2010 MLB Hot Stove Rumors: Four Players The Minnesota Twins Should Pursue

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2010 MLB Hot Stove Rumors: Four Players The Minnesota Twins Should Pursue
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images
Manager Ron Gardenhire stares longingly at his new middle-infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka at the press conference last week.

It's been a relatively uneventful offseason for the Twins, albeit only on the major league side. The Twins have landed a slew of relievers for their minor league system, as well as a few promising young prospects. Most notable is 17-year-old shortstop Javier Pimentel of the Dominican Republic. 

Besides the signing of Japanese infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka, the Twins' major league squad remains fairly depleted. Key losses of Carl Pavano, Matt Guerrier, Jesse Crain, Brian Fuentes, Jon Rauch and J.J. Hardy seem to overweigh the small but earnest gains.

Former Braves reliever Chuck James and young infielder Matt Brown are the most notable of the few major league additions this offseason. The Twins also added catchers in Steve Holm and Rene Rivera, who have spent limited major league time with the Giants and Mariners, respectively. 

Make no mistake, the club is headed in the right direction. Young arms like Brett Jacobsen and Jim Hoey (from the J.J. Hardy trade) will be ready to compete for a bullpen spot come spring training.

In-house bullpen candidates include Alex Burnett, Pat Neshek, Glen Perkins, Anthony Slama, Carlos Gutierrez and Jeff Manship, to name a few. With another veteran arm or two from the open market, the Twins should be able to put together a fairly decent bullpen in 2011. 

With the biggest concern being the bullpen, the starting rotation also has some question marks. The aforementioned Carl Pavano remains on the market, although a deal with Minnesota seems imminent.

The Nationals are also in the race for Pavano's services, but the consensus seems to be that Carl will don a Twins uniform for at least the next couple seasons. 

As it stands, the Twins' rotation rests with Francisco Liriano, Scott Baker, Brian Duensing, Nick Blackburn and Kevin Slowey. All have shown shades of brilliance, but seem to be repeatedly bitten by the inconsistency bug.

Liriano earned AL Comeback Player of the Year honors for 2010 after posting a 14-10 record with a nice 3.62 ERA and 201 K's. Minnesota is no doubt expecting big things from Franky Franchise next season.

Kevin Slowey also had a good 2010, earning a record of 13-6. Injuries once again derailed what could have been a great season. His name has been mentioned as a possible trade chip, however. 

Young starters like Kyle Gibson and Kyle Waldrop may make a late-season appearance if any rotation patchwork needs to be done. 

Even with a host of young talent, the Twins will need help from the Hot Stove. Banking on Pavano signing, here's a neatly ordered list of who could fill the open slots in Minnesota:

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