The Twins took care of a little paperwork on Friday, exercising outfielder Jason Kubel’s $5.25 million option for 2011 and declining a $5 million option on infielder Nick Punto.
Punto, 32, hit just .238/.313/.302 with only one home run and 11 doubles in 252 at-bats this past year while earning $4 million. That stat line didn’t exactly deserve a raise, so the Twins cut him loose over a week before they had to and will allow him to test the free agent market.
It sounds like Punto is open to returning to the Twins in 2011 at a lesser salary and manager Ron Gardenhire does like his infield glove and versatility. But it’s too early in the offseason to know for sure if he will be back.
“We’ll just see what develops from there,” Punto’s agent Jeff Caufield told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, shortly after learning that the option was declined.
The Phillies attempted to sign Punto back in 2008 before the Twins offered him a two-year contract with an option for 2011. The Fightins might have interest again with an aging infield.
Rick Morissey of the Chicago Sun-Times published an article on Sunday giving a bit of insight into Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein. When Epsten was younger, he dabbled in sportswriting, but quickly realized the trade wasn’t for him.
As Morissey details, when Epstein was 19 years old writing for Yale’s student newspaper, he wrote an article suggesting the school’s football coach should be fired during what would become a 3-7 season. Epstein was told during the meeting that one writer would defend the coach and one would call for his job. “It was a lesson in the way that the world of journalism sometimes works. It was an eye-opener for me. I regret it, and I’ve happily moved on.”
Epstein continued, “I realized I didn’t want to be a sportswriter when I was interning with the Orioles back in ’92, ’93, ’94. I did do a lot of media-relations stuff, and I saw that the life of a sportswriter is pretty lonely. You kind of work by yourself, sit there by yourself in the press box, go back to the hotel bar. Not to generalize.” He added, “But I really respect writing and respect sportswriters.”
He’s not wrong, and he seems to have found his calling as a front office executive. His Cubs are back in the World Series for the first time since 1945.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis tweeted on Sunday, “Got a little too close to [Francisco Lindor] during the celebration!! Freak accident but should be good to go by Tuesday! #cantkeepmeoutofthisgame!”
Per MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian, manager Terry Francona said Kipnis is dealing with a low ankle sprain, but he’s expected to be ready to go when the World Series begins on Tuesday. Kipnis went through fielding drills on Sunday.
Kipnis is hitting .167/.219/.367 with a pair of homers and four RBI in eight games this postseason.