Mike Berardino / St. Paul Pioneer Press
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — When Fernando Rodney visited Target Field with the Arizona Diamondbacks last August, the veteran closer made sure to chat with Twins pitcher/marvel Bartolo Colon. Rodney, four years younger than his Dominican Republic countryman, had a question for Colon. "I asked him, 'Hey, how long are you going to be here?' I look young in front of you," Rodney said with a laugh during a teleconference on Friday, Dec. 15. "He said, 'I don't know, Rodney. I feel good. I think I know how to pitch. I know how to get outs.'"
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Twins manager Paul Molitor has yet to make one of his many recruiting calls to free-agent pitching ace Yu Darvish, but he did acknowledge the team's "tremendous interest" in the Japanese star. "It's going to be a tremendous get for whoever has the opportunity to get his name on a contract," Molitor said Wednesday morning, Dec. 13, at baseball's winter meetings. "He's still out there. We'll see what happens."
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Michael Pineda probably won't pitch again until 2019, but the Twins saw enough upside in the towering former New York Yankees right-hander to sign him to a two-year, $10 million deal Wednesday, Dec. 13. Pineda's deal carries a maximum value of $3 million in potential bonuses, according to a person with direct knowledge. He will make $2 million while rehabbing for the bulk if not all of 2018, followed by $8 million in 2019.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Yu Darvish, the Japanese star right-hander considered the best available starting pitcher on a slow-moving free-agent market, has been doing his homework on potential employers. That includes the Twins, whose general manager, Thad Levine, has publicly called signing Darvish a "priority." Levine was assistant GM with the Texas Rangers during Darvish's first five seasons in North America and has spoken with him multiple times this offseason.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — There was a time when Jack Morris carried some resentment toward those who kept him from what many viewed as his rightful place in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. On Monday, Dec. 11, after a 16-member panel of former players, executives and historians did what members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America never would, Morris made it clear there were no hard feelings.
MINNEAPOLIS—The ByungHo Park experiment appears to be over. According to a person with direct knowledge, the disappointing slugger has asked the Twins for his release so he can return home to the Korea Baseball Organization. The Twins are expected to grant Park his release, but the person cautioned Sunday night, Nov. 26, that talks were ongoing and "it will be a while before it is all worked out."
MINNEAPOLIS — As the Minnesota Twins weigh the merits of diving back into the risky market for free-agent starting pitching, a parallel consideration of perhaps even greater importance will be extensions for talented young players already on their roster.
MINNEAPOLIS — The Twins have voided the $3 million contract of international signee Jelfry Marte after he failed a physical, the club confirmed. That money goes back into the Twins' international bonus signing pool, which explains how the Associated Press, using figures obtained from the commissioner's office, reported last week the Twins still had $3.245 million remaining with which to pursue Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani.
MINNEAPOLIS — As arranged marriages go, it’s hard to imagine one working out better than what the Twins experienced in 2017. Holdover manager Paul Molitor didn’t just find a way to coexist with the new analytically savvy front-office combination of Derek Falvey and Thad Levine. Molitor navigated a historic turnaround that saw the Twins go from 103 losses to a 26-win improvement and their first postseason appearance in seven years.
SURPRISE, Ariz. — Informed after a recent Fall Stars Game that he had hit 95 mph on the radar gun, Twins pitching prospect Tyler Jay didn't bother to suppress a quick grin. "I'll take that," the left-hander said with a nod. "It's coming back." Limited to just three Class A outings over the past season and a half because of nagging injuries and fatigue, the sixth-overall draft pick in 2015 is eager to make up for lost time.