In spite of it being a slow week in terms of actual news, bits of information continue to slip through. Here's the latest through Twins Territory.
- Johan Santana is "very open to a return", and the Twins remain in contact with the
threetwo-time Cy Young award winner. He's going to have to do something to show that he's capable of actually pitching and not just throwing, though, so whether that's a private audience with the Minnesota brass or whether it's some kind of combine where teams can come watch him put himself through the paces, that will need to come before any kind of a deal is struck. Santana still wants to start, which could necessitate a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training, but if he gets to a point where he's willing to take a late-inning bullpen role there might be more of an opportunity for him.
- Jason Kubel's contract includes $2 million guaranteed if he makes the roster out of spring training, with up to an extra $1 million in incentives: $150,000 for 300 and 350 plate appearances, $200,000 for 400 plate appearances, and then $150,000 for 30 and 60 days on the Major League roster, and another $200,000 for 90 days. I'd be surprised if the Twins end up giving Kubel the whole $3 million, but it doesn't really matter. It's a fine contract with potential upside, and it's also nice work by the front office to be creative with the deal.
- Jon Heyman thinks the Twins make some level of sense for Mark Reynolds, which is true. He could potentially back up both first and third base, ideally take a few starts from Trevor Plouffe against right-handed pitching, and take a few starts at designated hitter. The potential for 25 to 30 homers is there with a full season's worth of plate appearances, but that would be unlikely. Still, he might get more playing time in MInnesota than with other potential destinations. Going into his age-30 season it's not a bad time to bring him in, and he'd certainly make late-game rallies more fun.
- In August of 2009, the Twins acquired Carl Pavano from the Indians for a Player to Be Named Later. It was one of Bill Smith's better trades, even though the player sent to Cleveland - Yohan Pino - had fans in Twins Territory. Pino, 30 next week, is now back in the fold after signing a minor league deal with Minnesota. In spite of a very solid minor league track record, Pino has never broken the Major League barrier. It's unlikely that will happen with the Twins either, at this point of his career, but he'll be a nice addition for New Britain or Rochester. Pino is a great minor league addition, and I'm sure Roger is happy.
- As we've heard previously, it sounds like the Twins will take a run at bidding for Masahiro Tanaka. Darren Wolfson thinks it's "an extreme longshot" for Tanaka to come to Minnesota, which is particularly understandable when, beyond the $20 million maximum bid, teams would need to offer a $100 million dollar contract to land him.
- The Twins are no longer willing to sacrifice their second round draft pick, which means that Stephen Drew, Nelson Cruz, and Ervin Santana, among others, are completely off the radar. Indeed, it sounds like the Twins are done making big moves through free agency. The team is still expected to sign a catcher, and a move for a guy like Reylonds (or Jeff Baker, c'mon people!) is certainly possible, but if there's another big move to be done it's more likely to happen via trade. This also means that both Bronson Arroyo and Matt Garza are unlikely to end up in Minnesota.