The Winter Meetings: The Happiest Place on Earth...if your name is Cliff Lee

On Monday, while the rest of us freeze our patooties off, Bill Smith and the Twins front office staff will start a week in Orlando, Florida. In between riding the teacups and losing their money to one of the few businesses that makes the New York Yankees look impoverished, they'll try and set up the Twins for a run at the 2011 World Series. As is our wont on this website, we'll suggest just what we can expect to happen--and offer a suggestion for just how the Twins Staff can use their surroundings of the Magical Kingdom to their best advantage. (P.s. click on the years to see some of our brilliant analysis from 2009, and 2008)

1st: We sign one fairly solid reliever--Clearly I misspent my youth. Instead of writing, reading and arithmetic I should have been working on one great split-finger fastball. If only I had read this opinion piece from Roy Halladay when I was a boy! Brandon Fuentes, Johnny the (G)Rauch, Matty Gurrier and (our homie) Jesse Crain (Ze Ubermensch) are all ready to pick up big paychecks in exchange for throwing a horsehide spheroid.

With so many members of our bull-pen due for raises, we can probably wave good-bye to most if not all of them. But if we're lucky, we could trick one of them to ride Space Mountain with us, and subtly ask them to re-sign them at a reasonable cost. If we ask this just before we plummet down into one of those super sweet neon lit tunnels, then they'll scream out "YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY" and we'll claim they agreed to terms with us! (Deceitful, perhaps...but if you've got any better ideas I'd love to hear them).

2nd: We sign Tsuyoshi Nishioka. Sounds like Nishioka actually is pumped to be a Twinnesotan including those magic words: "I don't think I will give up the idea of going to the majors because of the amount of money"--somewhere, heaven, hell, as a reincarnated goat herder in Tasmania, Carl Pohlad is smiling.

So, after offering $5 million just to talk to him, we can seal the deal with a couple million and a quick glimpse of the glitz and glamour he can expect to find in the Twin Cities!...........Or we could get him into Disney World. (You know, just on the off chance that tater-tot casserole sushi leaves something to be desired.) And if we sign him in Orlando we can promise to take him back to Epcot's Japan section anytime he gets homesick!

3rd: We pick a pitcher or two off the scrap heap. Remember Sidney Ponson and Darren Oliver and Livan Hernandez...you know, the retread guys who nobody else was to keen on so they ended up in Twins uniforms for various lengths of time? Yeah, it's time to do some more of that. And after it worked so well with Carl Pavano can you really blame us?

But sadly, while it worked well with Pavano, he's over our little rebound rendez-vous and setting his sights on somebody with plenty of money and little intelligence (c'mon Mets, you know your cue when you hear it!). So--who's it going to be Bill Smith? Former Cy Young winner Brandon Webb? Former flash-in-the-pan John Maine? Former/Current shoulder-injury hazard zone Freddy Garcia? All of them are available, but to tell who is really worth signing take the whole lot of them to the It's a Small World Ride with a bucket of balls--whoever decapitates the most animatronic moppets before the end of the ride gets the contract!

4th: We toy with the Pittsburgh Pirates just a little bit more. Stinky and I have made no secret of the fact that our National League homeboys are the Pittsburgh Pirates (commemorating the 50 year anniversary of beating the Yankees in arguably the greatest game of Yankee beating ever!). So if the Twins and the Pirates do a little business together, we'd love it!

Turns out that the Pirates are sweet on every female Twins fan's favorite shortstop: J.J. "Sexxypants" Hardy. And nearly got him in a trade...but like a big brother teasing his sibling at Blizzard Beach, we laughed off their plea to play with the cool kids. (Not that I harbor any grudges against my big brother or anything...sniff) C'mon Twins make something happen, if we sign Nishioka, JJ's expendable anyway so trade him away for that nerdy Ross Ohlendorfer guy--we wholly support the idea of more nerds on the pitching staff (especially if Jesse Crain leaves town)

5th: Souvenir Shopping. We say this every year, but seriously...very little actually happens at the Winter Meetings, and if the first month of the offseason is any indication, the Twins aren't really keen to do anything anyway. So, you know what Bill Smith, it's cool if you just want to chill with your co-workers, ride Splash Mountain, check out the Pirates of the Caribbean stage show, you probably won't miss anything anyway. But would you mind picking up about 800,000 of these little beauties for all of us back home?.....Thanks, you're the best!

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