Twins reportedly considering 'a serious run' at Cliff Lee

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I was a radio guest on ESPN Twin Cities earlier this week (you can listen to the segment here) and one of the co-hosts, Tom Pelissero, hinted that he had some information about the Twins being legitimately interested in Cliff Lee.
Pelissero has now put it in writing, reporting today that “more than one person in the know” say “they wouldn’t be surprised at all if the team makes a serious run at acquiring” Lee from the Mariners before the trade deadline.
That a contending team would be gearing up for a run at Lee certainly isn’t surprising, but pursuing a blockbuster deal for a star player that would almost certainly require giving up multiple top prospects is highly uncharacteristic for the Twins. However, in addition to Pelissero’s report there have been some other rumblings about the Twins looking to make a bigger splash than usual this year.
Any offer for Lee would have to be more valuable to the Mariners than the two draft picks they’d receive by simply letting him walk as a free agent, although of course the new team would also have the ability to recoup some of the value given up in a trade by getting those same picks. Pelissero suggests Ben Revere as the most likely name being offered up by the Twins, but while he’s a solid prospect and former first-round pick he projects more as a Juan Pierre-type player than a future star.
It seems unlikely that Seattle would settle for a package built around Revere, in which case catching prospect Wilson Ramos’ name would probably come up in negotiations. Based on their trading track record I’d be shocked if the Twins actually gave up two of their best prospects for a half-season rental and draft picks, but there definitely seems to be some fire behind the Lee-related smoke and if nothing else Minnesota might as well kick the tires on the best pitcher available.

Cubs sign Brett Anderson to a $3.5 million deal

Brett Anderson
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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Cubs have signed pitcher Brett Anderson to a contract, pending a physical. Anderson, apparently, impressed the Cubs during a bullpen session held in Arizona recently. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the deal is for $3.5 million, but incentives can bring the total value up to $10 million.

Anderson, 28, has only made a total of 53 starts and 12 relief appearances over the past five seasons due to a litany of injuries. This past season, he made just three starts and one relief appearance, yielding 15 runs on 25 hits and four walks with five strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings. The lefty dealt with back, wrist, and blister issues throughout the year.

When he’s healthy, Anderson is a solid arm to have at the back of a starting rotation or in the bullpen. The defending world champion Cubs aren’t risking much in bringing him on board.

Yordano Ventura’s remaining contract hinges on the results of his toxicology report

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 24: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals pitches against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning at Comerica Park on September 24, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports provides an interesting window into how teams handle a player’s contract after he has died in an accident. It was reported on Sunday that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. He had three guaranteed years at a combined $19.25 million as well as two $12 million club options with a $1 million buyout each for the 2020-21 seasons.

What happens to that money? Well, that depends on the results of a toxicology report, Rosenthal explains. If it is revealed that Ventura was driving under the influence, payment to his estate can be nullified. The Royals may still choose to pay his estate some money as a gesture of good will, but they would be under no obligation to do so. However, if Ventura’s death was accidental and not caused by his driving under the influence, then his contract remains fully guaranteed and the Royals would have to pay it towards his estate. The Royals would be reimbursed by insurance for an as yet unknown portion of that contract.

The results of the toxicology report won’t be known for another three weeks, according to Royals GM Dayton Moore. Dominican Republic authorities said that there was no alcohol found at the scene.

Ventura’s situation is different than that of Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died in a boating accident this past September. Fernandez was not under contract beyond 2016. He was also legally drunk and cocaine was found in his system after the accident. Still, it is unclear whether or not Fernandez was driving the boat. As a result, his estate will receive an accidental death payment of $1.05 million as well as $450,000 through the players’ standard benefits package, Rosenthal points out.