The Twins appear to be far from locks to re-sign either Michael Cuddyer or Jason Kubel, but they have added infielder Jamey Carroll and catcher-first baseman Ryan Doumit since free agency began. So, here’s a guess at their lineup as it stands right now:
CF Denard Span
SS Jamey Carroll
C Joe Mauer
1B Justin Morneau
DH Ryan Doumit
3B Danny Valencia
RF Trevor Plouffe
2B Alexi Casilla
LF Ben Revere
Obviously, that’s not going to cut it. The Twins’ four best hitters — Mauer, Morneau, Span and Doumit — all have big durability questions, and even if one could pencil everyone in that lineup for 500 at-bats, Morneau might be the only one to get to 20 homers.
The Twins are likely to pick up one more bat this winter, but in truth, they probably need two. Re-signing Cuddyer is their preference. A pure DH would also make sense, though they can wait there. If Vladimir Guerrero falls through the cracks and ends up signing for $3 million-$4 million, he’d be a nice fit. Doumit is listed as the DH here, but it’s his flexibility as an alternative at catcher and first base that drew the Twins to him.
The Cardinals announced on Tuesday that outfielder Dexter Fowler has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with a strained left forearm. Outfielder Harrison Bader was recalled from Triple-A Memphis to take Fowler’s spot on the roster.
It’s not clear when Fowler suffered the injury, but he went 0-for-12 since a three-hit performance last Friday. He’s hitting .241/.333/.452 with 14 home runs and 37 RBI in 333 plate appearances this season.
Bader, 23, is the Cardinals’ No. 6 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. This season, with Memphis, Bader hit .297/.354/.517 with 19 home runs and 48 RBI in 381 PA.
Jon Morosi of MLB Network said yesterday that the Detroit Tigers and Chicago Cubs have been engaged in trade talks involving starting pitcher Justin Verlander and catcher Alex Avila. Morosi also noted that the Los Angeles Dodgers have shown interest in Verlander as well. Whether this is idyl chitchatting of serious dispute is unclear, of course. Everything is unclear in the leadup to the deadline.
The veteran right-hander is carrying a 4.50 with a 120/57 K/BB ratio over 124 innings. Verlander impressed last year, finishing second in AL Cy Young Award balloting, but he has fallen back to Earth in 2017. His velocity remains high, however, and it’s not hard to imagine him going on a solid run in a way that could help a contender. He is owed $56 million over the next two seasons, however, and has a $22 million option that could vest for 2020, so negotiations for him could be tough. If the Tigers want talent back, they’ll have to eat salary.
Verlander got an ovation from a Detroit crowd last night which seemed to sense that, yes, it’s possible he pitched his last game for the Tigers. Given that he has 10/5 rights, allowing him to veto any trade, that decision is ultimately up to him. It’s not hard to imagine him accepting a trade to a contender, however.
We wait see.