Joe Mauer and the Minnesota Twins still have not reached a deal.
Orlando Hudson and Jacque Jones have however. Jones signed a minor league contract in hopes of making a major league comeback. Jones last played in a major league game in June 2008 with the Florida Marlins. He spent the 2009 season with the Newark Bears in the unaffiliated Atlantic League. Jones told the Twins that resurrecting his career was important, even it meant going back to Triple-A to reprove himself.
Hudson signed a one year $5M deal, a relatively cheap contract for a four time Gold Glove winning middle infielder with two All-Star game appearances.
Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the Cleveland Indians are possibly pursuing free agent Russell Branyan. Branyan played last season in Seattle where he hit .251, 31 HR, 76 RBI, but also struck out 149 times in only 431 AB. Of more concern than the K’s to most teams is Branyan’s health. He missed a month of action last year with a back injury, and at 34, teams may be reluctant to go after him.
The Tribe are also looking at another player who has been plagued with injuries in Hank Blalock. He has been on a steady decline and struggled to stay helathy since his 2004 breakout season in which he hit .276, 32 HR, 110 RBI.
It’s only early February, Spring Training has yet to begin, but Minnesota is starting to out pace the rest of the AL Central division already. For the first time ever, it may also be in dollars spent.