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When I was doing my Live Chat last night, someone asked me about available relievers still on the market, and if I thought the Twins should be interested in any of them. Here is one part of my response to that question, “Russ Springer had a great year, but he’s over 40 and would cost a draft pick, so that makes no sense…”
A couple of things… found with very minimal research, I found that he turned 40 in November, so he will be 40 throughout the 2009 season. And more important, I found that although he is a Type A free agent, the St. Louis Cardinals chose not to offer him arbitration, so it would not cost the team that signs him a draft pick.
That completely changes my thoughts on this topic. You see, rumors indicate that because of his age, Springer will likely have to sign a one year contract. Secondly, the value of that contract could be between $2 and $3.5 million. If that is the case, he may be the perfect guy for the Twins for 2009!
Springer made his major league debut way back in 1992 with the Yankees, and since then, he has also pitched for the Angels, the Phillies, Astros, Braves, Diamondbacks, Cardinals, Astros (again) and Cardinals (again). In 2007, he threw 66 innings in 76 appearances and was 8-1 with a 2.18 ERA and a 0.909 WHIP. In 2008, he pitched in 50.3 innings over 70 games. He went 2-1 with a 2.32 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP. Those are some very impressive numbers. He has pitched in 70 or more games the last three years, and 62 games in 2005.
Again, since we are likely talking about a one year deal, his age is not a tremendous concern. He has been working with acclaimed pitching coach Dave Duncan the last two years in St. Louis, and the Twins are known for taking care of their pitching staff pretty well under Rick Anderson’s eye. Springer has somehow found some durability in his late 30s. There still could be incentives included in such a deal, and if it would take adding a team option for a second year, with a reasonable buy out, it could be done as well.
I could fully support the Twins signing Russ Springer, and if what I am hearing is at all accurate, he is the guy that the Twins are actually targeting right now. Any thoughts? Leave your comments here.
MORE ON SPRINGER
After posting the above Russ Springer article, I got an e-mail from our friends at Over the Baggy pointing to an article from TheTownTalk.com, in Louisiana. It contains some quotes from Springer that are rather interesting.
This is obviously regarding teams he is talking to:
“Some are far enough away, I’m kind of surprised we’re actually considering them,” he said. “Kelly and the kids have decided to come with me for bigger parts of the season after spending hardly any time with me last season,” he said. “So that’s kind of allowed me to spread my area that I’m considering.
“But I’ve had interest from teams on the West Coast, as far north about as you can imagine, and Florida,” he went on. “At this point in my career, I want to go somewhere where they have a chance to win. That’s a big part, and certainly where my family would be comfortable, and the financial part comes in third probably.”
Well, Minnesota is pretty far north, right? The Twins provide a chance to win. The Twin Cities are known to be family-friendly. And the financial part could be good from the Twins perspective!
Also from the article:
“I don’t think I’ll sign a multi-year contract,” he said. “I’ll definitely take it year by year, and I’m not 100 percent playing this year. But I’m leaning definitely toward playing this year, and I’m not saying that it will be my last. I’ll probably decide something by the end of the week.”
Right in time for Twins Fest!! Remember a year ago, the Twins signed Justin Morneau and Michael Cuddyer to long-term contracts to start Twins Fest. Maybe this year, the big news will be the signing of a new Relief Pitcher.
Any thoughts? Please leave your comments here.