Throughout January and February, we're reviewing offseason MLB transactions that have fantasy implications, and we're going team-by-team. This isn't quite like Hot Stove Daily, though. The focus here is limited. We're only looking at ownable fantasy players who've found new employers.
If we were to literally follow the rules of this feature and only review transactions with fantasy implications, there would be almost nothing to say about the Twins. Here's what Minnesota has accomplished so far this offseason:
• Retained the services of infielder Nick Punto and DH Jason Kubel. They were signed to two-year deals with team options for 2011. Punto is a career .252/.319/.332 hitter with 15-steal speed; Kubel has modest power (20 HR in '08) and no speed. These guys aren't going to be drafted in public mixed leagues.
• Signed 31-year-old relief pitcher Luis Ayala to a one-year, $1.3 million deal. Ayala delivered the worst fantasy ratios of his career last year (5.71 ERA, 1.45 WHIP), as well as the highest walk rate (2.85 BB/9).
• Avoided an arbitration hearing with Matt Guerrier. He could have some relevance in holds leagues, but that's really it. The right-hander was useful for four months last season, but he fell apart in August (10.13 ERA) and September (10.00 ERA).
• Agreed to terms on a one-year contract for OF Delmon Young. According to the AP, "his salary is technically being cut the maximum allowable 20 percent." Unless the Twins decide to go with a tee-ball defensive alignment, Young will have to battle for a job this Spring. Michael Cuddyer is healthy again, and manager Ron Gardenhire isn't interested in moving him to third base. Denard Span and Carlos Gomez likely have greater job security. Someone here is going to traded, or they're going to begin the season displeased.
And, well...that's it. The Twins have been linked to various third basemen, but they haven't actually acquired one. Brian Buscher and Brendan Harris could open the year in a platoon at third. Minnesota was also rumored to have an interest in Kenshin Kawakami and Koji Uehara, but those two eventually signed with Atlanta and Baltimore.
A few other notes: The Twins have two outstanding draft values in the starting rotation, Scott Baker (ADP 225.0) and Kevin Slowey (ADP 181.2). If you typically wait until the final rounds to sketch in your fantasy staff, target those two. The K-rates are nice and the walk-rates are low (crazy-low in Slowey's case). The risks here are minimal, and the ceilings are high ... Lefty Jose Mijares should have a significant bullpen role. He was excellent late in the season in '08, and Winter League was going well, then ended strangely ... Joe Mauer was the fourth catcher selected in our six-round mock, and he's the No. 3 catcher over at Mock Draft Central (ADP 52.5). I've got McCann No. 1 at the position, but Mauer is 1A.