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 Braves reportedly have a deal in place with free agent catcher Kurt Suzuki, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that the contract is for one year, $1.5 million with up to $2.5 million in additional incentives.
Suzuki, 33, completed a three-year track with the Twins in 2016, slashing .258/.301/.403 with eight home runs in 373 PA. The veteran backstop likely won’t provide an offensive or defensive upgrade over current starter Tyler Flowers, but should give the Braves some depth at a position they’ve been looking to strengthen since the start of the offseason.
The team has yet to confirm the deal.
With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.
For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.
Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.