Winter meetings notebook: Smith leaving door open for Pavano
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Day 1 of the Major League Baseball winter meetings provided fireworks for some -- most notable the Baltimore Orioles, who traded for third baseman Mark Reynolds, the Brewers, who traded for starter Shaun Marcum, and the Arizona Diamondbacks, who signed infielder Melvin Mora and closer J.J. Putz.
As for the Minnesota Twins?
All is quiet, for the most part. At least on the trade and free agency front.
General manager Bill Smith did answer questions about Japanese infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka, but chose to avoid negotiation-related discourse.
Aside from Nishioka, perhaps the biggest decision for Smith and company revolves around free agent starting pitcher Carl Pavano, who, according to SI.com's Jon Heyman, has three teams other than the Twins with serious interest.
One of those teams, the Washington Nationals, is unlikely to offer a multiyear deal, according to MLB.com. That could remove them from the bidding, considering Pavano reportedly seeks Ted Lilly money (three years, $33 million).
With all of that said, has the ship sailed for the Twins to bring back the right-hander?
"I don't think it's sailed," Smith said. "We'll see. We'll meet with all the agents for our free agents down here and see where we stand with all of them."
Pavano, who ate 221 innings while posting a 3.75 ERA and 4.02 FIP in 2010, has made no secret about his affinity for the Twins and his time in Minnesota over the last two years.
"He has sent that message through his agent, and he has called himself, directly, to say that," Smith said. "He's loved playing here and he'd love to stay. We'll have to see. He's got another 29 other clubs out there, and I'm sure any number of them will be talking to him. We'll see what happens."
Pavano's agent, Tom O'Connell, has been spotted walking around the Swan and Dolphin Resort over the past couple days. He told Kelsie Smith of the Pioneer Press that the Twins still have a realistic shot at signing the soon-to-be 35-year-old.
First baseman Justin Morneau continues to progress, according to Smith.
Team doctors came to the winter meetings on Sunday, and Smith has been told "repeatedly" that the first baseman doesn't look like he will have any troubles being ready for spring training.
"He's resuming cardio workouts and I think working through any discomfort that he might have," Smith said. "Like any injury, there's a time to back off and a time to work through it."
Smith said Morneau is not yet doing baseball activities, but "he's got over two months to get ready for spring training, so I think we're on schedule."
• Smith said he plans to chat with the agents for all six ranking free agents before the winter meetings are over, meaning the Type A and Type B guys -- Pavano, Matt Guerrier, Jesse Crain, Orlando Hudson, Jon Rauch and Brian Fuentes. According to ESPN's Buster Olney, Fuentes is seeking $6 million to $8 million per year.
• Random sighting of the day at the winter meetings: former Twins outfielder Bobby Kielty. Interesting.