Catching up on a few different items...
* First, with Thanksgiving fresh in the rearview mirror, I wanted to send out a big THANK YOU to everyone who has purchased a copy of the TwinsCentric 2010-11 Offseason GM Handbook. Sales for this year's version were absolutely excellent, shattering our expectations.
Of all the different types of products we've created under the TwinsCentric label, the Handbook is my personal favorite so I'm glad to see it has essentially become our flagship publication. I hope each person who picked up a copy this year has been enjoying it while continuing to use it as a reference as action ramps up this offseason and the Winter Meetings approach. If you don't have one, you can still order yours at the TwinsCentric home page.
* One of the few shortstops listed as a free agent option in the Handbook, Juan Uribe, came off the market today as the Dodgers signed him to a three-year, $21 million deal.
That's an astonishingly large contract, given that Uribe hit .248 in 2010 and two years ago was basically a replacement-level player. However, with Derek Jeter reportedly seeking $20 million a year and ultimately likely to stick with the Yankees, Uribe stood out as the top shortstop available through free agency and the Dodgers pounced with an aggressive offer.
The numbers posted last year by Uribe and Jeter may not seem particularly impressive, but both play a position without strong depth around the league, which inflates their value tremendously. This brings us to J.J. Hardy, who is looking like more and more of a bargain on a one-year contract at the $7 million or so he'd make through arbitration. It sounds like the Twins will tender him a contract, which is an absolute no-brainer, but still may seek to trade him. If so, hopefully they will recognize the very apparent league-wide demand for quality shortstops and command a fitting return. Incidentally, the Giants now have an opening at shortstop and could be a logical trading partner for the Twins.
* Tuesday night marks the deadline for free agents Carl Pavano, Orlando Hudson and Jesse Crain to accept or decline the Twins' arbitration offers. I guessed last week "that all three will opt for free agency, with Crain being the only one I could see going the other way." It seems clear that both and Pavano and Hudson will indeed decline, and with Crain already reportedly drawing interest from nine different teams, there's little doubt that he'll test the open market as well. If all three players sign elsewhere, the Twins would be rewarded with four additional high picks in next June's draft.
* All in all, it's been a pretty quiet offseason up to this point for Twins fans and while I'm sure things will heat up in the coming weeks, I'm always looking for new ways to keep things lively here at the blog over the winter. If there are any topics you'd like to see covered, please be sure to mention them in the comments section or via email. I've also considered setting up occasional live chats that would take place here on the site, in which we can discuss Twins-related topics of all sorts. Yes? No? If so, what time of day works best for people?