- The Twins' 2008 first round draft pick ( 27th overall) Carlos Gutierrez's introduction to his organization's offense unfolded rather poorly. After finishing 2008 with High-A Fort Myers, Gutierrez was asked to participate on the Puerto Rican team in the World Baseball Classic. In their exhibition game against the Twins, Gutierrez was brought into the game in the fourth inning - an inning in which he failed to complete. The 22-year-old gave up two runs on two hits (including a Joe Crede double) in two-thirds of an inning. The Twins are looking to covert the former University of Miami closer into a starter because of what Baseball America describes as a "Major League-ready sinking fastball".
The Oakland A's are reportedly close to reaching terms with former White Sox shortstop Orlando Cabrera. According to inside sources, the deal is worth approximately $4 million dollar for one-year of the 34-year-old shortstop's services. Yes, the deal is valued at half of what the Twins committed for Nick Punto, someone that has not fielded an entire season as a starting shortstop. The concern of many potential suitors was Cabrera's status as a Type A free agent (as close to leprosy a free agent can get this offseason) costing a first round draft choice to the purchaser. The Twins, had they reached a similar deal Oakland did, would have had to forfeit their #22 overall draft choice in 2009. This is a steep price to pay for a declining talent in Cabrera. The A's, however, always vigilant of a bargain, have the #13 draft pick which is a protected selection. Instead, the A's will have to concede their second round draft pick making Cabrera that much of a better deal for Billy Beane's organization.
Oakland is also a candidate to sign former Twins' lefty Dennys Reyes according to the San Francisco Chronicle. It is safe to say that Reyes will not receive the three-year, $12-million contract he was seeking from Cincinnati at the offseason's infancy. When it was clear that the Twins had no inclination to bring Reyes back, I wrote an ode to how good Reyes's minor league signing in 2006 was to the organization. In his three seasons in a Twins uniform, Reyes threw 126.3 innings with a 2.14 ERA and a 109-to-51 strikeout-to-walk ratio for a low sum of $2.55 million AND if the A's action soon, the Twins will receive an additional draft pick in 2009 as well. That's a pretty good investment.
- From the computer of SI.com's Tom Verducci: "This is hard to imagine, but Livan Hernandez could help this team. He looks to be in good shape and throwing well. If the Mets need him to make 32 starts they're in trouble, but New York will have far better pitching depth than it had in previous years if Hernandez can work a little of his 83 mph magic for 15 starts or so."
- You know your bar has been lowered considerable when the headline reads "Dontrelle Willis' outing has strong finish" yet you managed to walk the 7, 9 and 1 hitters. The walk to the leadoff hitter, Endy Chavez, forced in Willis' only earned run. Everything's coming up Willis!
If you've got the ESPN Insider, Buster Olney has some excellent details on Francisco Liriano progress through working with Twins pitching coach Rick Anderson: "Look, he's always going to have a violent delivery. … Every once in a while, he'll go back in his mechanics and it's still going to be violent. We're still trying to get him to finish off his pitches consistently, rather than cutting his delivery off. But he's better."