Quiet Meetings not a bad sign for Twins

Club expects to keep Plouffe, Nolasco while seeking relief help

Quiet Meetings not a bad sign for Twins

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- It's been a quiet Winter Meetings for the Twins. General manager Terry Ryan said Wednesday he's still not close to making any deals.

Ryan remains focused on adding a lefty reliever via free agency or trade, but said nothing is imminent.

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"Today was a decent day, but I don't have anything to report," Ryan said. "Today was all right. It was one of the better days I've had here, but I don't have anything to report. But there was at least some dialogue I felt pretty good about."

Free-agent left-handers Antonio Bastardo and Tony Sipp remain available, but the Twins appear more likely to go the trade route, as they've never signed a reliever to a multiyear deal. Ryan, though, said he continues to meet with agents to try to find a match.

"It's pretty split between clubs and agents," Ryan said. "We're not just chasing trades, we're chasing free agents."

Ryan added that even if the Twins leave the Winter Meetings without making a deal, it won't be a failure, as he believes he's laid some groundwork. He also hinted there's not a major sense of urgency, as he's narrowed his search to relievers and potentially a fourth outfielder.

"It's not like we don't have most of our areas covered," Ryan said. "But there are some that are lesser a strength than others."

While the Twins seem likely to turn to a trade for relief help, they're not expected to deal Trevor Plouffe or Ricky Nolasco, as some reports have indicated. Ryan reiterated that Plouffe will be the club's third baseman next year, with Miguel Sano in the outfield, while he said Nolasco will head to Spring Training competing for a spot in the rotation. Nolasco is still owed $25 million over the next two seasons, so his contract would be hard to move.

"He'll come in to compete for a spot and we'll see how it sorts out," Ryan said. "And for those who don't make the rotation, they'll be able to make the team in a different role."

Ryan added he doesn't plan to trade Glen Perkins or Kevin Jepsen, as the Twins have two relievers with closing experience, but they don't have the bullpen depth to part with one of them. Ryan also clarified that Perkins will be the closer heading into next season.

"You'll always have questions about guys with ability but I don't want to go any more into it than that," Ryan said. "If you've got talented players, people are going to have interest, especially if you have a multiple area there."

Ryan said he's also continuing to look for a fourth outfielder and doesn't believe the uncertainty of playing time will be an issue next year. The Twins have several young and unproven options in the outfield such as Byron Buxton, Eddie Rosario, Max Kepler and Sano, so it's hard to predict how much playing time a fourth outfielder would get. The Twins have been linked to Rajai Davis, but could also sign a player to a Minor League deal like they did with Shane Robinson last year.

"It is a little tough to navigate around but it can be done," Ryan said. "Really that shouldn't scare somebody away. It didn't scare Shane Robinson last year with a similar situation. So it won't scare people off, but will come down to dollars."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.