The Twins have expressed interest in free agent pitcher Jarrod Washburn this winter and it appears that the club may have made a contract offer to the veteran left-hander.
A CBSSports.com report earlier this week said that the Twins were awaiting a response from Washburn and his agent, Scott Boras, on an official contract offer. On Friday, the Minneapolis Star Tribune followed up with a report that the Twins made Washburn a one-year, $5 million offer but that talks between the two sides have been “pretty much dead” since the initial offer was turned down a week ago.
In an interview with MLB.com this week, Washburn said that the Twins are “definitely one of the teams at the top of my list of places I’d like to end up.” The pitcher, who lives in Webster, Wis. which is a couple hours northeast of the Twin Cities, likes the idea of playing close to home and feels that the Twins are also a team that has a chance to win.
The Twins currently have four pitchers penciled into their rotation for 2010 — Scott Baker, Nick Blackburn, Carl Pavano and Kevin Slowey. There is expected to be plenty of competition for the fifth starter’s spot with left-handers Francisco Liriano, Brian Duensing and Glen Perkins and right-handers Anthony Swarzak and Jeff Manship all considered to be options.
Twins general manager Bill Smith wouldn’t comment on the reports that the club had made an official offer to Washburn but he told MLB.com this week that his club hasn’t eliminated the possibility of adding another starting pitcher.
“We’re definitely still looking,” Smith said. “I think we saw last year
you can never have too much pitching. We have to find a way to defend
our AL Central division championship, and we also want to find a way to
advance farther into the playoffs and get to the World Series. So you
can’t stop looking for any position. But pitching, you can never have
too much of it.”
By signing Washburn or another veteran pitcher, the Twins could possibly trade one of their young starters to fill an infield hole. Other teams have been informed this winter that Perkins is available and he was mentioned in a possible trade scenario for Padres third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff.
While the Twins are looking for a veteran starter, the club appears to be seeking a pitcher who will sign a one-year deal. The Twins are trying to lock up Joe Mauer to a contract extension this winter and they seem reluctant to sign any free agents to multi-year deals due to the impact that Mauer’s contract could have on the payroll in future seasons.