The long, cold offseason is finally coming to a close, with pitchers and catchers reporting to Ft. Myers on Sunday. Next week I'll have an offseason review piece, as well as a Spring Training preview, and within a couple weeks the Twins' exhibition schedule will be getting underway.
I don't have much to write about today, but here are a few notes:
* One pitcher who won't be reporting to Ft. Myers on Sunday is Francisco Liriano, who is having visa problems stemming from a 2006 DUI arrest. The process of getting things cleared up could take a little over a week. That's unfortunate news, considering that Liriano probably needs to be in camp more than any other pitcher on the staff being that he hasn't pitched in a major-league game in well over a year. The good news, however, is that within the article linked above, Joe Christensen mentions that Liriano "appears fully recovered the Tommy John elbow procedure he had in November 2006," noting that the left-hander "pitched two innings recently in a scrimmage at the Twins’ Dominican academy in Boca Chica."
There is not one player on the Minnesota Twins that I am looking forward to watching this year more than Liriano.
* On Wednesday I wrote about the Twins' signing of Livan Hernandez and concluded that, while not outrageous, it is not a particularly good move. Many fans seem satisfied with the signing, and I have seen numerous people voice sentiments that sound something like this: "Basically the Twins got another Carlos Silva for about half the money Silva is making in Seattle."
While Hernandez and Silva are both heavyset Latino right-handers, the comparison is probably not apt. Given his recent downward trends, I think it's a lot more likely that Hernandez pitches like Silva v. 2006 than Silva v. 2004, 2005 or 2007. Silva was never flashy, but for the majority of his time in Minnesota, he was a solid pitcher who kept the team in games and occasionally tossed a gem. It seems like he was a little under-appreciated, and he may be missed more than people realize, especially by those who seem to think Hernandez will step in and pick up right where Silva left off.
* Speaking of Hernandez, Christensen had an entry in his blog yesterday outlining the details of the newly acquired pitcher's contract, which includes an incentive whereby Hernandez will receive $100,000 if he wins a Cy Young Award this year. Apparently that's pretty standard, but it still seems kind of funny to me. I'd be fine with the Twins rewarding him with $100 million if he wins the Cy Young.
* Finally, here's the image that graced the front page of ESPN.com's MLB section yesterday:
Could that be any more depressing for a Twins fan?