Friday, December 5, 2014

The arbitration tender deadline

Almost lost in the Torii Hunter news Tuesday evening was the deadline for tendering contracts to the arbitration eligible.

As should have been expected after the Twins outrighted Anthony Swarzak -- one of seven arbitration-eligible players on the roster at season's end -- they tendered all six of the remainders: Brian Duensing, Casey Fien, Tommy Milone, Eduardo Nunez, Trevor Plouffe and Jordan Schafer.

One can question the decision to tender Nunez, a utility man who doesn't play any position particularly well and has a career OPS (in 956 a-bats) of just .684. If the Twins are serious about going with Danny Santana at short rather than in the outfield, that relegates Eduardo Escobar to a utility role, and there is nothing Nunez does better than Escobar.

But Nunez is at the least an insurance policy. There are teams looking for a shortstop; maybe the Twins will try to flip Escobar for a pitcher or center fielder. Or maybe they aren't all that sure about Santana as a shortstop and wary of counting on Aaron Hicks and Schafer for center field. If they keep Santana in the outfield, Escobar stays at short and Nunez can be the utility infielder.

As for the other five, I don't see any real question about retaining them. Milone didn't pitch well in his few starts for the Twins before going on the disabled list, but he has a good track record. I'll guarantee this: A team willing to pay the likes of Kevin Correia and Mike Pelfrey $5 million really can't find $2.8 million for Milone to be excessive.

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