Santiago among 4 Twins to avoid arbitration

Right-handers Gibson, Kintzler and Pressly also sign one-year contracts

Santiago among 4 Twins to avoid arbitration

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins avoided arbitration with all four of their eligible players on Friday, signing Hector Santiago, Brandon Kintzler, Kyle Gibson and Ryan Pressly to one-year deals, according to a Major League source. The club has not confirmed the deals.

Santiago agreed at $8 million, Kintzler at $2.925 million, Gibson at $2.9 million and Pressly at $1.125.

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Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Billy Joel to perform at Target Field in July

Billy Joel to perform at Target Field in July

MINNEAPOLIS -- Since opening in 2010, Target Field has welcomed musical acts such as Paul McCartney, Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney and the Zac Brown Band. It will add to that list when the Twins host legendary musician Billy Joel on July 28, marking his first concert in a Minnesota outdoor stadium.

The Twins made the announcement Thursday in a news conference at Target Field featuring president Dave St. Peter, manager Paul Molitor and first baseman Joe Mauer. Tickets go on sale to the general public on Jan. 20 at 10 a.m. CT, while American Express cardholders have access to a presale that starts Monday at 10 a.m.

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Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Twins add catcher Gimenez on Minors deal

Twins add catcher Gimenez on Minors deal

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins added a veteran catcher on Thursday, signing Chris Gimenez to a Minor League deal with an invitation to Major League Spring Training.

Gimenez, 34, is the second backstop signed by the Twins this offseason, joining Jason Castro, who was inked to a three-year, $24.5 million deal in November. Both are known for their defense, game-calling and pitch-framing skills.

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Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: Will Dozier stay, or will he go?

Beat reporter Rhett Bollinger answers fans' questions

Inbox: Will Dozier stay, or will he go?

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Brian Dozier sweepstakes should be coming to an end this week, as the Twins want to set a deadline for a potential trade to give the second baseman some peace of mind after the process has dragged on throughout the offseason.

With reports that the Dodgers and the Twins have hit a snag in their trade talks involving Dozier, it seems more likely that he'll will remain in Minnesota heading into this season. The Giants and Braves remain in the mix, but the Dodgers have always been the best trade fit for Dozier given their strong farm system and need for a second baseman.

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Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Vogelsong, Tepesch join Twins on Minors deals

Righties invited to Major League Spring Training

Vogelsong, Tepesch join Twins on Minors deals

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins added to their rotation depth Wednesday, signing right-handers Ryan Vogelsong and Nick Tepesch to Minor League deals with invitations to Major League Spring Training.

Vogelsong, 39, has 12 seasons of big league experience with a career 4.48 ERA, but struggled last season with the Pirates, posting a 4.81 ERA with 61 strikeouts and 40 walks in 82 1/3 innings. Vogelsong, though, also missed more than two months after being struck in the face by a pitch from Colorado's Jordan Lyles in May.

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Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hunter, Hawkins join Twins' broadcast crew

Hunter, Hawkins join Twins' broadcast crew

MINNEAPOLIS -- In addition to their duties as special assistants to the baseball operations department, former Twins stars Torii Hunter and LaTroy Hawkins will also serve as part-time analysts for Fox Sports North's broadcasts of Twins games in 2017.

Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven will remain the club's primary analyst alongside play-by-play broadcaster Dick Bremer, but Hunter and Hawkins will rotate into the analyst role along with fellow former Twins Jack Morris and Roy Smalley. It's the first venture into television broadcasting for Hunter and Hawkins, who both retired after the 2015 season.

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Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Twins might keep Dozier, boost power with FA

Twins might keep Dozier, boost power with FA

MINNEAPOLIS -- While much of the Twins' offseason has centered around whether they plan to trade second baseman Brian Dozier, and their quest to improve the pitching staff, it doesn't mean the new front office isn't looking for ways to add offense as well.

Coming off a 103-loss season, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have spent much of the offseason evaluating the franchise and building out the baseball operations department. But the Twins have also met with several agents for position players throughout the winter, including the representative for outfielder Jose Bautista.

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Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Spring is in the air: First workout dates announced

Spring is in the air: First workout dates announced

Despite the frigid temperatures throughout many big league cities, Major League Baseball's announcement Tuesday of the first workout dates of Spring Training should be enough to warm the hearts of baseball fans everywhere.

The following are the first Spring Training workout dates, subject to change, both for pitchers and catchers and full squads of the 30 Major League clubs. 

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Twins announce Minor League managers

Twins announce Minor League managers

MINNEAPOLIS -- Jeff Smith's promotion to first-base coach after serving as manager at Class A Advanced Fort Myers for the past two seasons led to a shakeup among Minnesota's Minor League managers.

Jake Mauer, the brother of Twins first baseman Joe Mauer, was promoted to manage Double-A Chattanooga after managing at Class A Cedar Rapids the past four seasons. Mauer, in his 10th year coaching in the organization, replaces former Twins first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz, who returns to manage at Fort Myers to take over for Smith and be closer to home. Mientkiewicz previously managed at Fort Myers from 2013-14 before moving up to Chattanooga for the past two seasons.

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Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Several Twins rotation candidates look to improve in 2017

Several Twins rotation candidates look to improve in 2017

MINNEAPOLIS -- Other than veteran right-hander Ervin Santana, the Twins' rotation struggled in 2016, combining to post a Major League-worst 5.39 ERA.

The Twins used 11 starters, and only Santana had an ERA of less than 5.00. And no starter reached 10 wins. Improving the pitching staff has been a priority this offseason, but outside of adding defensively-minded catcher Jason Castro and selecting Justin Haley in the Rule 5 Draft, Minnesota hasn't done much to add to its existing rotation.

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Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Sano ready to grab hold of third base for Twins

Sano ready to grab hold of third base for Twins

MINNEAPOLIS -- With the Twins deciding to outright veteran Trevor Plouffe this offseason, third base is finally open for Miguel Sano to take over full-time.

Sano, who came up as a shortstop and third baseman in the Minors, has played only 51 of his 196 games in the Majors at third because he was blocked by Plouffe. Sano instead saw time at designated hitter before moving to right field early last season.

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Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pragmatic approach will define Twins in 2017

Organization's goal is 'measurable' improvement with eye on long-term success

Pragmatic approach will define Twins in 2017

MINNEAPOLIS -- After losing 103 games to finish with the worst record in the Majors in 2016, the Twins are looking to build a better foundation in '17 with an eye on building a long-term winner under the direction of Derek Falvey and Thad Levine.

With a young core already in place and several veterans still on the roster, the Twins aren't in a full rebuild, but they also know how difficult it can be to go from losing 103 games to being in contention the next year. The key will be turning around a rotation that has been a major issue recently, including posting the worst record in the Majors last year.

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Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

For Twins, 2016 brought challenges, change

New leadership arrives; 103-loss campaign had bright spots in Dozier, young talent

For Twins, 2016 brought challenges, change

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins entered the year with optimism buoyed by their surprising 2015 campaign, but they leave '16 ready to turn the page on a disappointing season that led to changes in the organization's leadership.

With expectations higher coming off an 83-win season, the Twins couldn't shake an 0-9 start, and longtime general manager Terry Ryan was dismissed shortly after the All-Star break. Minnesota sputtered down the stretch, finishing the year with 103 losses to post the worst record in the Majors.

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Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Source: Rosario to play for PR in WBC

Source: Rosario to play for PR in WBC

Puerto Rico added a pair of Major Leaguers to its World Baseball Classic roster on Tuesday. Mets pitcher Seth Lugo and Twins outfielder Eddie Rosario have committed to play for Puerto Rico in the 2017 tournament, sources told MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi.

Puerto Rico opens WBC play in Pool D against host Mexico, Italy and Venezuela at Estadio Charros de Jalisco from March 9-12.

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David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Most amazing American League games of 2016

Most amazing American League games of 2016

The Indians came thisclose to bringing a World Series title home to their fans and to the American League after an amazing 2016 season. Taking the Chicago Cubs to the 10th inning of the seventh game of the Fall Classic was just about as memorable as it gets.

But the Indians were one of 15 teams in the AL, and each one had its own Game of the Year. In consultation with the MLB.com beat reporters for every team, here are the best individual games for each AL club during another fantastic year in Major League Baseball:

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Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com based in Seattle. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: Hot Stove additions on horizon?

Beat reporter Rhett Bollinger answers Twins fans' questions

Inbox: Hot Stove additions on horizon?

MINNEAPOLIS -- It's almost 2017, and the Twins are ready to turn the page on a disappointing 2016.

But there's optimism about a new front office led by Derek Falvey and Thad Levine, who hope to build the Twins into a consistent winner. So far this offseason, the club hasn't made a big splash outside of signing catcher Jason Castro to a three-year deal. There's still plenty of time before Spring Training for the Twins to make moves, and that leads to the first question of this week's Inbox:

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Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gibson reflects on holiday traditions

Gibson reflects on holiday traditions

MINNEAPOLIS -- The holidays are always a busy time for Twins right-hander Kyle Gibson and his wife, Elizabeth, who make their offseason home in Fort Myers, Fla.

But this year is even more hectic, as Elizabeth is due with their second child on Dec. 29. The Gibsons usually travel to Indiana to see his side of the family or Missouri for her side, but this year they're staying at home for the first time with their daughter, Hayden, who turns three in March.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Twins hire Jeff Smith, Pickler to join staff

Twins hire Jeff Smith, Pickler to join staff

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins rounded out their coaching staff under manager Paul Molitor on Wednesday, officially announcing the hirings of Jeff Smith as first-base coach and Jeff Pickler as a Major League coach and coordinator of Major League development.

The Twins also announced that assistant hitting coach Rudy Hernandez will remain in his current role, but will no longer be in uniform on the bench. Hernandez's duties will essentially remain the same, as he'll continue to instruct hitters in the batting cages and with video.

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Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Twins add corner infield depth with signings

Twins add corner infield depth with signings

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins added to their corner infield depth on Wednesday, signing first baseman/third baseman Matt Hague to a Minor League deal with an invitation to Spring Training. They also re-signed first baseman/outfielder Reynaldo Rodriguez to a Minor League deal.

Hague, the 2015 International League MVP while in the Blue Jays' organization, is coming back after a one-year stint with Japan's Hanshin Tigers. He hit .231/.339/.346 with two homers, six doubles and 11 RBIs in 31 games in Japan.

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Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Photo: Snowy ballpark wishes you 'Happy Holidays'

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Photo: Snowy ballpark wishes you 'Happy Holidays'

There's a time in the distant future, as the Internet of Things develops beyond WiFi-enabled crockpots, when ballparks will become sentient and talk to fans no differently than the team staff that work inside them. Ballparks will say things like "Welcome" and "Good season, huh?" and, in the offseason, they'll wish their fans happy holidays.

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Frame game: Twins hoping Castro aids arms

Frame game: Twins hoping Castro aids arms

MINNEAPOLIS -- The concept of pitch framing is certainly nothing new, but over the last five years, it's become a measurable statistic to see how much impact a catcher has on his pitching staff in terms of getting strikes called on pitches inside and outside the zone.

The new Twins front office, led by Derek Falvey and Thad Levine, understands the value of pitch framing, and that is a major reason why the club signed Jason Castro to a three-year deal worth $24.5 million. Castro is coming off a down year offensively, but his defensive metrics stand out, and he should be a boost to a pitching staff that had the second-worst ERA in the Majors last year.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: Which club is trade partner for Dozier?

Beat reporter Rhett Bollinger answers fans' questions

Inbox: Which club is trade partner for Dozier?

MINNEAPOLIS -- There continues to be buzz around the potential of a Brian Dozier trade this offseason, but the Twins have yet to deal the slugging second baseman.

The Dodgers remain the most logical trading partner, but multiple teams have reportedly called to check in on Dozier. The issue, however, is that there aren't many contending teams looking for a second baseman, so it's hard to see a fit outside of the Dodgers. Teams could get creative, however, and that leads directly into the first question of this week's Twins Inbox:

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Twins sign outfielder Shuck to Minors deal

Twins sign outfielder Shuck to Minors deal

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins improved their outfield depth on Saturday, signing J.B. Shuck to a Minor League deal with an invite to Major League Spring Training.

Shuck, who has played parts of five seasons in the Majors with the Astros, Angels, Indians and White Sox, was previously outrighted by the White Sox on Nov. 3. He'll compete for a spot on the roster as an extra outfielder.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Carew's heart transplant surgery successful

Hall of Famer also receives kidney transplant, expected to make full recovery

Carew's heart transplant surgery successful

Beloved Hall of Famer Rod Carew received an outpouring of love and support across baseball on Friday after the 18-time All-Star underwent successful heart transplant surgery, the Twins and the American Heart Association announced.

Fellow Hall of Famers such as Johnny Bench, George Brett and Jim Palmer expressed well-wishes for Carew via Twitter, while Angels broadcaster Victor Rojas perfectly summed it up by tweeting that the seven-time hitting champion went "2-for-2" with his successful surgery and expected recovery.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

Full recovery for Carew at top of wish list

Hall of Famer undergoes heart and kidney transplant

Full recovery for Carew at top of wish list

Few times of the year are as busy as this one. We're all in a hurry, it seems, and too often we turn minor tasks into what we perceive as Herculean feats, while no annoyance feels trivial.

Every red light, every long line at a checkout counter can seem like the straw that breaks the camel's back.

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Phil Rogers is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Twins set destinations for Winter Caravan

Annual two-week event slated to make stops in 4 states

Twins set destinations for Winter Caravan

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins announced details on Thursday for their annual Winter Caravan, which will feature stops in more than 40 communities in the Upper Midwest from Jan. 16-26.

The event, which is now sponsored by Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine, has five different routes over a two-week span with stops in Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota and Iowa. It includes visits to schools, hospitals, businesses and service clubs, while also featuring a nightly Hot Stove program where fans can interact and ask questions.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.