Twins plan to be aggressive in free agency, have targeted starters
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Until we see it, it's hard to believe, but the word from an industry source who spoke with the Twins yesterday: they plan on being uber-aggressive on the free-agent market, specifically when it comes to starting pitching.
League sources tell 1500espn.com that the Twins have already expressed interest in three free-agents: starters Jason Vargas (Angels), Ubaldo Jimenez (Indians), and Ricky Nolasco (Dodgers). There's also a belief that free-agent Ervin Santana (Royals) is on their radar. According to sources, the Twins were in on him last November before the Angels traded him to Kansas City.
Teams can make calls on free agents, but can't start negotiations until early next week.
The Twins have money to spend in free agency with the departures of Justin Morneau, Nick Blackburn ($8 million team option), Mike Pelfrey (there is some interest in retaining him, per a source), and Jamey Carroll, among others.
Monday is the deadline for teams to tender qualifying offers to their free agents. Santana will be tendered, according to the Kansas City Star. Jimenez on Friday declined an $8 million player option, according to reports.
The tender number is $14.1 million. So the Indians could conceivably tender Jimenez, and he may choose to accept that number. The final date to tender players is Monday, Nov. 4.
If he declines that as well, the team Jimenez signs with would have to sacrifice a draft pick to obtain him. General manager Terry Ryan is on record in a recent conversation with 1500espn.com that he's willing to give up his second round pick for the right free agent. The Twins are able to keep their first round pick because it's in the top-10 (No. 5).
The Twins have already set up face-to-face conversations with agents for the general manager meetings beginning November 11 in Orlando.