Twins designate Bonser

By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com

INDIANAPOLIS — The Twins designated right-hander Boof Bonser for release or assignment on Tuesday to make room for Carl Pavano on the 40-man roster.

Bonser missed the entire 2009 season following shoulder surgery in Spring Training to repair a torn rotator cuff and a torn labrum. The 28-year-old is eligible for arbitration for the first time this winter.

In 2008, Bonser began the year in the Twins rotation but by the end of May had been demoted to the bullpen due to his ineffectiveness. Bonser went 3-7 with a 5.93 ERA that season and posted an overall 18-25 record and 5.12 ERA in 163 career games with the Twins.

The Twins acquired Bonser from the Giants organization in November of 2003 in the same trade that brought
pitchers Joe Nathan and Francisco Liriano to Minnesota in exchange for catcher A.J.
Pierzynski.

Welcome to the Winter Meetings

It’s that time of the year again when the baseball world converges on a hotel for the annual Winter Meetings. This year it’s at the Indianapolis Marriott and I’m here for the week and will be bringing you updates on the Twins.

A few quick nuggets to get started. Today is the deadline for free agents who were offered arbitration to accept or decline it. For the Twins, that means they’ll learn whether or not Carl Pavano accepted their offer for arbitration. A little before midnight last night, Twins GM Bill Smith and assistant GM Rob Antony were sitting down  and chatting with Pavano’s agent, Tom O’Connell in the lobby of the Marriott.

The expectation is that if Pavano believes he can get a two-year deal from a club then he will turn down the Twins arbitration offer. The Twins have made clear their interest in bringing Pavano back and even if he doesn’t accept the arbitration offer, the club can still negotiate with the veteran pitcher to try and work out a deal.

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