January 2010

This blog has a new home

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

Dear loyal readers,

Around the Majors has moved to a new server, joining the list of Star Tribune blogs that have made this switch in recent months. You’ll find the same content there, though you’ll be asked to register with StarTribune.com before commenting.

So to continue getting breaking Twins news (injuries, lineups, contracts, etc.), insider analysis, along with my occasional rant, please update your bookmark and RSS feed (see below).

To our regular commenters, whose insight helps drive these blogs, we ask you for your patience and persistence. As the Twins get ready to move into their new ballpark, let’s continue having the same fun on a new playground.

New bookmark: http://www.startribune.com/aroundmajors

New RSS: http://www.startribune.com/rss/?did=78693392

A closer look at the new deals for Liriano, Harris

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

Some notes from the fine print of the contracts the Twins handed out Tuesday, avoiding arbitration:

(*) Francisco Liriano’s one-year, $1.6 million deal includes up to $100,000 in incentives. He can reach those incentives two ways — as a starter or as a reliever. He’ll receive $25,000 payments when he hits the following thresholds: Games started (24, 26, 28, 30) OR appearances (40, 45, 50, 55).

This is notable because there have been internal discussions about making Liriano a reliever this season, unless he bounces back in a big way. Liriano struggled mightily to command his fastball last year, but the feeling is his slider could make him highly effective in relief, especially against lefthanders. Despite his immense struggle last year, he still held lefthanded hitters to a .255 average and .631 OPS.

The Twins could open with a rotation of Scott Baker, Carl Pavano, Kevin Slowey, Nick Blackburn and either Brian Duensing or Glen Perkins, allowing Liriano to move into a bullpen role.

(*) Brendan Harris signed a two-year, $3.2 million contract. The deal will pay him $1.45 million this year and $1.75 million in 2011, but his 2011 salary can increase by up to $675,000 depending on his playing time this year. The 2011 salary increases by $75,000 when Harris reaches 450 plate appearances, $100,000 for 500 PA, another $150,000 for 550 PA, $175,000 for 600 PA and another $175,000 for 650 PA.

Harris finished the 2007 season as Tampa Bay’s starting shortstop and racked up 576 PA that season. He reached 490 PA and 453 PA in his first two seasons with the Twins, batting .263/.319/.379. He’s never been a favorite of Manager Ron Gardenhire’s, but for now, Harris is among the leading in-house candidates to fill third base (along with Matt Tolbert and Nick Punto), at least until prospect Danny Valencia proves he’s ready to hold down the position.

Twins agree to terms with Pavano, Hardy, Young and five others

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

With eight players eligible for arbitration, the Twins appear to be paring down that list.

They reached agreement on a one-year deal with shortstop J.J. Hardy worth about $5 million, with incentives for plate appearances, a person familiar with the negotiations told our La Velle Neal today.

Other players eligible for arbitration include Carl Pavano, Matt Guerrier, Delmon Young, Francisco Liriano, Jesse Crain, Pat Neshek and Brendan Harris. Today is the day arbitration figures are released, which usually spurs a few settlements, so we’ll post updates as we learn them.

Update: Hardy’s deal is for $5.1 million, according to La Velle’s source.

Update: The Twins have agreed to a $2.6 million deal with Young, a person familiar with the negotiations said. The deal includes up to $50,000 in performance incentives. Young made $1.15 million last season.

Update: The Twins agreed to a one-year, $7 million deal with Carl Pavano, La Velle confirmed with a person familiar with the negotiations.

Update: A team source has confirmed that the team has agreements with all eight of these arbitration eligible players. We are working to get the terms for Liriano, Neshek, Guerrier, Harris and Crain.

Update: Guerrier gets $3.15 million, more than doubling his salary. He made $1.475 million last year, posting a 2.36 ERA in 79 G.

Update: Harris agreed to a two-year, $3.2 million contract with up to $650,000 in incentives. Harris gets $1.45 million in base salary this year and $1.75 million in 2011.

Update: Neshek gets $625,000 with $75,000 in incentives after missing all of 2009 recovering from Tommy John surgery.

Update: Liriano’s deal is for $1.6 million, and Crain’s deal is for $2 million. Harris was only Twin to receive a multi-yr deal today.