Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The negative as a positive

The Twins got exactly what they bargained for/expected from the players' free-agent arbitration deadline: Nothing. Three noes. All negative, which is a good thing.

It remains possible for the Twins to sign any of the three players who declined arbitration Tuesday (Jesse Crain, Orlando Hudson and Carl Pavano) -- or, for that matter, their other seven free agents to whom the organization did not offer arbitration. Possible but unlikely: the Twins are not believed to have interest in bringing Hudson back, even on a one-year deal, and Pavano and Crain have no shortage of suitors.

The 'stache may not be
trash, but the
Twins should allow
Carl Pavano to sign
Me, I don't expect (or want) Pavano back, certainly not on a three-year deal. I'd rather give the scouting department the extra draft picks to play with. Crain is looking for a chance to close and a chance to cash in; I can see him and the Twins reuniting later this winter if things don't fall the way he hopes, but really -- middle relievers are highly replaceable, and good organizations shouldn't be paying three relief pitchers upwards of $6 million each.

Bottom line: If the Twins keep any of those three, it will be on terms the Twins are willing to live with, and if they don't, they get extra draft picks.

Thursday is a deadline with perhaps more intrigue. That's tender day, the day when teams must offer contracts to their non-free agent players. For those players who aren't arbitration eligible, that's a simple matter; they get basically the minimum. It can be a tougher call on the likes of J.J. Hardy and Glen Perkins, but the Twins aren't likely to cut any of their arbitration-eligibles loose.

Hardy in particular. Even if the Twins aren't as enamored with him as the statheads are. the shortstop market is ... let's call it trade friendly. Miguel Tejada signed Tuesday with San Francisco for one year, $6.5 million; that's roughly what Hardy is projected to receive through arbitration, and Tejada isn't as good right now as Hardy. If only as a sign-and-trade, Hardy figures to still have value for the Twins.

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