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12/10/08 10:41 PM EST
Meetings slow, but offer potential
Twins GM Smith says multi-team trade unlikely, still wants Punto
By Kelly Thesier / MLB.com
LAS VEGAS -- The Twins' starting-pitching depth and surplus of outfielders have inspired multiple teams to reach out during this week's Winter Meetings.
But while rumors continue to surface regarding their players, the Twins have remained quiet, as they usually do at these Meetings.
"We've had a lot of conversations and spent a lot of time as a staff going over different opportunities and different possibilities," Twins general manager Bill Smith said on Wednesday. "We've talked to a number of other teams to see if there is a fit. We haven't found it yet."
The Twins came into the Meetings having yet to make a move this offseason. The club's inability to find a partner in the trade market has raised questions as to whether Minnesota might be better suited to delve into a multi-team trade.
One such trade scenario was raised on Wednesday when the Twins were mentioned as a possible player in the much-talked-about Jake Peavy trade.
Multiple sources told MLB.com on Wednesday morning that the Twins were trying to get involved as the third or fourth team in the deal, as they had expressed interest in Cubs' infielder Mark DeRosa. The Cubs don't appear to have the young pitching depth it will take to land Peavy, the 2007 National League Cy Young Award winner, but the Twins do.
So there was speculation that the Twins' involvement could perhaps be what it would take to finalize a deal.
But by late afternoon, the indications from the two main teams involved in the trade -- the Cubs and Padres -- were that it didn't appear as if the Twins would be a part of the deal, if it ever does take place.
Smith wouldn't address specific trade rumors when he met with the media on Wednesday evening. But the Twins GM indicated his team wasn't likely to be involved in the Peavy deal when he was asked if he felt at any point this week that his ballclub would be part of a multi-team trade.
"No, not really," Smith said. "We are having enough troubles doing a two-team deal. Multi-team deals are hard to do. They happen if you can work one out. But they are complex, and they are difficult to do."
Although the Twins haven't made a deal as of yet during the Meetings, they feel they have made progress on some fronts -- including their pursuit to re-sign infielder Nick Punto.
Smith said that the team spoke with Punto's agent, Jeff Caulfield, again on Wednesday, and they have made him an official offer, although there still seems to be room for discussion between the two sides.
"We have gone back and forth with Nick Punto and his agent," Smith said. "We continue to talk to him, and we'd like to re-sign him."
Despite Smith indicating that it's a "priority" to re-sign Punto, there is no urgency by the Twins to try to do so before the Meetings come to an end. The infielder, who was in Las Vegas this week, headed back home to Scottsdale, Ariz., on Wednesday. At least a handful of other teams have also expressed interest in Punto, and some have been fervent in their pursuit. But there is a belief that the infielder will check back in with the Twins before he makes a final decision.
As for Dennys Reyes, the only other of the team's free agents who might return, Smith said the two sides have not been in contact this week.
"We've had some preliminary stuff," Smith said. "They are out looking at what the market is. I think they want to see what the market will bear, and we'll revisit it at that point."
With only one day left of the Meetings, Smith and his front-office team don't appear likely to make a move before leaving Las Vegas. The hope is that, like in other years, the Twins will have made enough progress in their talks during this week to eventually find a way to address their needs.
"Yeah, we've made acceptable progress," Smith said. "But again, with any trade or free-agent signing, it takes two to agree."