The Twins have been all over the news early this offseason. There's no missing them.
First, there was the aggressive signing of pitcher Eric Hacker. While other teams were still drawing up offseason plans, the Twins made an aggressive move to bring in a player they'd been coveting. Hacker won 16 games last year, which is three more than AL Cy Young winner Felix Hernandez! Granted, Hacker did it as a 27-year-old in Triple-A and coupled it with a 4.51 ERA, but that's neither here nor there.
Things only heated up when the Twins inked Chase Lambin, a 31-year-old career minor-leaguer. Despite having spent the previous season playing in Japan (and hitting .192) Lambin was a mid-season International League All-Star last year with the Syracuse Chiefs. Watch out Yankees!
Adding household names like Jeff Bailey, Phil Dumatrait and Yorman Bazardo, it's clear the Twins mean business this winter.
And did you hear yesterday was Ron Gardenhire Day?
All joking aside, things have been quiet for the Twins thus far, which is a switch from last year when Bill Smith dealt for J.J. Hardy just days after the World Series concluded. It's not unexpected, and it likely portends a much quieter offseason.
But we can be assured that the Hacker signing won't end up being the team's most significant move this offseason. Things are going to start happening, and today -- marking the deadline for teams to offer arbitration to free agent eligible players -- sets those things into motion. By next Thursday, those players will have to decide on whether they'll accept arbitration. By then, we will know whether Carl Pavano, Jesse Crain, Brian Fuentes, Jon Rauch and Matt Guerrier are going to test the free agent market. The following Monday, the Winter Meetings get underway in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. They're a breeding round for hot stove rumors, many of which will certainly be connected to the Twins -- some with merit.
The hot stove has been awfully chilly for the Twins over these first few weeks of the offseason, but things are about to start heating up. As that happens, my posting frequency should increase here and hopefully we'll have some other things to discuss in the comments section than Ron Gardenhire/Brad Childress comparisons.