Created: 02/14/2014 4:41 PM KSTP.com
By: Darren Wolfson
The Twins' projected Opening Day payroll is $83.4 million, far below the nearly $104 million they averaged the first three seasons at Target Field.
In other words, they have financial flexibility to add another significant free agent.
Two of the best remaining bats are outfielder Nelson Cruz and shortstop Stephen Drew. The Twins haven't ruled out either, per sources, but also aren't willing to meet the current demands sought by their respective agents, Adam Katz and Scott Boras. Both would have to lower their demands for the Twins to be interested. Contrary to a previous indication, a source said the Twins haven't spoken with Katz or Boras for a while.
Cruz or Drew would cost the Twins their second round pick in the June draft.
So would free agent pitchers Ubaldo Jiminez and Ervin Santana. Sources say the Twins have not reached out about either since the infancy stages of free agency. Neither appears to be even remotely on the radar.
Free agent pitcher Johan Santana is, but the Twins haven't made him an offer yet. A source said other teams have, all of the minor league variety.
Twins owner Jim Pohlad said shortly before the re-signing of pitcher Mike Pelfrey for 2-years, $11 million in mid-December that the front office had the go-ahead to pay a free agent $15 million/year, hypothetically. His did express slight concern in the duration of any such deal. Then at Twins Fest last month, Pohlad said on free agency, "Hopefully it's not over (for us)."
International free agents?
The Twins were at a showcase for Cuban pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne and Cuban shortstop Aledmys Diaz on Thursday. Both are free agents, expected to sign with teams in the near future. The Twins will watch Despaigne throw again this weekend at the Tampa Bay Rays' spring training complex in Port Charlotte, Fla. Diaz will be meeting with teams in Florida in the coming days. As of Friday morning, the Twins are not among those unnamed teams, per a source.
Had there been interest?
The Twins talked heavily about Cuban shortstop Erisbel Arruebarruena, but a source said they weren't willing to meet his contractual demands. The Dodgers did, guaranteeing him $25 million, according to ESPN Deportes.
The Twins had a couple scouts pushing infielder Justin Turner, who the Mets non-tendered. But the front office decided to not pursue him. He signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers.