It's been a long time since I did a Craig's Corner update and this one will probably be outdated pretty quickly as the Hot Stove League heats up at Major League Baseball's winter meetings in Nashville, Tennessee.
I find myself trying to get information from the winter meetings several times each day as the Twins have become a major player this off season with the status of Johan Santana and Joe Nathan. Both are signed for 2008, but both will be free agents after that. The Twins would be wise to use the leverage they have right now to trade them both and get multiple prospects as they look to rebuild a challenger to the Tigers and Indians in the AL Central.
These winter meetings will be a real test for new GM Billy Smith. He has already had a showdown with Hank Steinbrenner of the New York Yankees and Smith didn't cave in to Hank's deadline demands. Reports are saying the Yankees are out of the picture but I don't buy that. They may have taken a backseat to the Red Sox and possibly the Angels in the negotiations, but when it comes right down to it I think Steinbrenner and the boys in pinstripes would be ready to ante up their offer to keep Santana from signing with the hated Bosox.
Reportedly, the Yankees offered fireballing right hander Phil Hughes, centerfielder Melky Cabrera and a middle-level minor league prospect for Santana. Smith held out for Hughes, Cabrera and another highly touted pitching prospect, Ian Kennedy. The Yankees said the price was too high and they weren't going to be used as leverage for negotiations with the Red Sox. Boston is said to have offered left handed pitcher John Lester, centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury or pitcher Clay Buchholz along with shortstop Jed Lowrie and another minor league pitching prospect. The Twins have apparently countered with Ellsbury, Lester or Buchholz and Lowrie for the two-time Cy Young award winner. The Red Sox say that's too spendy. Now the Angels are said to be in the mix and the Twins are asking for pitcher Jered Weaver, shortstop/third baseman Brandon Wood and another pitcher from the group of Ervin Santana, Joe Saunders or minor league prospect Jose Arredondo.
Once the Santana talks are done or cool down, look for talks surrounding the trade of Joe Nathan to heat up. I think the Twins might be better off holding onto Nathan until close to the July 31st deadline and trading him to a contender at that time. His 6.5 million dollar salary for 2008 isn't a hindrance to anything the Twins are trying to do right now. Of course, if there's a great offer on the table this week, I'd trade him!
Speaking of baseball, American Legion Post 30 of Fergus Falls is in need of a manager for the summer of 2008. Applications can be made by contacting Mary at 218-736-2708 or sending a resume to her attention at 216 West Cavour, Fergus Falls, 56537. Applications are requested by December 21st.
Jeff Siemon, an 11-year veteran of the Minnesota Vikings who played in 3 Super Bowls and 4 Pro Bowls, will be in Fergus Falls on Saturday morning. Siemon, a Divisional Director for Search Ministries for 23 years, will be addressing a men's group between 8:00 and 9:00 a.m. on Saturday at Bethel Luthern Church, 702 West Alcott Avenue in Fergus Falls. All men are welcome and encouraged to attend.
Siemon graduated from Stanford University in 1972 with a B.A. in history. He was a consensus All-American, played on two successive Rose Bowl champioship teams in 1971 and 1972, serving as captain in '72, received the "Pop Warner Award" for most outstanding senior on the West Coast, played in the Hula Bowl and co-captained the College All-Star team, received the Silver Anniversary Dick Butkus Award for best collegiate linebacker in the United States in 1971 and was the tenth player chosen in the college draft in 1972. He started as a rookie for the Vikings and made the NFL All-Rookie team. He was voted Most Valuable Player by his teammates in 1978 and was chosen as a member of the Vikings All-25-Year and All-40-Year Anniversary teams. Siemon was inducted in the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006.
He earned his master's degree in Christian Apologetics from Simon Greenleaf School of Law and as a national speaker has developed numerous presentagions aimed at enriching the quality of one's life. He currently resides in Edina, Minnesota with his wife Dawn. They have four grown children and five grandchildren.
Former Fergus Falls swimmer Luke Money, is off to a great start at St. Olaf College in Northfield. They had several meets in November and participated in a big Invitational at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin this past weekend. Luke has been swimming the 100 and 200 butterfly events in most meets.
This past summer, Luke had his best 200 fly (2:14.19), however, this fall he dropped that time to 2:11.70 and at the Carthage meet he swam 2:02.68 in prelims and a 2:02.99 in the finals , taking fifteenth place. His best ever 100 fly was 52.56 his junior year at FFHS. At Carthage he was sixth in that event with a time of 53.23 in the finals. He also swam in the 50 freestyle, turning in his best ever time (23.41) in that event. In the 200 and 400 freestyle relays, Luke also had his best times for his splits (22.70 in the 200 and 50.05 in the 400).