Created: 11/06/2013 9:18 PM KSTP.com
By: Darren Wolfson
The Twins front office knows it needs to heavily pursue pitching this offseason.
As free agency kicked off Tuesday, a team official said Japanese 25-year-old right-hander Masahiro Tanaka is firmly on their list.
"A lot of us will be in on him," a team official said, a clear indication the Twins will be involved in the bidding. One problem: signs point to the Yankees, Rangers, and Dodgers, among others, also will be in the mix.
In other words, it'll be tough for the Twins to win a bidding war.
Meanwhile, the Twins continue to make a lot of phone calls about free-agent starters stateside. The latest, according to sources: Johan Santana, Scott Kazmir, and Ervin Santana. A phone call could simply be a team doing its due diligence more than anything else. The sources didn't classify the level of discussion. By no means does a call guarantee anything.
The Royals tendered a one-year qualifying offer ($14.1 million) to Ervin Santana, so he would cost the Twins their second-round draft pick in June.
A Twins official, when asked for an update on Korean free agent right-handed pitcher Suk-Min Yoon, a Scott Boras client said, "We're working that process."
The Twins, like many teams, are still trying to figure out if he's a starter or reliever. He's done both previously.
The Twins have at least one high-level meeting set up with an agent at the GM meetings next week.
Other Twins notes:
--The official says the Twins have inquired about a few free-agent bats, but he would not disclose any names.
--The Twins have called on Bronson Arroyo, according to a source. The Giants are seen as the front runner to land the right-hander, but the Mets and Phillies have also called. A special assistant to Terry Ryan, Wayne Krivsky, Arroyo's former GM with the Reds, initiated the contact for the Twins, according to a person with direct knowledge of the discussion.
--The Twins had a scout in Tijuana, Mexico, on Tuesday to watch catcher Yenier Bello, right-handed pitcher Rogelio Armenteros, and first baseman Jozzen Cuesta, all from Cuba. It was a showcase organized by their agents. All three are in the process of finalizing the paperwork to be allowed to sign with a major league team.
--Cuban shortstop/third baseman Aledmys Diaz remains on the Twins' radar. They are currently watching him in the Mexican Winter League. He's expected to be allowed to sign with a major league team in February.