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Updated: December 20th, 2010 4:20pm
Jesse Crain says Twins 'were never really in the running'

Jesse Crain says Twins 'were never really in the running'

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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Former Minnesota Twins reliever Jesse Crain, who signed a three-year, $13 million deal with the White Sox last week, spoke to reporters via conference call on Monday to discuss his new life in Chicago.

Most notably, Crain revealed the Twins "were never really in the running" to retain his services, per the Chicago Sun-Times.

"Surprisingly or unsurprisingly," said Crain, 29, who posted a 3.04 ERA and 3.45 FIP last season. "They weren't looking to sign a guy for more than $3.5 million a year. They were out from the beginning and we didn't even negotiate with them. They have been smart with the way they do things, but we'll see.''

The Twins had discussions with agents for both Crain and Guerrier during the winter meetings in Orlando two weeks ago, but the team did not make formal offers to either reliever. Instead, the Twins expressed what they were comfortable spending, and Crain and Guerrier obviously found better scenarios elsewhere.

As for the current direction of the Twins bullpen -- a unit that won't include Crain or Matt Guerrier, who signed a three-year, $12 million deal with the Dodgers -- Crain said, "I'm not exactly sure what direction they're going.

"They like to build from within, but with that said, I don't know what they will do. There are a couple of prospects coming up, but they don't have a lot of experience. It will definitely be interesting to see how it will play out. Losing me and [Guerrier] will hurt them."

The Twins also lost relievers Jon Rauch and Brian Fuentes to free agency, and as of right now the team is leaning heavily toward re-building the bullpen mostly from within -- a group that includes Joe Nathan, one year removed from Tommy John surgery, Pat Neshek, who is two years removed from the same surgery, Glen Perkins, Anthony Slama, Alex Burnett and others.

Phil Mackey is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd
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