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MLB Winter Meetings! Fa la la la la...

class=img_thumbleft>First snowfall bedamned. No December event elicits that warm holiday spirit more than the annual Major League Baseball Winter General Managers' Meeting. Maybe that's just me.

For all you unitiated humbugs who have no idea what I'm talking about, this is the wonderful time of year when all of baseball's GMs get together in some swanky Florida hotel to talk shop and finagle trades to fill out their rosters. The Twins, small-market as they are and therefore essentially helpless in an increasingly ridiculous free-agent market, need to use this opportunity to fill the holes in their lineup, the most glaring of which is an open starter spot in the pitching rotation following the news that Liriano will be rehabing his elbow until 2008. Here's how ESPN sums up the situation of the team, which writer Phil Rogers points out is one of six that still haven't managed to solve their roster problems:

Although a new stadium eventually could ease the squeeze for this always-strapped franchise, resourceful GM Terry Ryan faces the usual headache trying to fill two spots in the starting rotation.

Brad Radke's retirement gives Ryan some money to spend, but the spiraling pitching market and the projected cost to keep Johan Santana, Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau together for the next five years mean the Twins must move carefully.

The injury to Francisco Liriano would seem to open room for internal candidates, but Ryan doesn't believe in giving away big league opportunities, which could leave Matt Garza, Glen Perkins and Scott Baker in Triple-A in April.

The Twins probably will count on Lew Ford, Jason Tyner and Jason Kubel to fill Shannon Stewart's spot in left field, but must either re-sign or replace DH Rondell White.

I can't imagine Garza being in Triple-A for much of 2007, but you never know. The Twins do have a history of keeping their young players down for far too long (here's hoping 2006 finally exorcized that demon). Talks with the Rockies of Jason Jennings have reportedly cooled. Any other ideas? And will Rondell be back?

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