142 players became free agents last night

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Under a recent agreement, players no longer need to file for free agency. Rather, free agency-eligible players automatically became free agents as soon as the World Series ended.  The MLBPA wasted absolutely no time last night telling us who those players are, issuing a press release while the Giants were still jumping around on the field (see the list of all the players below).  There will be others who join the list, of course, as arbitration-eligible players are non-tendered and stuff like that happens.

Teams have only a five-day exclusive negotiating period, down from the 15 days of years past, so there won’t be much time to breathe before the hot stove news starts up hot and heavy.  Lucky for you none of us here at HBT have lives, so we’ll be on the news and rumors like white on rice.  Make sure to keep an HBT window up at all times between now and, oh, February, because we’ll have the latest stuff up faster than just about anyone.

Here are the free agent-eligibles. Some of them — like Bronson Arroyo, for example — have options and may be off the list soon. Most of them, however, will be coming to a new team near you in the next several months.

Troy Glaus 1B Braves
Eric Hinske OF Braves
Derrek Lee 1B Braves
Kris Benson P Diamondbacks
Mike Hampton P Diamondbacks
Aaron Heilman P Diamondbacks
Rodrigo Lopez P Diamondbacks
Brandon Webb P Diamondbacks
Cesar Izturis SS Orioles
Julio Lugo 2B Orioles
Kevin Millwood P Orioles
Corey Patterson OF Orioles
Koji Uehara P Orioles
Ty Wigginton 1B Orioles
Mike Lowell 1B Red Sox
Victor Martinez C Red Sox
Jason Varitek C Red Sox
Xavier Nady OF Cubs
Willie Bloomquist OF Reds
Miguel Cairo 3B Reds
Jim Edmonds OF Reds
Michael Lincoln P Reds
Arthur Rhodes P Reds
Ramon Hernandez C Reds
Russ Springer P Reds
Joe Beimel P Rockies
Jorge de la Rosa P Rockies
Octavio Dotel P Rockies
Jason Giambi 1B Rockies
Melvin Mora 3B Rockies
Jay Payton OF Rockies
Freddy Garcia P White Sox
Andruw Jones OF White Sox
Paul Konerko 1B White Sox
Mark Kotsay DH White Sox
A.J. Pierzynski C White Sox
J.J. Putz P White Sox
Omar Vizquel 3B White Sox
Jeremy Bonderman P Tigers
Johnny Damon DH Tigers
Gerald Laird C Tigers
Magglio Ordonez OF Tigers
Bobby Seay P Tigers
Will Ohman P Marlins
Jorge Sosa P Marlins
Chad Tracy 3B Marlins
Geoff Blum SS Astros
Brian Moehler P Astros
Bruce Chen P Royals
Hideki Matsui DH Angels
Scot Shields P Angels
Brad Ausmus C Dodgers
Rod Barajas C Dodgers
Jay Gibbons OF Dodgers
Reed Johnson OF Dodgers
Hiroki Kuroda P Dodgers
Vicente Padilla P Dodgers
Manny Ramirez OF White Sox
Jeff Weaver P Dodgers
David Bush P Brewers
Chris Capuano P Brewers
Craig Counsell SS Brewers
Jesse Crain P Twins
Randy Flores P Twins
Brian Fuentes P Twins
Matt Guerrier P Twins
Orlando Hudson 2B Twins
Ron Mahay P Twins
Carl Pavano P Twins
Nick Punto 3B Twins
Jon Rauch P Twins
Jim Thome DH Twins
Henry Blanco C Mets
Elmer Dessens P Mets
Kelvim Escobar P Mets
Pedro Feliciano P Mets
Fernando Tatis 1B Mets
Lance Berkman 1B Yankees
Derek Jeter SS Yankees
Nick Johnson 1B Yankees
Austin Kearns OF Yankees
Chad Moeller C Yankees
Andy Pettitte P Yankees
Mariano Rivera P Yankees
Marcus Thames OF Yankees
Javier Vazquez P Yankees
Kerry Wood P Yankees
Justin Duchscherer P Athletics
Ben Sheets P Athletics
Jose Contreras P Phillies
Chad Durbin P Phillies
J.C. Romero P Phillies
Mike Sweeney DH Phillies
Jayson Werth OF Phillies
Chan Ho Park P Pirates
David Eckstein 2B Padres
Jerry Hairston Jr. SS Padres
Matt Stairs OF Padres
Miguel Tejada 3B Padres
Yorvit Torrealba C Padres
Kevin Correia P Padres
Josh Bard C Mariners
Chris Woodward SS Mariners
Jamey Wright P Mariners
Pat Burrell OF Giants
Jose Guillen DH Giants
Aubrey Huff 1B Giants
Guillermo Mota P Giants
Juan Uribe SS Giants
Pedro Feliz 3B Cardinals
Jason LaRue C Cardinals
Mike MacDougal P Cardinals
Aaron Miles 2B Cardinals
Brad Penny P Cardinals
Dennys Reyes P Cardinals
Jeff Suppan P Cardinals
Jake Westbrook P Cardinals
Randy Winn OF Cardinals
Rocco Baldelli OF Rays
Grant Balfour P Rays
Joaquin Benoit P Rays
Randy Choate P Rays
Carl Crawford OF Rays
Brad Hawpe OF Rays
Gabe Kapler OF Rays
Carlos Pena 1B Rays
Chad Qualls P Rays
Rafael Soriano P Rays
Jorge Cantu 3B Rangers
Frank Francisco P Rangers
Cristian Guzman 2B Rangers
Cliff Lee P Rangers
Bengie Molina C Rangers
Matt Treanor C Rangers
John Buck C Blue Jays
Scott Downs P Blue Jays
Jason Frasor P Blue Jays
Lyle Overbay 1B Blue Jays
Miguel Batista P Nationals
Adam Dunn 1B Nationals
Willie Harris OF Nationals
Kevin Mench OF Nationals
Rick Ankiel OF Braves
Kyle Farnsworth P Braves
Alex Gonzalez SS Braves
Omar Infante 2B Braves
Adam LaRoche 1B Diamondbacks
Mark Hendrickson P Orioles
Adrian Beltre 3B Red Sox
Bill Hall OF Red Sox
Felipe Lopez 3B Red Sox
David Ortiz DH Red Sox
Aramis Ramirez 3B Cubs
Bronson Arroyo RHP Reds
Orlando Cabrera SS Reds
Aaron Harang P Reds
Jeff Francis P Rockies
Miguel Olivo C Rockies
Jhonny Peralta 3B Tigers
Scott Podsednik OF Dodgers
Doug Davis P Brewers
Trevor Hoffman P Brewers
Gregg Zaun C Brewers
Jose Reyes SS Mets
Eric Chavez DH Athletics
Coco Crisp OF Athletics
Mark Ellis 2B Athletics
Jon Garland P Padres
Chris Young P Padres
Erik Bedard P Mariners
Russell Branyan 1B Mariners
Edgar Renteria SS Giants
Dan Wheeler P Rays
Vladimir Guerrero DH Rangers
Kevin Gregg P Blue Jays
Adam Kennedy 2B Nationals

2017 Preview: Minnesota Twins

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Between now and Opening Day, HardballTalk will take a look at each of baseball’s 30 teams, asking the key questions, the not-so-key questions, and generally breaking down their chances for the 2017 season. Next up: The Minnesota Twins.

Which iteration of the Twins will we get in 2017? The second-place contenders of 2015, blazing their way through the standings with 83 wins and a handful of hot prospects? The burnouts of 2016, flopping to the bottom of the division with 103 losses and a lineup held in place by Brian Dozier and, well, Brian Dozier? Or something in between?

Finishing dead last has its perks, namely a first-round draft pick and the feeling that things can’t be quite as bad as they were the year before. Unfortunately for the Twins, the only major preparation they made for the 2017 season came in the form of a front office shakeup. Derek Falvey assumed control of the club in October, bringing GM Thad Levine into the fold in November as the club assumed a more analytics-friendly approach toward the rebuilding movement.

When it came to roster revisions, however, there wasn’t much moving or shaking this winter. Third baseman Trevor Plouffe, catcher Kurt Suzuki and left-handers Tommy Milone and Pat Dean vacated their spots on the roster. Falvey avoided some of the bigger bats and bullpen arms in free agency and opted to sign backstop Jason Castro and journeyman reliever Ryan Vogelsong instead.

By and large, the core of the Twins’ roster remained the same. Center fielder Byron Buxton, infielder/outfielder Michael Sano and right-hander Jose Berrios still form the nucleus of the club’s top prospects. Middle infielder Brian Dozier will also return in 2017, though he appears to be on borrowed time with the Twins after putting up monster numbers in the second half of 2016. Ervin Santana will head the rotation again, accompanied by fellow veterans Hector Santiago, Kyle Gibson and Phil Hughes, while right-handed relievers Brandon Kintzler, Ryan Pressly and Matt Belisle and rehabbing lefty Glen Perkins attempt to prevent another bullpen collapse in 2017.

Without any major additions to the team (and, excepting the departure of Trevor Plouffe, any major subtractions), the Twins will look to their existing cadre of players for significant improvements in 2017. Miguel Sano is expected to take over third base in Plouffe’s absence, which will bring a welcome end to his short-lived and wholly unsuccessful experiment in right field. Brian Dozier, Jorge Polanco and Joe Mauer should round out the infield, with Byung Ho Park and Kennys Vargas currently vying for a spot as the team’s designated hitter.

The lineup is still four or five or six sluggers shy of formidable, but if Dozier can be counted on to repeat his 42-homer, 5.9 fWAR performance from 2016, there will be at least one Twin worth intentionally walking in 2017. Neither Miguel Sano nor Byron Buxton have quite found their footing against big league pitching yet, and another year spent struggling in the majors could mean another year of sub-optimal run production for the team as well. Jason Castro, who grades as an above-average defender behind the plate, is unlikely to provide any additional pop for the Twins at the plate after slashing just .210/.307/.377 through 376 PA with the Astros in 2016.

The pitching department also leaves a little to be desired in light of the league-worst 5.09 ERA they amassed last season. A veteran-heavy rotation could get a boost from the addition of fifth-starter candidate Jose Berrios, who is thought to be the favorite after fellow rotation candidate Trevor May underwent Tommy John surgery earlier this week. Right-hander Tyler Duffey and 23-year-old southpaw Adalberto Mejia are also waiting in the wings. Both have made convincing cases for their inclusion on the pitching staff this spring, but Duffey is coming off of a 6.43 ERA in 2016 and Mejia lacks some of the polish that Berrios offers. Still, stockpiling young pitching depth isn’t a bad thing, and could give the Twins a cushion in the event of injury or collapse down the stretch.

The bullpen outperformed the rotation in 2016, which is saying… something, though maybe not a lot. They still finished the year with a cumulative 4.63 ERA, good for last place among their American League rivals, and delivered just 2.1 fWAR while taking on the fourth-most innings in the league. The standout performer was 28-year-old righty Ryan Pressly, who worked a 3.70 ERA, 2.7 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 in 75 1/3 innings last year. In light of Ryan Vogelsong’s recent departure from the club, the Twins will round out their bullpen with left-hander Craig Breslow, who turned in a 4.50 ERA with the Marlins in 2016 and is looking for a bounce-back season of his own after reworking his delivery at age 36.

For now, it looks like Falvey and the Twins’ front office are taking a wait-and-see approach to the coming season, which bodes well for their long-term vision (assuming most of their young prospects pan out) and not so well for their chances of moving up in the division in the next year or so. That could change by the trade deadline if they can secure a worthwhile return for Dozier, though given the rumors of their understandably high asking price, it could take more than a few months to get a deal in place.

Even assuming that all the chips fall in the Twins’ favor in 2017 — prospects start hitting consistently, the rotation solidifies, and Falvey loosens the purse strings enough to net more established contenders — it’s difficult to imagine anything more than a fourth-place finish for the club as they continue to rebuild and regroup. Barring any major improvements on the inconsistent, if occasionally productive, lineup of 2016, another last-place finish feels imminent.

Prediction: Fifth place, AL Central.

Video: Angels use eight pitchers in spring training no-hitter

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Who says no-hitters can’t be just as fun when they happen during spring training?

Angels’ right-hander Bud Norris delivered two perfect innings on Friday night, paving the way for an eight-pitcher no-hitter against the Mariners at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Jose Alvarez, Cam Bedrosian, Andrew Bailey, Austin Adams, Drew Gagnon and Justin Anderson each filed a hitless inning of their own, leaving right-hander Abel De Los Santos to close out the ninth inning with just three pitches — and three game-saving plays by the defense.

Of course, it didn’t hurt that the Angels were facing a bevy of Mariners’ backups, rather than their starting lineup. In fact, Seattle’s lineup featured just two starting players — outfielder Leonys Martin and shortstop Jean Segura — while the majority of their everyday position players took on the Royals in a 4-3 win elsewhere in the Cactus League. The Mariners managed to reach base twice, first on catcher interference in the fourth inning, then on a four-pitch walk in the sixth, spoiling the Angels’ chances of turning their combined no-hitter into a combined perfect game.

Still, whether it’s executed in spring training or the regular season, against an All-Star lineup or one comprised of minor leaguers, a no-hitter is a no-hitter. The team’s eight-pitcher effort marked the first spring training no-no the Angels had completed since 1996, when they took on the Giants in a 15-0 showdown. Unfortunately for the 1996 squad, their regular season ended with a 70-91 record, good for last place in the AL West. Perhaps this no-hitter will prove a better omen for the coming season.