The deadline to offer potential free agents arbitration was last night and as expected, the Twins offered arbitration to Carl Pavano. Pavano gained Type-B status which, if he signs with another team, means that he'll fetch the Twins a second round draft pick in next June's draft.
There has been interest from both Pavano's camp and the Twins' front office to keep Pavano in Minnesota. I've mentioned here that while he's not my first choice, I certainly wouldn't mind seeing him come back.
Twins shortstop Orlando Cabrera cannot be offered arbitration due to it being written in his contract. Cabrera qualified as a Type-A free agent, but since the Twins cannot offer him arbitration, any team looking to sign him won't have to surrender their first round pick to the Twins. There have been rumblings about bringing Cabrera back as a second baseman, but that's about all there's been.
Several players the Twins may show interest in this offseason weren't offered arbitration. Second basemen Orlando Hudson and Placido Polanco are two players the Twins will likely discuss bringing to Minnesota and neither were offered arbitration by their former teams. Both players would fit into Minnesota's lineup well.
Other players that weren't offered arbitration and which the Twins could target:
All of these players could be discussed by the Twins and now that none will cost a draft pick, their chances of signing greatly increase.
There are MLB-offseason">reports that the Red Sox are "serious" about signing Rich Harden which could very well take the Twins out of the running to sign him. But, as with every free agent, anything can happen.
And the reports of Joe Mauer's supposed "deadline " has been refuted by—who else?—Joe Mauer himself . It's funny how quickly some things can be squashed.
Seth Stohs reported yesterday that Twins prospect Danny Valencia is heading to Puerto Rico to play Winter Ball. The Twins have expressed their desire for Valencia to play over the Winter in order to give himself a legitimate shot at making the Opening Day roster.
While that could be true, the likelihood that Valencia will make the Opening Day roster even after playing Winter Ball is small. That's not because he's not ready, it's because the Twins will most likely find a second baseman or third baseman (making Nick Punto the other starter) by that time. If it were up to me, I'd want Valencia to rest over the winter to prepare as well as he can for the upcoming season.