I'm getting a little sick of writing about unsubstantiated trade rumors that will probably never amount to anything, but I'm essentially confined to that topic since it's pretty much all that's out there right now. For today, I thought I'd take a quick trip around the Web to see what others are saying about the Twins early in this offseason.
* On Tuesday, Aaron Gleeman wrote up an exhaustive list of 25 center fielders that may be available one way or another this offseason, along with pros and cons for each. It is almost guaranteed that the Twins will go outside the organization to fill their vacancy in center field that will open when Torii Hunter departs, and I'd be stunned if the player they bring in is not on that list.
* ESPN's Buster Olney reported yesterday that the Twins have had talks with the Cardinals regarding third baseman Scott Rolen, which is intriguing to say the least. Rolen was a superstar player throughout the first nine years or so of his career, but in the recent past he has struggled with injuries. Still, he's only 32 and in 2006 he was healthy enough to hit .296/.369/.518 with 22 homers and 95 RBI while playing in 142 games for the Cards.
If he can stay healthy, Rolen is a good bet to put up solid-to-great offensive numbers while playing Gold Glove caliber defense. I'm not sure where the Cardinals stand on Rolen right now and I imagine he'd too expensive to be worthwhile for the Twins when the injury risks are taken into account, but if the rumor is true then it's encouraging that the Twins are looking into unconventional and unexpected possibilities like that one.
* Joe Christensen had a nice article in yesterday's Star Tribune in which he discusses an apparent change in philosophy for the Twins as they look to fill their offensive needs this postseason. In the past under Terry Ryan, the Twins have been extremely protective of their pitching prospects, but Christensen states that the organization will likely soften its stance on that position in order to fill needs this offseason. Most interestingly, Christensen writes that "there are strong indications the Twins would be willing to move [Matt] Garza for a top young hitter." The thought of parting with Garza is unsettling considering his unlimited potential, but the idea that the Twins are willing to do what's necessary to improve their horrid offense and pathetic organization position player depth is a positive one.
The team that Christensen discusses most as a trading partner in the aforementioned is the Devil Rays -- a team that is being tossed around quite a bit in connection with the Twins lately. Names that I have heard mentioned most frequently are center fielder Rocco Baldelli and right fielder Delmon Young, along with Padres' third base prospect Chase Headley. I've always viewed the Devil Rays as a highly logical trading partner for the Twins, so I'm glad to hear that the two teams have been communicating.
* After an extremely impressive second half of 2007 that ended with him pitching a few September innings for the Twins, Nick Blackburn has been tearing up the Arizona Fall League, going 3-0 with a 1.59 ERA over 17 innings while striking out 16 and walking only two. I've been hearing speculation that Blackburn could be a serious contender for a roster spot out of spring training next year. He also seems like the ultimate "sell high" candidate...