Afternoon briefing

Posted on December 3rd, 2009 – 3:08 PM
By La Velle

Here are a few tidbits as I gather information for my winter meetings preview, which will appear in Sunday’s editions.

I spoke to someone with knowledge of Joe Mauer’s contract extension talks. There have been some general discussions but serious negotiations haven’t begun. I was told that talks should heat up before the calendar year ends.

And the same person clearly stated that there have been no deadlines set as to when a deal must be completed. This follows up what Mauer tweeted to me earlier in the week. There have been reports of serious negotiations starting and deadlines and such, but I finally got a hold of someone who would know for clarification.

In a perfect world, the Twins would be able to add a solid veteran starter and an infielder.  They would like to re-sign Carl Pavano but there are other options if that doesn’t work out. They have showed interest in Rich Harden and Jarrod Washburn in the past and I haven’t received any indications that has changed. Harden, however, has been linked to Seattle and Boston recently. Washburn remains somewhere on their radar.

Pavano is their main target. I’m sure his agent is checking with other teams to see if there’s a good market for a two-year deal before he rejects the Twins’ offer of arbitration. Should be interesting. I agree with ESPN’s Keith Law. If Pavano can’t find a team willing to offer him more than one year, he’ll have a tough case to make in arbitration because he only has one decent season to go on.

If the Twins bring Pavano back, he’ll join righthanders Scott Baker, Nick Blackburn and Kevin Slowey in the rotation. That leaves a Battle Royale for the last spot in the rotation between Brian Duensing, Francisco Liriano, Glen Perkins (if he’s not dealt), Boof Bonser, Anthony Swarzak and Jeff Manship.

Obviously, some are stronger candidates than others. A couple could land in the bullpen, but with Joe Nathan, Jesse Crain, Jon Rauch, Jose Mijares and Matt Guerrier coming back, there’s not much room. And what if Pat Neshek comes to camp with his mojo back?

Yes, the Twins remain interested in Mark DeRosa, just like they were last year at this time. Yes, there has been some contact with the reps for infielder Orlando Hudson but it doesn’t sound like they are hot on the trail right now. My guess is that the Twins will read how the market will shake out before jumping in on someone.

One potential problem is that the Phillies have signed Placido Polanco for three years and $18 million, which could influence other deals.

I can see a scenario in which Joe Crede is signed just before camp begins, again. Crede’s comeback from his latest back surgery will be monitored. Another half-season of Crede could be just enough time for Danny Valencia to get ready in the minors.

That’s all for now. Keep checking back here for new developments. 

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