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Updated: October 22nd, 2012 9:22pm
Twins likely looking to add three starting pitchers this offseason

Twins likely looking to add three starting pitchers this offseason

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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The Minnesota Twins' weeklong organizational meetings in Fort Myers wrapped up late last week.

Front office members, scouts and other team staff members gathered each day from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. to go over every player on the major league roster and in the minor league system, discuss players on all 29 other major league clubs, as well as free agents and possible trade targets.

Here are some of the important items that came out of those meetings:

• The majority of the Twins' available offseason budget -- no exact figure has been determined -- will likely be spent on starting pitching. Trades will also be in play.

• In an ideal world, the Twins would like to add three starting pitchers this winter. Scott Diamond is the only starter penciled into next year's rotation.

• Top free agent starters such as Zack Greinke haven't necessarily been ruled out, but the Twins are more likely to go after two or three competitive starting pitchers as opposed to one top-of-the-rotation guy. The Twins plan to target affordable pitchers who can provide quality starts, give the offense a chance and make the bullpen better.

• Aside from Joe Mauer, who has a full no-trade clause, nobody is considered off-limits in potential trade discussions.

Liam Hendriks needs to develop an out pitch. In the minor leagues he put up numbers like a No. 1 or No. 2 starter would, including at Triple-A, but the Twins currently view him as more of a back-of-the-rotation-type guy. He is not guaranteed a rotation slot out of spring training.

• Front office members are embarrassed about the last two seasons.

• The jury is still out on whether Trevor Plouffe the answer at third base. Plouffe hit 24 home runs, but most of them came during a two-month stretch before the All-Star break. His defense at third base rated among the worst in either league according to plus/minus data.

• The Twins are still holding out some hope that Nick Blackburn can contribute to some degree next year, but Blackburn is not currently on the 40-man roster, nor will he be given a chance just because of his salary ($5.5 million).

• There's hope internally that adding Tom Brunansky, Terry Steinbach and Bobby Cuellar to the coaching staff will help change what has become a stale climate over the past couple seasons.

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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