Twins and Carl Pavano have 'mutual interest' as talks continue
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- On Monday, general manager Bill Smith left the door open for Carl Pavano to return to the Minnesota Twins.
On Tuesday, it's possible steps were taken to make that return happen -- or perhaps steps to ensure it doesn't.
The Twins met with Pavano's agent, Tom O'Connell, on Tuesday afternoon, and according to assistant general manager Rob Antony, there is "mutual interest."
Smith wouldn't elaborate on the meeting, but a source said things went "really well," and the Twins are indeed very serious about keeping Pavano.
When asked about the Twins' chances of retaining the veteran righty -- who ate 221 innings while posting a 3.75 ERA and 4.02 FIP in 2010 -- the general manager said, "I think some of the more veteran players are going to decide where they want to play."
"Some of the players who have made lots of money in this game I think have maybe different priorities than younger players who may be getting the first crack at it. Where they play, the manager, the coaches, the teammates, the facilities, the living conditions, the travel, a lot of those factors -- the fans, a winning atmosphere. I think there are a lot of factors that go through, and I think veteran players weigh them differently than young players."
Smith added, "I know that Carl Pavano loves playing in Minnesota. He's enjoyed it over the last year and a half, and I think that's a factor for him."
Reading between the lines, it sounds as if the Twins are bracing for Pavano to receive a better offer or two, but that doesn't necessarily have to be the deciding factor.
Pavano turned down the Twins' arbitration offer last week, and he is believed to be looking for a three-year contract.
On Monday, various reports linked four teams -- including the Twins and Nationals -- to the soon-to-be 35-year-old.
It's also possible that the Pavano dominos won't fall until Cliff Lee signs somewhere.
And what if the Twins aren't able to retain Pavano's services?
"We've got a pretty good fivesome of starters right now," Smith said. "If we didn't sign anybody else, having Baker and Blackburn and Duensing, Liriano and Slowey, that's a pretty good fivesome. There are a lot of teams out there that would love to have those five. We struggle right now with a lot of depth behind them."