*A few days ago in the Star Tribune, Joe Christensen discussed the battle for the Twins' left-handed relief spot that will take place during spring training. The Twins seem to want an experienced vet filling this role, so you can probably do away with the possibility that Francisco Liriano or any other farmhand will get a stab at the job. The two main contenders appear to be Gabe White and Dennys Reyes, both mediocre vets recently signed to minor league contracts. I'd put my money on White to win the job. Whoever it is, they will not be successful if Ron Gardenhire tries to use them in the same way as he did JC Romero. Romero could not really be considered a lefty specialist because Gardy would often leave him in to face several batters, including right-handers, rather than just having him get the tough southpaw out and then handing the ball to one of the stronger right-handed relievers. If Reyes or White are used strictly as a LOOGY (Left-handed One Out GuY) who will be used in late game situations to take care of guys like Travis Hafner and Jim Thome, they could be very helpful.
*The Twins will be bringing 15 non-roster invitees to spring training. The two that interest me are Glen Perkins and Denard Span. Both of these guys will likely start the year in Double-A, but both are on the fast track and I don't think it will be too long before we see either of them playing in the Metrodome.
*Is anyone even remotely surprised that neither Manny Ramirez nor Miguel Tejada are going anywhere? I personally never thought either of these guys were going to be dealt one bit, but I was pretty surprised at how many totally implausible trade scenarios the media was able to concoct.
*Among the big leaguers participating in the upcoming World Baseball Classic with Twins ties: C Joe Mauer, RP Eddie Guardado, RP Todd Jones, for the USA team; RP Jesse Crain, 1B Justin Morneau, 3B Glenn Williams, and 3B Corey Koskie for the Canada team; 1B David Ortiz for the Dominican Republic; RP Tony Fiore for Italy; SS Juan Castro and RP Dennys Reyes for Mexico; and SP Johan Santana, SP Carlos Silva, and C Henry Blanco for Venezuela.
The favorite in this tournament has got to be the Dominican Republic, who will send hurlers Pedro Martinez and Bartolo Colon and have a formidable lineup featuring names like Ramirez, Ortiz, Tejada, Pujols, and Guerrero. Yikes.